DailyMed - ABILIFY MAINTENA- aripiprazole kit (2022)

5.1Increased Mortality in Elderly Patients with Dementia- Related Psychosis

Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Analyses of 17 placebo-controlled trials (modal duration of 10 weeks), largely in patients taking atypical antipsychotic drugs, revealed a risk of death in drug-treated patients of between 1.6 to 1.7 times the risk of death in placebo-treated patients. Over the course of a typical 10-week controlled trial, the rate of death in drug-treated patients was about 4.5%, compared to a rate of about 2.6% in the placebo group.

Although the causes of death were varied, most of the deaths appeared to be either cardiovascular (e.g., heart failure, sudden death) or infectious (e.g., pneumonia) in nature. Observational studies suggest that, similar to atypical antipsychotic drugs, treatment with conventional antipsychotic drugs may increase mortality. The extent to which the findings of increased mortality in observational studies may be attributed to the antipsychotic drug as opposed to some characteristic(s) of the patients is not clear. ABILIFY MAINTENA is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis.

5.2Cerebrovascular Adverse Reactions, Including Stroke in Elderly Patients with Dementia-Related Psychosis

In placebo-controlled clinical studies (two flexible-dose and one fixed-dose study) of dementia-related psychosis, there was an increased incidence of cerebrovascular adverse reactions (e.g., stroke, transient ischemic attack), including fatalities, in oral aripiprazole-treated patients (mean age: 84 years; range: 78 to 88 years). In the fixed-dose study, there was a statistically significant dose response relationship for cerebrovascular adverse reactions in patients treated with oral aripiprazole. ABILIFY MAINTENA is not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis.

5.3Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome

A potentially fatal symptom complex sometimes referred to as Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) may occur with administration of antipsychotic drugs, including ABILIFY MAINTENA. Rare cases of NMS occurred during aripiprazole treatment in the worldwide clinical database.

Clinical manifestations of NMS are hyperpyrexia, muscle rigidity, altered mental status, and evidence of autonomic instability (irregular pulse or blood pressure, tachycardia, diaphoresis, and cardiac dysrhythmia). Additional signs may include elevated creatine phosphokinase, myoglobinuria (rhabdomyolysis), and acute renal failure.

The diagnostic evaluation of patients with this syndrome is complicated. In arriving at a diagnosis, it is important to exclude cases where the clinical presentation includes both serious medical illness (e.g., pneumonia, systemic infection) and untreated or inadequately treated extrapyramidal signs and symptoms (EPS). Other important considerations in the differential diagnosis include central anticholinergic toxicity, heat stroke, drug fever, and primary central nervous system pathology.

The management of NMS should include: 1) immediate discontinuation of antipsychotic drugs and other drugs not essential to concurrent therapy; 2) intensive symptomatic treatment and medical monitoring; and 3) treatment of any concomitant serious medical problems for which specific treatments are available. There is no general agreement about specific pharmacological treatment regimens for uncomplicated NMS.

If a patient requires antipsychotic drug treatment after recovery from NMS, the potential reintroduction of drug therapy should be carefully considered. The patient should be carefully monitored, since recurrences of NMS have been reported.

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5.4Tardive Dyskinesia

A syndrome of potentially irreversible, involuntary, dyskinetic movements may develop in patients treated with antipsychotic drugs. Although the prevalence of the syndrome appears to be highest among the elderly, especially elderly women, it is impossible to rely upon prevalence estimates to predict, at the inception of antipsychotic treatment, which patients are likely to develop the syndrome. Whether antipsychotic drug products differ in their potential to cause tardive dyskinesia is unknown.

The risk of developing tardive dyskinesia and the likelihood that it will become irreversible are believed to increase as the duration of treatment and the total cumulative dose of antipsychotic drugs administered to the patient increase. However, the syndrome can develop, although much less commonly, after relatively brief treatment periods at low doses.

Tardive dyskinesia may remit, partially or completely, if antipsychotic treatment is withdrawn. Antipsychotic treatment, itself, however, may suppress (or partially suppress) the signs and symptoms of the syndrome and, thereby, may possibly mask the underlying process. The effect of symptomatic suppression on the long-term course of the syndrome is unknown.

