J.C. Michael Shea is Supervising Psychiatrist at Health and Education Services in Haverhill Massachusetts, and has treated many thousands of schizophrenic patients over a 30 year career. He has definitely hopped onto the Abilify bandwagon, and his perspective is an interesting one.
“I’ve put 20 people on Abilify, and I actually consider it to be as good an antidepressant as an antipsychotic. The first patient I put on Abilify was a woman with chronic undifferentiated schizophrenia, who had been stably unstable for many years. She had been on Mellaril for years, then was switched to Zyprexa, and was doing fairly well. One day she came to me and told me her primary care physician had put her on an anti-hyperglycemic medication and had diagnosed her with diabetes. She was quite overweight, and so she was switched to Geodon. Her blood sugar fell, and then we were able to eliminate her diabetic medication. Unfortunately, she started to complain that she didn’t like the way Geodon made her feel. It appeared to be akathisia. I started her on Inderal, but she had made up her mind—she didn’t like Geodon. In our patients, you don’t get a second chance! So she was started on Abilify 15 mg a day. Exactly three weeks later, on January 2 of this year, she came in, and said, “Doc, what have you done to me, you’ve made me horny!” I said, “Happy New Year, you get a twofer with this drug!” She was brighter in terms of her mood, her libido had improved, and no, she wasn’t manic, though I may have seen hypomania in one other patient on Abilify.