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This is a guest post by William Jiang, MLS
Note: This is an opinion-based post. All views expressed are the personal perspective of the author. No medical advice should be implied.
Abilify. It is the single best-selling drug of all time. From April 2013, through March 2014, sales of Abilify (official name, aripiprazole) totaled $6,885,243,368.
That is, Abilify made almost 7 billion in one year.
At the end of 2014, Abilify had been on sale for almost 14 years. Abilify at high doses is used for things like psychosis and at low doses for making anti-depressants work better.
It is a quite impressive drug on many levels. One of its major actions is a goldilocks action where it regulates dopamine so that levels are neither too high nor too low in the brain.
I took it from 2001 until July 2017. However, after helping me for most of that time, it turned my life into a living nightmare: I became homicidal once again due to extreme rage. Im lucky I survived and nobody got hurt. Let me share my little story with you. Maybe it can help somebody you know. Maybe it can help you.
Seventeen years ago, I was homicidal and suicidal due to Seroquel, as I talked about in my best-selling autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope.
A friend advised me that it was a dangerous drug, so I kept that in mind when all of a sudden my personality changed to a homicidal and suicidal man from being a pretty well balanced guy. The change was quite marked and sudden, so I took myself off of 600mg of Seroquel and put myself on a drug that saved my life at the moment: 15 mg of Zyprexa.
The second time was with Abilify- for three years. I struggled with rage a few times on Abilify: mostly homicidal rage. I thought Abilify was letting the rage get through, but it turns out that it was causing the extreme anger.
Against medical advice I thought myself out of my increasingly life-threatening situation, using science. It is well-known that SSRIs which increase serotonin can cause anger. It is not well-known that drugs that increase or modulate dopamine can do the same thing. The two major neurotransmitters involved in anger are dopamine and serotonin.
The ehealthme.com database shows the following drug- percentage chance of causing anger: Abilify – 0.77% Geodon – 0.93%, and Seroquel -1%. All of these drugs either modulate dopamine or serotonin. When 1 out of 100 people will notice anger issues, thats a common side effect, but is is nowhere in the prescribing information for these drugs. Also, it turns out that the raw number of people who have anger from Abilify on ehealthme.com is higher than Accutane: the famous drug that made the kids go crazy violent in Bowling for Columbine.
The good news is that I have been off the Abilify now for about two months- stable on Navane, a drug that came out in 1968. Im on a very low dose- 10mg and Im doing fine-no rage. My story has a happy ending once again. But, to the end my psychiatrist did not think it was the Abilify causing my problems, not because of me, but because there have not been any case reports in the literature. Now, thats crazy. He is not God.
I have the beginnings of diabetic neuropathy because of three medicines he kept giving me over those three years to control the rage the Abilify caused. I can’t say enough about doing your own research, getting second opinions, and being in charge of your own mental health.
William Jiang, MLS is the Author of 63 books, including the bestselling books Guide to Natural Mental Health and his critically-acclaimed autobiography A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope.
You can see a selection of his books about mental and physical health nicely laid out on his blog at mentalhealthbooks.net.
He also is editor-in-chief of Mental Health Books Review.