Given these considerations, ABILIFY MAINTENA should be prescribed in a manner that is most likely to minimize the occurrence of tardive dyskinesia. Chronic antipsychotic treatment should generally be reserved for patients who suffer from a chronic illness that 1) is known to respond to antipsychotic drugs and 2) for whom alternative, equally effective, but potentially less harmful treatments are not available or appropriate. In patients who do require chronic treatment, the smallest dose and the shortest duration of treatment producing a satisfactory clinical response should be sought. The need for continued treatment should be reassessed periodically.

If signs and symptoms of tardive dyskinesia appear in a patient treated with ABILIFY MAINTENA drug discontinuation should be considered. However, some patients may require treatment with ABILIFY MAINTENA despite the presence of the syndrome.

5.5Metabolic Changes

Atypical antipsychotic drugs have been associated with metabolic changes that include hyperglycemia/diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, and weight gain. While all drugs in the class have been shown to produce some metabolic changes, each drug has its own specific risk profile.

Hyperglycemia/Diabetes Mellitus

Hyperglycemia, in some cases extreme and associated with diabetic ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar coma, or death, has been reported in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics. There have been reports of hyperglycemia in patients treated with aripiprazole [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)]. Assessment of the relationship between atypical antipsychotic use and glucose abnormalities is complicated by the possibility of an increased background risk of diabetes mellitus in patients with schizophrenia and the increasing incidence of diabetes mellitus in the general population. Given these confounders, the relationship between atypical antipsychotic use and hyperglycemia-related adverse reactions is not completely understood. However, epidemiological studies suggest an increased risk of hyperglycemia-related adverse reactions in patients treated with the atypical antipsychotics.

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Patients with an established diagnosis of diabetes mellitus who are started on atypical antipsychotics should be monitored regularly for worsening of glucose control. Patients with risk factors for diabetes mellitus (e.g., obesity, family history of diabetes), who are starting treatment with atypical antipsychotics should undergo fasting blood glucose testing at the beginning of treatment and periodically during treatment. Any patient treated with atypical antipsychotics should be monitored for symptoms of hyperglycemia including polydipsia, polyuria, polyphagia, and weakness. Patients who develop symptoms of hyperglycemia during treatment with atypical antipsychotics should undergo fasting blood glucose testing. In some cases, hyperglycemia has resolved when the atypical antipsychotic was discontinued; however, some patients required continuation of anti-diabetic treatment despite discontinuation of the atypical antipsychotic drug.

In a short-term, placebo-controlled randomized trial in adults with schizophrenia, the mean change in fasting glucose was +9.8 mg/dL (N=88) in the ABILIFY MAINTENA-treated patients and +0.7 mg/dL (N=59) in the placebo-treated patients. Table 4 shows the proportion of ABILIFY MAINTENA-treated patients with normal and borderline fasting glucose at baseline and their changes in fasting glucose measurements.

Table 4: Proportion of Patients with Potential Clinically Relevant Changes in Fasting Glucose from a 12-Week Placebo-Controlled Monotherapy Trial in Adult Patients with Schizophrenia
Category Change (at least once) from BaselineTreatment Armn/N*%
Fasting GlucoseNormal to High
(<100 mg/dL to ≥126 mg/dL)
Borderline to High
(≥100 mg/dL and <126 mg/dL to ≥126 mg/dL)

During a 52-week, open-label bipolar I disorder study in those patients who initiated ABILIFY MAINTENA treatment, 1.1% with normal baseline fasting glucose experienced a shift to high while receiving ABILIFY MAINTENA and 9.8% with borderline fasting glucose experienced a shift to high. Combined, 2.9% of these patients with normal or borderline fasting glucose experienced shifts to high fasting glucose during this trial.


Undesirable alterations in lipids have been observed in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics.

Table 5 shows the proportion of adult patients from one short-term, placebo-controlled randomized trial in adults with schizophrenia taking ABILIFY MAINTENA, with changes in total cholesterol, fasting triglycerides, fasting LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol.

