Does Abilify Cause Weight Gain? How True Is It?

Abilify Weight Gain

With the advancement of science and medicine, many drugs were started to be produced to treat certain psychological disorders. Among them, the most popular one is known as antipsychotics or neuroleptics. These are specialized medications that treat psychosis which contains a broad spectrum of paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, etc. One of the most popular antipsychotic drugs among them is Abilify, which is the brand name for Aripiprazole. This is a specialized drug that is used to treat various psychotic conditions. Being a popular atypical antipsychotic, Abilify also causes many side effects. One of the major side effects of consuming Abilify is weight gain.

In this article, we will be discussing the salient features of Abilify and how it can add to your weight. The article also comprises some of the methods you can adhere to prevent weight gain due to Abilify. So go through the article and know everything about one of the most common antipsychotic drugs, Abilify!

Abilify- What Is It?

Scientifically known as Aripiprazole, Abilify or Aristada is the brand name of an atypical antipsychotic drug. The medication is usually prescribed for treating certain nervous disorders such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Tourette’s Syndrome, etc.

Abilify works by regulating the production of dopamine and serotonin in your brain and thereby helps you to balance your mood and behavior.

This medication was approved in 2002 in the USA and hence it is used as a generic medication. Abilify can be available as a tablet, serum, or injection. One should be aware of its myriad side effects before consuming the medication right away. A proper medical checkup and doctor’s prescription are mandatory before using the Abilify medication.

What are the uses of Abilify?

As an antipsychotic drug, Abilify has various benefits or prescribed usage. The major uses or indications for Abilify are given below:

  • To treat Schizophrenia: Abilify is usually prescribed for adults and children from 13-17 years old. Many studies have proved that some acute psychotic episodes of Schizophrenia can be treated using Abilify.
  • Effective for Bipolar Disorder: Researches suggest that Abilify can be effective in treating the manic episodes associated with Bipolar Disorder in adults and children 10-17 years old.
  • Can be added to treat Major Depressive Disorder: Abilify has proven benefit in being an add-on treatment for patients of MDD who didn’t have an adequate response to the antidepressants.
  • Used for Autism: Abilify is suggested for treating irritation symptoms associated with Autism in children ages 6-17 years old.
  • Treating Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Recent research has shown light into the area of OCD and its relation with Abilify as an effective medication.

Ways Abilify causes weight gain

Antipsychotic drugs such as Abilify can increase your weight. Many studies and research have proved that weight gain can be a common effect after consuming Abilify. But compared to other antipsychotic drugs, the weight gain caused by Aripiprazole is less. Many reasons account for the effect of weight gain caused by Abilify.

Some of the ways this medication cause weight gain are listed below:

  • It can enhance your appetite: Many patients who had been consuming Abilify have reported a considerable increase in their appetite and cravings after the medication usage. This might be one of the reasons that cause overeating and hence weight gain due to the consumption of Abilify.
  • It can increase your blood sugar levels: Studies have pointed out that constant usage of Abilify has been associated with a rise in blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, it is extremely difficult to lose weight.
  • Abilify may slow down your metabolism: A study published in Advances in Therapy in 2021 postulated that antipsychotic drugs such as Aripiprazole and Olanzapine can affect metabolism and slow down the whole process. This can adversely affect your weight loss process.
  • It can cause fatigue and drowsiness:  Fatigue and drowsiness are the two common side effects of using Abilify. When you are constantly tired, you are less likely to engage in physical activities such as exercises. This can result in weight gain.
  • It can create weight gain when combined with other medicines: Studies have proved that Abilify when combined with Serotonin receptors can increase the chances of weight gain. Some of these medications include Citalopram, Paroxetine, etc. But if you combine it with Serotonergic Antidepressants like bupropion, there won’t be much weight gain.
  • It can enhance your mood: When your mood gets a lift, chances for you to go outside and eat can be more frequent. This might result in unhealthy eating patterns and thereby a considerable weight gain.

Ways to prevent weight gain caused by Abilify

Since we have understood that Abilify can cause considerable weight gain, we have to seek some ways to prevent this. There are many ways one can adhere to prevention strategies in gaining weight due to Abilify. Some of the methods are listed below:

✔️ Consume smaller portions of food: As antipsychotic drugs such as Abilify can increase your appetite, you might want to engage in endless eating. To avoid this pattern, limit your portion sizes, and stop overeating at night. You can also use smaller plates or utensils for eating food and thereby reduce the intake of food.

✔️ Limit the intake of sugary and fatty foods: When you are on the Abilify prescription, make sure to control your sugar and fat intake. Limit foods that contain added sugars and extra amounts of fats.

✔️ Keep an account of your weight: Checking your weight daily can help you to keep an account of your weight gain process. This can also help you to cut down your cravings and appetites.

✔️ Engage in daily physical movements: To prevent weight gain due to Abilify medication, you can engage in a consistent exercise routine as exercise has an inevitable role in weight loss. Spending 1-2 hours daily for exercise can help you prevent weight gain due to Abilify and other antipsychotic drugs.

✔️ Control the dosage: If you can limit the dosage of Abilify, you might prevent the weight gain associated with it.

✔️ Switch to a different antidepressant: If you usually take some antidepressants with Abilify, switch it to antidepressants such as bupropion which can help you to prevent weight gain.

Other side effects of Abilify

Many side effects are reported with the usage of Abilify. Weight gain is one among them. Apart from weight gain, there are some other side effects reported to Abilify.  Among these side effects, some are most common, some less common, and some are rare. A detailed list of these side effects is given below:

Most common side effectsLess common side effectsRare side effects
▪ Dizziness▪ Headache▪ A severe case of fever
▪ Nausea▪ Nervousness▪ Hypertension or low blood pressure
▪ Vomiting▪ Vision-blurring▪ Seizures
▪ Restlessness▪ Heartbeat which is either fast or slow▪ Fatigue
▪ Sleep issues▪ Breathing issues▪ Pale skin
▪ Speaking issues▪ Inability to control your bladder movement
▪ Trembling in muscles▪ High amount of sweating
▪ Stiffness in joints and limbs


From the aforementioned points, one can conclude that Abilify can cause weight gain. Like many of its counterparts, Abilify can also increase the chances of weight gain in your body. Weight gain is a serious side effect that is usually associated with the consistent consumption of antipsychotic drugs.

Atypical antipsychotics such as Abilify cause weight gain because they can control one’s mood and hormonal balance and thereby can induce unwanted hunger and cravings. This can slowly lead to weight gain and fat accumulation in one’s body. Still, there are many ways one can prevent weight gain due to medications like Abilify. By incorporating proper diet and exercise in one’s routine, one can control the weight gain process induced by Abilify. 

One can also try to bring a slight dosage change with a doctor’s prescription and thereby can reduce the weight gain effect of Abilify.  Anyway, one must keep an account of one’s health and weight if they are under any antipsychotic drugs such as Abilify.

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