Should Abilify be taken in the morning? (+5 suggestions)

In this short article, we will answer the question “Should Abilify be taken in the morning?”. We will discuss the effects that Abilify may have on your sleep-wake cycle and metabolism and the advantages of taking Abilify in the morning.  Finally, we will provide some general advice that may be helpful if you are taking Abilify.


Should Abilify be taken in the morning?


In general, Abilify (also known as Aripiprazole) should preferably be taken in the morning to mitigate the impact of this medication on your 24-hour cycle and metabolism. However, taking Abilify at night may be preferable for some individuals. 


Abilify is used to treat a variety of conditions, including psychosis, depression, bipolar disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, and irritation in people with autism or autism spectrum disorders. It is a prescription medicine that should only be taken under the guidance of a doctor. 


You should be open with your doctor regarding any treatment-related issues that you may experience while taking Abilify. Do not make changes to the way you take your Abilify without prior consultation with your doctor. 


What are the effects of Abilify on your sleep-wake cycle?


Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles that are part of your body’s internal clock, coordinating several processes and functions. The sleep-wake cycle is possibly the most clear example of a circadian rhythm. During the daytime, light sends signals to your internal clock in the brain, which produces alertness. In the evening, in contrast, the brain produces signals that induce restorative sleep. 


In some people, however, the internal clock is not properly aligned with the light-dark cycle, which results in sleepiness in the daytime and insomnia at bedtime. In particular, if you have a psychiatric condition or mood disorder you are more likely to experience disruptions in your sleep-wake cycle (1).  


Several reports suggest that Abilify may help correct your internal clock, thus normalizing your sleep-wake pattern (2-5). However, in some individuals, Abilify may cause tiredness or sleepiness (2, 6), potentially interfering with daytime alertness. This is more likely to occur if you are taking other medications to treat depression or mood disorders together with Abilify. Alcohol intake may also enhance this side effect. 


Sleepiness seems also to be more frequent with high doses of Abilify and may compromise the ability to perform activities that require motor coordination, such as driving or cycling. 


What are the effects of Abilify on your metabolism?


Antipsychotic medications may frequently disturb your metabolism. Between 37 and 63% of people who use antipsychotic medications develop metabolic syndrome (7), which may involve weight gain, elevated blood pressure, abnormal levels of lipids (such as cholesterol) in the blood, and increased risk for diabetes. 


Abilify is often considered “metabolically neutral” because it has fewer side effects on your metabolism than other antipsychotics (8, 9). However, it was shown in a double-blind study involving ten subjects that it can have a modest and negative effect on insulin sensitivity (10), and some impact on other metabolic parameters (9).    


In a small-scale study comparing the metabolic effects of Abilify taken in the morning or at bedtime, it was found that taking Abilify in the evening slightly decreases HDL (“good cholesterol”) (9). This effect was not observed in the study participants who took Abilify in the morning.


Since high levels of “good” cholesterol can protect you from heart and stroke, this can be considered a negative effect of taking Abilify at night. 


What are the benefits of taking your Abilify in the morning?


The main benefits of taking your Abilify in the morning can be summarized as follows:


  • Evidence suggests that Abilify will have fewer negative effects on your metabolism if you consume it in the morning. 


  • For people who experience insomnia after taking Abilify, using this medication in the morning may be less disruptive to their sleep patterns. 


  • People tend to miss fewer morning medications than evening medications (11).  


Moreover, morning activities such as breakfast or normal caffeine intake do not seem to interact negatively with Abilify. However, if you experience somnolence/sedation after taking Abilify, it may be better to take Abilify in the evening. This is more likely to occur if you use high doses of Abilify or when you begin taking Abilify.  


Is there any advice to consider if you are taking Abilify?


Some important advice if you are taking Abilify includes the following:


  • Brain medications that cause reduced alertness can increase the risk associated with complex tasks such as driving a vehicle or operating machinery. You should avoid dangerous activities until you have verified how Abilify affects you. Alcohol intake can worsen this side effect. 


  • The metabolic side effects of Abilify may be mitigated by following a healthy diet and exercising regularly. 


  • It is important to take antipsychotic medications regularly and adhere to the dosing scheme specified by your doctor. Avoid skipping your daily Abilify dose. D


  • If you are replacing another psychiatric medication with Abilify, do not quit your prior medication suddenly as you may decompensate.


  • Do not change the dose or the time of your daily Abilify or stop taking Abilify without medical supervision.  




From my professional perspective, taking Abilify in the morning may be better than in the evening, as it may be less disruptive to your metabolism and sleep pattern. However, some patients may experience somnolence after taking Abilify. For these people, taking Abilify at bedtime may be preferable. In any case, do not modify the dose or time of Abilify without medical supervision.  




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