Abilify's Dosage: What to Know

Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth Scheffel, PharmD

This drug has boxed warnings, the most serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Boxed warnings alert doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Risk of death in older adults with dementia-related psychosis. Older adults with dementia-related psychosis may have an increased risk of death with antipsychotics. Abilify is an antipsychotic, so it carries this risk. (Psychosis is a mental health condition where you lose touch with reality and may have hallucinations. Dementia is a condition involving memory loss.) Due to this risk, doctors typically will not prescribe Abilify to adults ages 65 years and older with dementia-related psychosis.

Risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Certain medications that treat depression, including Abilify, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children and adults ages 24 years and younger. For this reason, doctors will monitor anyone taking Abilify for signs of new or worsening depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. They may also recommend that close family members of anyone taking Abilify watch for any changes in mood.

For more information about the boxed warnings for Abilify, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Abilify: Introduction

Abilify is a brand-name prescription medication that contains the active drug aripiprazole. It is available as a generic form. Abilify belongs to a group of drugs called atypical antipsychotics.

This medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the following conditions.

In adultsschizophrenia
bipolar disorder
depression
In children ages 6 years and older• irritability associated with autism spectrum disorder
Tourette’s syndrome
In children ages 10 years and older• bipolar disorder
In children ages 13 years and older• schizophrenia

Abilify is available as follows:

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 2 milligrams (mg), 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg

In this article, you’ll find additional information about Abilify’s dosage and details on how to take the drug. For a comprehensive overview of Abilify, view this article.

Dosage summary

For details about the drug’s dosage, see the “Abilify: Dosage” section below. Your doctor will prescribe the dosage of Abilify that’s right for your condition.

Dosage information for Abilify and Abilify Maintena

Abilify and Abilify Maintena both have the same active ingredient. However, these medications come in different forms and strengths. They also have different recommended dosages.

This article focuses on dosage information for Abilify. If you’d like to learn more about Abilify Maintena, talk with your doctor or see the “Abilify: Common questions about dosage” section below.

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking Abilify, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

This article describes typical recommended dosages for Abilify. These dosages are provided by the drug’s manufacturer.

Always follow the dosage of Abilify that your doctor prescribes.

Abilify: Dosage

Commonly recommended dosages for Abilify are shown below. You should take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you.They’ll recommend the dosage that’s best for your condition.

Abilify’s form

Abilify comes as tablets that you take by mouth.

In the past, Abilify came in other forms, which are now discontinued. These included:

  • tablets that dissolved in your mouth
  • solutions that you would take by mouth
  • solutions that were injected into your muscle

Abilify’s strengths: 2 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg

Abilify tablets come in the following strengths:

  • 2 milligrams (mg)
  • 5 mg
  • 10 mg
  • 15 mg
  • 20 mg
  • 30 mg

Typical recommended dosages

Usually, doctors will prescribe a low dosage of Abilify at the start of treatment. Then, they’ll adjust the dosage over time if needed. Your normal dosage of Abilify will depend on several factors, including your age and the condition you’re using Abilify to treat. Ultimately, your doctor will prescribe the smallest dosage of Abilify that gives the desired effect.

Adult’s dosage

The table below shows recommended Abilify dosages for adults, including recommended starting dosages and the highest dose recommended for each condition. Your doctor will prescribe the dosage of Abilify that’s best for you.

ConditionStarting dosageMaintenance dosageMaximum dosage
schizophrenia10 to 15 mg per day10 to 15 mg per day30 mg per day
bipolar disorder if taking Abilify alone15 mg per day15 mg per day30 mg per day
bipolar disorder if taking Abilify with certain other medications to treat bipolar disorder10 to 15 mg per day15 mg per day30 mg per day
depression2 to 5 mg per day5 to 10 mg per day15 mg per day

Children’s dosage

The table below summarizes recommended Abilify dosages for children based on the condition their doctor is prescribing Abilify to treat. Always follow dosage instructions given by your child’s doctor.

ConditionStarting dosageMaintenance dosageMaximum dosage
schizophrenia in children ages 13 years and older2 mg per day10 mg per day30 mg per day
bipolar disorder in children ages 10 years and older2 mg per day10 mg per day30 mg per day
irritability due to autism spectrum disorder in children ages 6 years and older2 mg per day5 to 10 mg per day15 mg per day
Tourette’s syndrome in children ages 6 years and older weighing less than 50 kilograms (kg)*2 mg per day5 mg per day10 mg per day
Tourette’s syndrome in children ages 6 years and older weighing 50 kg* or more2 mg per day10 mg per day20 mg per day

* One kg equals about 2.2 pounds (lb).

Length of treatment

Doctors typically prescribe Abilify as a long-term treatment. You’ll likely take it long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for your condition.

Abilify: Dosage considerations

Your doctor will consider the following factors when prescribing a dosage of Abilify. These factors include:

  • your age
  • the condition you’re taking Abilify to treat
  • the severity of your condition
  • your weight
  • other medications you take

Your prescribed dosage may also vary based on other medical conditions you have.

