Yikes: Antidepressant “Add-on”?

It’s so unfair that with psychotropic medication, the side effects show up pretty quickly, but the benefits (if they work) don’t show up until weeks later.

I’m just thinking about this because I’m starting a new med: “Abilify”, the one in all the tv commercials. I’m on day five, but given my history with weird side-effects (two words: “uncontrollable yawning“) we started me out on such a tiny dose the insurance company objected. I’m taking half the smallest (2 mg) tabs they make. If all goes well, she wants me to increase slowly to (gasp!) 4 mg. I don’t even know if that’s a therapeutic dose for most people.

The insurance question made them initially deny coverage, so I found out these are costly little buggers. Over $800 for a bottle of thirty. Fortunately, we straightened it out. We hit our prescription maximum over a month ago, so in the end I paid nothing.

(Of course, we paid a couple grand out-of-pocket before copay-coverage kicked in, and then paid a couple more grand in ‘scrip copays until we maxed out. So we’re not exactly getting off easy. I take 4 psych meds, 2 regular ‘scrips, and supplements, but that’s nothing compared to the cupful that my spouse knocks back twice a day. And those yummy anti-rejection meds trump any psych med I’ve ever taken, dollar-wise. But I digress…)

Tomorrow, I’m up to 2 mg of Abilify. So far so good.

Like nearly all meds used for bipolar disorder, it was developed for something else: it’s an antipsychotic created for schizophrenia, but now also prescribed for depression, bipolar disorder and autism-related irritability.  Sounds … promising, actually.  (Trust me, this is SO not an plug.  The last “promising” med was awful for me, even with the cool anime eyes.)

The literature says this is an “add-on” med to an antidepressant; in other words, it should either make my other meds work better, or just work well with my other meds — they’re not entirely clear on that point.  I’d love any insight.

Anybody out there have first-hand experience with Abilify?

 

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