What does the drug aripiprazole do?

Aripiprazole is a medication that is used to treat several mental health conditions, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. The drug works by affecting the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine and serotonin.

Aripiprazole is classified as an atypical antipsychotic medication. Unlike typical or first-generation antipsychotics, which primarily block dopamine receptors in the brain, aripiprazole works by acting as a partial agonist and antagonist of dopamine receptors, which means it can both stimulate and block the activity of dopamine in the brain. This unique mechanism of action allows aripiprazole to help regulate the activity of dopamine and other neurotransmitters, which can help to improve symptoms of several mental health conditions.

In schizophrenia, aripiprazole can help to reduce positive symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, as well as negative symptoms such as lack of motivation and social withdrawal. In bipolar disorder, aripiprazole can help to stabilize mood and reduce the frequency and severity of manic and depressive episodes. In major depressive disorder, aripiprazole is sometimes used as an adjunctive treatment to an antidepressant medication when the antidepressant alone is not effective.

It is important to note that aripiprazole should only be taken under the guidance of a healthcare provider, as it can have potential risks and side effects. Common side effects of aripiprazole may include drowsiness, dizziness, weight gain, and nausea. Additionally, aripiprazole may interact with other medications or supplements, so it is important to inform the healthcare provider of any other medications being taken.

There are various forms of drugs available, such as tablets or liquids, and each may have a separate patient information leaflet (PIL) for different doses. It is important to refer to the PIL for the specific form and dose of the drug that you have been prescribed.

You can search for further information and PILs on websites such as: