Question: "Hello everyone, I'm wondering if anyone has information or experience with weight gain on Abilify? I take a relatively low dose (5 mg) and have been putting on weight within the past few years. I know there are 10,000 reasons why someone can put on weight, but we are trying to rule out medical reasons before I put my nose to the grindstone in effort." - - curlysue41382
Answer: Unfortunately atypical antipsychotic drugs such as Abilify can cause metabolic changes, which may lead to weight gain and high blood sugar/diabetes.
These changes are not well-understood, but it could be that the weight gain associated with this medication occurs because it makes your cells insulin resistant. As your cells become insulin resistant, blood sugar cannot be properly used for energy and is instead stored in the form of body fat, causing you to gain weight. And, over time, this pre-diabetic condition may become full-blown diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association, the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are:
- Frequent urination
- Unusual thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Unusual weight loss
- Extreme fatigue and irritability
- Frequent infections
- Blurred vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
- Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
If you develop any of these symptoms while using Abilify, please notify a doctor so that you can be screened for diabetes. Diabetes affects many areas of your body - such as your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys - and getting your blood sugar under control can help prevent damage to these important organs.
If you are gaining weight on this medication, it may feel like an uphill battle trying to lose weight because you are fighting against your body's own metabolic processes, so you may wish to consult with your doctor about your options for either switching your medication or using weight loss drugs to help control your appetite.