Here’s a brief update for all those interested in the trials and tribulations of attempting to quit Abilify. (Round 1 was documented here.)
The alternating-days-with-a high-and-then-a low-dose-to-titer-down approach is working its magic. The lowering from 7.5mg to 5mg phase was successfully completed with no further orientation issues. Balance is normal, riding in the car uneventful. There has even been some weight loss. All I can say is, “Hooray!” where that is concerned. I also noticed mental acuity is beginning to return. I didn’t realize how medicated I was feeling until I was on the 5mg dose steadily for a week straight. While on the 7.5 dose, I was in a bad place whenever reasoning through a problem required multiple steps – one particular incident that ended in tears involved planning our vacation and having to reason through the date changeover of a red-eye flight through multiple timezones. I used to be able to do all of the math in my head within seconds. Now, on 5mg I can at least recall the dates we will be in certain locales and calculate how long we will be in each port during the journey. There is a big difference for me with just a 2.5mg adjustment in this medication.
Overall, with the lower dose of Abilify I have more energy and a renewed desire to participate in life. I want to go for a walk, I want to be around friends and chat the night away. I want to sit through films. I want to read that book.
Which – there has to be a potentially dark side to this, right? – leads me to wonder if I may be courting a manic disaster when I’m finally down to a very low dose. At present I am uncertain if my renewed interest in my to-do list is the product of the medication cloud lifting or if a hypomania is looming just on the horizon. I know the signs, and I’m starting to stack up books to read, create quite a list of redecorating tasks and am becoming just a tiny bit anxious I cannot provide concrete deadlines when each of these things will be completed. Right now, I’ll chalk it up to med numbness subsiding but will have a talk with my husband tonight about keeping an eye on my activity level.
I’ve now begun the next phase in dosage decrease, alternating between 5mg and 2.5mg. Today is day three and so far, I haven’t had any problems. If anything, I am feeling more awake. At 7.5mg, caffeine just stopped giving me any jolt at all. Now, caffeine is one again doing it’s job and that 2PM cappuccino fix is getting me through the rest of my day.
So, all in all I am cautiously optimistic the next two weeks of 5mg/2.5mg to 2.5mg will go well. And, if anyone out there is considering titering down from Abilify, I can cautiously recommend you try the every-other-day method.