Mental Health Home > What Is Aripiprazole ER Injection Used For?
Aripiprazole ER injection is prescribed to treat schizophrenia in adults who have previously taken the oral form of aripiprazole and have tolerated it well. As an atypical antipsychotic, the medicine works by blocking the effects of certain brain chemicals. Off-label uses for aripiprazole ER injection include treating major depression, bipolar disorder, and irritability caused by autistic disorder.
Aripiprazole ER injection (Abilify Maintena™) is an injectable medication approved for the treatment of schizophrenia. It belongs to a group of medications known as atypical antipsychotics (sometimes also called second-generation antipsychotics).
Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that is characterized by abnormal thinking. It is one of the most complex and disabling mental health conditions. Schizophrenia makes it difficult for people to interpret reality in a normal way and to think logically. As a result, without treatment, people with schizophrenia are often unable to function normally or care for themselves.
The actual symptoms of schizophrenia can vary, depending on the type someone has (see Types of Schizophrenia). However, symptoms generally fall into three categories -- positive, negative, and cognitive -- as follows:
- Positive symptoms describe an excess of normal function, and include hallucinations, delusions, and difficulty speaking and organizing thoughts.
- Negative symptoms are those that characterize an absence of normal functioning, such as an inability to express emotion or a loss of interest in activities.
- Cognitive symptoms are problems with thought process, and include inattention, memory problems, and an inability to organize and plan.
(Click Symptoms of Schizophrenia to learn more.)
People with schizophrenia will usually require lifelong treatment to help control their symptoms. Treatment normally includes medications, as they are the most effective option available. However, the best treatment involves a combination of strategies and a healthcare team approach (see Schizophrenia Treatment). At this time, there is no cure for this condition.
Aripiprazole ER injection is one of many medications used in schizophrenia treatment. It offers the advantage of once-monthly dosing. For the first dose, an oral antipsychotic (like oral Abilify) must be continued for the first two weeks to help control symptoms while aripiprazole ER injection begins working.