Table 5:Proportion of Patients with Potential Clinically Relevant Changes in Blood Lipid Parameters From a 12-Week Placebo-Controlled Monotherapy Trial in Adults with Schizophrenia
Treatment Armn/N*%
Total Cholesterol
Normal to High
(<200 mg/dL to ≥240 mg/dL)
Borderline to High
(200~<240 mg/dL to ≥240 mg/dL)
Any increase
(≥40 mg/dL)
Fasting Triglycerides
Normal to High
(<150 mg/dL to ≥200 mg/dL)
Borderline to High
(150~<200 mg/dL to ≥200 mg/dL)
Any increase
(≥50 mg/dL)
Fasting LDL Cholesterol
Normal to High
(<100 mg/dL to ≥160 mg/dL)
Borderline to High
(100~<160 mg/dL to ≥160 mg/dL)
Any increase
(≥30 mg/dL)
HDL Cholesterol
Normal to Low
(≥40 mg/dL to <40 mg/dL)
Any decrease
(≥20 mg/dL)

During a 52-week, open-label bipolar I disorder study in those patients who initiated ABILIFY MAINTENA, shifts from baseline in fasting cholesterol from normal to high were reported in 2.1% (total cholesterol) and 2.2% (LDL cholesterol) and shifts from baseline from normal to low were reported in 8.5% (HDL cholesterol). Of these patients with normal baseline triglycerides, 3.6% experienced shifts to high, and 0.0% experienced shifts to very high. Combined, 1.0% of these patients with normal or borderline fasting triglycerides experienced shifts to very high fasting triglycerides during this trial.

Weight Gain

Weight gain has been observed with atypical antipsychotic use. Clinical monitoring of weight is recommended.

In one short-term, placebo-controlled trial in adult patients with schizophrenia with ABILIFY MAINTENA, the mean change in body weight at Week 12 was +3.5 kg (N=99) in the ABILIFY MAINTENA-treated patients and +0.8 kg (N=66) in the placebo-treated patients.

Table 6 shows the percentage of adult patients with schizophrenia with weight gain ≥7% of body weight in a short-term, placebo-controlled trial with ABILIFY MAINTENA.

Table 6: Percentage of Patients From a 12-Week Placebo-Controlled Trial in Adult Patients with Schizophrenia with Weight Gain ≥7% of Body Weight
Treatment ArmN*Patients n (%)
Weight gain ≥7% of body weightABILIFY MAINTENA14431 (21.5)
Placebo14112 (8.5)

During a 52-week, open-label bipolar I disorder study in those patients who initiated ABILIFY MAINTENA, 1.8% discontinued ABILIFY MAINTENA treatment due to weight increase. ABILIFY MAINTENA was associated with mean increase from baseline in weight of 1.0 kg at week 52. In this trial, 21.4% of these patients demonstrated ≥7% increase in body weight and 15.4% demonstrated a ≥7% decrease in body weight.

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5.6Pathological Gambling and Other Compulsive Behaviors

Post-marketing case reports suggest that patients can experience intense urges, particularly for gambling, and the inability to control these urges while taking aripiprazole. Other compulsive urges, reported less frequently, include: sexual urges, shopping, eating or binge eating, and other impulsive or compulsive behaviors. Because patients may not recognize these behaviors as abnormal, it is important for prescribers to ask patients or their caregivers specifically about the development of new or intense gambling urges, compulsive sexual urges, compulsive shopping, binge or compulsive eating, or other urges while being treated with aripiprazole. It should be noted that impulse-control symptoms can be associated with the underlying disorder. In some cases, although not all, urges were reported to have stopped when the dose was reduced or the medication was discontinued. Compulsive behaviors may result in harm to the patient and others if not recognized. Consider dose reduction or stopping the medication if a patient develops such urges.

