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Abilify for Autism

Updated on July 8, 2014


**Please note that I am NOT a trained professional. I am a parent of a child with Autism. Any information I give in my blog should NOT be used as a substitute for the expertise, knowledge, skill and judgment of healthcare practitioners.**

Switching Medicines

Alana was taking Zyprexa (Olanzapine) can read this article on my page.

The reason she had been on Zyprexa was to help her to control some of her aggression tendencies; however, she had gained seven (7) pounds in a four week period, and, so, her doctor switched her over to Abilify to see how that would work for her.

Pictured to the left is Alana after having her hair "dyed" aqua blue. There are times in a kid's life when she just wants to get what an older sibling is getting; in this case it was her 13 year old sister getting some highlights put into her own hair, plus her older 10 year old brother got some bright red hair color. I don't' always make a big fuss over things like this because you only get to be a kid once in your lifetime. Alana takes the cake, though, in the kid department; not only does she keep me and Mark (my husband) on our toes constantly but she keeps things interesting for everyone else as well (lol). Alana has taught all of us here at the "Johnson Ranch" that life is not to be lived inside a shell, it is to be lived open and free doing what you love to do best. One thing I know for will never meet anyone as sweet as Alana; but, then, again, as her mom, I may have a bit of a biased opinion (lol).

Abilify (2.5 mg)

This is the dosage that Alana takes every night at 8:00 p.m. along with her other night time medications.
This is the dosage that Alana takes every night at 8:00 p.m. along with her other night time medications.

What is Abilify?

Abilify is an antipsychotic medication used for the treatment of Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, tic disorders and symptoms associated with Autism. As Alana is Autistic, I want to point out this medication and its usage as it pertains to Autism.

Abilify is a partial dopamine agonist. For the Autistic patient it reduces irritability, hyperactivity and symptoms classified as stereotypies.


Since it has been a while, and since I do so anyway, I will clarify a few of the medical terms into layman terminology. I do this for myself as well so I can fully understand many of the mechanisms associated with a specified medication. As a parent, I want to know what it is that my child(ren) are taking. Again, this is a medication my child has been put on, if you feel this medication should or should not be used by your child(ren), please discuss your concerns with your primary care physician. Never use any information I write in my article blogs as a means to diagnose your child(ren). As stated at the start of this article, all your medicals concerns and/or questions should be discussed with your own healthcare practitioner.

  • A dopamine agonist is a compound that activates the dopamine receptors due to the absence of or deficiency of dopamine within the patient's chemical makeup.
  • Dopamine receptors are prominent in the CNS (Central Nervous System) and are primarily responsible for many neurological processes, including motivation, cognition, memory, learning, fine motor control, etc.
  • The CNS (Central Nervous System), consisting of the brain and spinal cords, is responsible for coordinating voluntary, and involuntary, actions and then transmits those signals to various other parts of the body.
  • Stereotypies (singular would be stereotypy) are repetitive or ritualistic behaviors. These behaviors might include body rocking, self caressing, marching in place, etc.


For more information on this medication and all its pharmacology, or for any information concerning most anything, go to:

Side Effects (Common and Serious)

Some common side effects (that may go away during treatment) include; but, are not limited to:

  • belching
  • headache
  • rash
  • weight gain

Some serious side effects (that may require immediate medical attention) include; but, are not limited to:

  • drooling
  • loss of balance control
  • shuffling walk
  • slow or fast heartbeat


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