Does Abilify lower libido?

In this article, we will discuss the effects of Abilify (Aripiprazole) on libido. We will also discuss some research studies on this side effect and what steps are important to mitigate it. 

Does Abilify lower libido?

Abilify may cause a decrease in libido or sexual desire in some individuals. However, the medication is more commonly known for increasing libido or causing lesser sexual side effects as compared to other antipsychotic medications (1). 

However, it’s important to note that the impact on libido can vary from person to person. If you notice changes in your sexual desire or experience any other side effects while on Abilify, you should discuss this with your doctor.

What does research suggest?

Research studies have linked Abilify with sexual disturbances or changes in libido. 

Some experts have indicated that Abilify may reduce libido through its impact on dopamine, a chemical in the brain. Dopamine is important for pleasure and motivation, including sexual desire. Abilify can influence the levels of dopamine in your brain (1,2). 

If it changes these levels too much, it might lead to changes in your sexual desire or even lower it. 

However, the majority of the research studies talk about how Aripiprazole – the active drug in Abilify – can be a safer alternative for people who experience sexual side effects with the use of other antipsychotic medications or even antidepressants. 

Aripiprazole: A safer alternative to drugs that cause sexual side effects

As stated earlier, Aripiprazole is considered a safer medication for people who experience sexual side effects. 

A 2008 study looked at the effects of switching to Aripiprazole for people who were experiencing sexual dysfunction due to other antipsychotic medications (3). 

They found that switching to Aripiprazole resulted in a reduction in prolactin levels, which is associated with sexual problems. Both men and women experienced improved libido (sexual desire) and other sexual difficulties by week 12 after switching (3). 

Men also saw improvements in erectile and ejaculatory difficulties, while women experienced reduced menstrual problems. Even after 26 weeks, these improvements continued, and participants reported increased satisfaction with overall sexual functioning (3).

Another study examined the effects of adding Aripiprazole to the treatment of people with sexual dysfunction related to their mental health medications (4). 

In males, adding aripiprazole showed some improvements in sexual interest, arousal, erection, and satisfaction, but these improvements were not statistically significant (4). 

In females, adding Aripiprazole led to statistically significant improvements in sexual interest and satisfaction. These improvements were seen independently of changes in depressive symptoms (4). 

Overall, the study suggests that adding Aripiprazole could potentially help improve sexual functioning in certain cases.

Aripiprazole-induced hypersexuality

In some cases, Abilify (Aripiprazole) can induce hypersexuality. A 2013 study discussed two cases of hypersexuality with the use of Aripiprazole (5). The study suggested that Aripiprazole works differently from other antipsychotic drugs. It partially activates certain brain receptors related to dopamine. 

This partial activation might lead to increased sexual desire and preoccupation, which is called hypersexuality. This was seen in patients taking Aripiprazole, and in one case, the hypersexuality went away when the patient stopped taking the drug (5).

The study indicated that this effect might relate to changes in brain pathways and could possibly even lead to mistaken beliefs (delusions). The hypersexuality symptoms didn’t come back after stopping the drug (5).  

Since Aripiprazole stays in the body for a long time, recovery from the side effects can take a while, but it eventually gets better (1).

What to do if you suspect that Abilify is affecting your libido?

If you notice a reduced interest in sex or changes in your sexual desire while taking Abilify, it’s important to talk to your doctor. They can help determine if Abilify could be causing this and discuss potential solutions. 

It might involve adjusting the dosage, switching to a different medication, or finding ways to manage the side effect while still benefiting from Abilify’s main effects on your mental health.

On the other hand, if you experience an increased libido that feels unusual or bothersome, again, discussing it with your doctor is important. Sometimes medications like Abilify can lead to unexpected changes in sexual desire.

Remember, everyone’s response to medication can be different, and your doctor is there to help you find the best solution for your situation. Just make sure you don’t start skipping your doses or abruptly stop taking the medication without consulting your doctor first.


In this article, we have discussed the effects of Abilify (Aripiprazole) on libido in detail. We have talked about both the increase and decrease in libido associated with this medication and what research says about these side effects. 

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