5.7Orthostatic Hypotension

ABILIFY MAINTENA may cause orthostatic hypotension, perhaps due to its α1-adrenergic receptor antagonism. In the short-term, placebo-controlled trial in adults with schizophrenia, the adverse event of presyncope was reported in 1/167 (0.6%) of patients treated with ABILIFY MAINTENA, while syncope and orthostatic hypotension were each reported in 1/172 (0.6%) of patients treated with placebo. During the stabilization phase of the randomized-withdrawal (maintenance) study in adult patients with schizophrenia, orthostasis-related adverse events were reported in 4/576 (0.7%) of patients treated with ABILIFY MAINTENA, including abnormal orthostatic blood pressure (1/576, 0.2%), postural dizziness (1/576, 0.2%), presyncope (1/576, 0.2%) and orthostatic hypotension (1/576, 0.2%).

In the short-term placebo-controlled trial in adults with schizophrenia, there were no patients in either treatment group with a significant orthostatic change in blood pressure (defined as a decrease in systolic blood pressure ≥20 mmHg accompanied by an increase in heart rate ≥25 bpm when comparing standing to supine values). During the stabilization phase of the randomized-withdrawal (maintenance) study in adult patients with schizophrenia, the incidence of significant orthostatic change in blood pressure was 0.2% (1/575).

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Antipsychotics, including ABILIFY MAINTENA, may cause somnolence, postural hypotension, motor and sensory instability, which may lead to falls and, consequently, fractures or other injuries. For patients with diseases, conditions, or medications that could exacerbate these effects, complete fall risk assessments when initiating antipsychotic treatment and recurrently for patients on long-term antipsychotic therapy.

5.9Leukopenia, Neutropenia, and Agranulocytosis

In clinical trials and post-marketing experience, leukopenia and neutropenia have been reported temporally related to antipsychotic agents, including ABILIFY MAINTENA. Agranulocytosis has also been reported [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)].

Possible risk factors for leukopenia/neutropenia include pre-existing low white blood cell count (WBC)/absolute neutrophil count (ANC) and a history of drug-induced leukopenia/neutropenia. In patients with a history of a clinically significant low WBC/ANC or drug-induced leukopenia/neutropenia, perform a complete blood count (CBC) frequently during the first few months of therapy. In such patients, consider discontinuation of ABILIFY MAINTENA at the first sign of a clinically significant decline in WBC in the absence of other causative factors.

Monitor patients with clinically significant neutropenia for fever or other symptoms or signs of infection and treat promptly if such symptoms or signs occur. Discontinue ABILIFY MAINTENA in patients with severe neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count <1000/mm3) and follow their WBC counts until recovery.


As with other antipsychotic drugs, use ABILIFY MAINTENA cautiously in patients with a history of seizures or with conditions that lower the seizure threshold. Conditions that lower the seizure threshold may be more prevalent in a population of 65 years or older.

5.11Potential for Cognitive and Motor Impairment

ABILIFY MAINTENA, like other antipsychotics, may impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills. Instruct patients to avoid operating hazardous machinery, including automobiles, until they are reasonably certain that therapy with ABILIFY MAINTENA does not affect them adversely.

5.12Body Temperature Regulation

Disruption of the body's ability to reduce core body temperature has been attributed to antipsychotic agents. Appropriate care is advised when prescribing ABILIFY MAINTENA for patients who will be experiencing conditions which may contribute to an elevation in core body temperature, (e.g., exercising strenuously, exposure to extreme heat, receiving concomitant medication with anticholinergic activity, or being subject to dehydration).

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Esophageal dysmotility and aspiration have been associated with antipsychotic drug use, including ABILIFY MAINTENA. ABILIFY MAINTENA and other antipsychotic drugs should be used cautiously in patients at risk for aspiration pneumonia [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].


1. Getting an Anti-Psychotic Injection for Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder
(Living Well with Schizophrenia)
2. ABILIFY MAINTENA® (aripiprazole) Mechanism of Action
(Charles Redhead)
3. Aripiprazole Lauroxil Nanocrystal Dispersion
(NEI Psychopharm)
4. Administer an Intramuscular Injection into the Deltoid Muscle
(Allied Health)
5. David Walling, PhD: Aripiprazole Lauroxil NanoCrystal Dispersion for Schizophrenia
(Lauren Elizabeth)

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