Abilify TV commercials now mention the fact that the drug can cause Diabetes in some patients but some of them have already learned that the hard way. As recently as three years ago my son went on the mood disorder drug to treat Asperger’s Syndrome. The drug did wonders. He went from being an angry, confused adolescent to a confident young gentleman. The transformation was incredible.
The major down side with the drug is the fact that it increased his appetite causing him to gain weight. In hindsight we can see that either us as his parents, or his pediatric psychiatrist should have questioned the weight gain. Though I mentioned the problem his doctor was convinced he looked good. But the 50 pound gain caused him to become Diabetic.
He had an unquenchable thirst, was irritable, and tired all the time. When I took him to his primary care doctor his sugar was well over 300. A couple of days stay in the hospital confirmed he has Type II Diabetes and he had to start giving himself insulin shots. His new diet was highly restrictive and he started a regular regimen of exercise right away.
He lost the weight and was able to switch to oral Metformin. About a year later he was able to go off of the Diabetes medication all together but for the rest of his life he’ll have to watch his diet carefully.
Shortly after our incident doctors that prescribe Abilify began closely monitoring weight gain in patients, and have even given Metformin to some to prevent Diabetes onset. My son will graduate this year on the honor roll and he’s looking forward to his future without undue anxiety. But the trade-off has been huge.