Recommended adjustments in dosage

Abilify is broken down in your liver by two enzymes (certain proteins) called CYP2D6 and CYP3A4.

If your CYP2D6 enzyme doesn’t work as well as usual, your body might not be able to break down Abilify like it should. (This condition is referred to as being a “poor metabolizer” of CYP2D6.) In this case, your doctor may prescribe a lower Abilify dosage than typical for you.

Certain medications induce (speed up) or inhibit (slow down) the action of CYP3A4. If you take Abilify with any of these medications, your body could metabolize Abilify differently than usual.

Taking Abilify with CYP3A4 inducers can decrease the amount of Abilify in your body. This means the drug may not work as well as intended. Due to this risk, your doctor will likely increase your dosage if you take one of these medications. Examples of strong CYP3A4 inducers include certain seizure medications, such as carbamazepine (Tegretol). They can also include certain antibiotics, such as rifampin (Rifadin).

Taking Abilify with CYP3A4 or CYP2D6 inhibitors can increase your risk of side effects of Abilify. Due to this risk, your doctor will likely reduce your dosage of Abilify if you take one of these medications.

Examples of strong CYP3A4 inhibitors include certain antibiotics, such as clarithromycin. They can also include antifungal medications, such as ketoconazole. Examples of strong CYP2D6 inhibitors include certain antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac). They can also include the antiarrhythmic medication quinidine.

Abilify: How to take

Abilify comes as a tablet that you swallow. You’ll take your dose once per day. You may take this dosage with or without food.

Abilify tablets should be swallowed whole. Avoid chewing, crushing, or cutting the tablets.

If it’s difficult for you to swallow tablets, see this article for information on taking this form of medication. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist and ask if they have other suggestions to help you take the medication.

ACCESSIBLE DRUG LABELS AND CONTAINERS

If you find it challenging to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies provide medication labels with large print or braille. They may also offer labels that contain a scannable code that your smartphone can convert into text to speech. If your pharmacy doesn’t provide these choices, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.

If it’s difficult for you to open medication bottles, ask your pharmacist if they can dispense Abilify in an easy-open container. They also may recommend ways to help make it easier to open the bottles.

Abilify: Missing a dose

If you miss a dose of Abilify, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Then, take your next dose at your regular time. Avoid taking two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.

View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm or download a reminder app on your phone.

Abilify: Overdose

If you take more than the recommended dosage of Abilify, serious side effects can occur. Do not take more Abilify than your doctor prescribes. 

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an overdose of Abilify include:

What to do in case of overdose

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much of this drug. Also, you can call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Abilify: Common questions about dosage

Below are common questions related to Abilify’s dosage.

How does Abilify’s dosage differ from Abilify Maintena’s dosage? What’s the injection dosage for Abilify Maintena?

Abilify Maintena is given as an intramuscular injection once per month, while Abilify comes as a tablet that you swallow once per day.

Abilify Maintena is approved to treat schizophrenia and certain types of bipolar disorder in adults. For both conditions, the recommended Abilify Maintena dosage is 300 milligrams (mg) to 400 mg injected once per month.

Abilify is approved to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression in adults. It is also approved to treat Tourette’s syndrome, irritability associated with autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder in certain children. The dosage of Abilify depends on several factors, including your age and the condition the drug is being used to treat. For details, see the “Abilify: Dosage” section above.

To learn more about Abilify Maintena dosage, talk with your doctor or pharmacist or view the drug’s prescribing information.

What’s considered a ‘low dose’ of Abilify?

Your Abilify dosage will vary based on several factors. These include your age, how your body responds to the medication, and what condition you’re taking Abilify to treat.

The lowest recommended Abilify dosage is 2 mg once daily. However, you should take Abilify exactly as your doctor prescribes it. They’ll recommend the dosage that’s best for you.

Is a ‘low dose’ of Abilify used for anxiety?

Abilify is not approved to treat anxiety. Because of this, there’s no recommended Abilify dosage for this condition.

However, Abilify is sometimes used off-label to treat certain types of anxiety. Doctors sometimes prescribe drugs off-label for other conditions. With off-label use, doctors prescribe a drug for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.

If your doctor prescribes Abilify to treat anxiety, they’ll likely have you start with a low dose. Then, they’ll gradually increase your dosage if needed.

Talk with your doctor if you have questions about the right Abilify dosage to treat anxiety.

Abilify: What to discuss with your doctor

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to find out more information about Abilify’s dosage. Keep in mind that the dosages presented in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Abilify that’s right for you and your condition. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes for you.

As with any medications you’re taking, do not change your Abilify dosage without a recommendation from your doctor.

In addition to discussing Abilify with your doctor, you may find the following articles helpful in learning more:

Disclaimer: Healthgrades has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

Medical Reviewer: Elizabeth Scheffel, PharmD
Last Review Date: 2022 Jul 14
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.