Schizophrenia Home > Abilify Maintena Uses

Adults who have schizophrenia may benefit from treatment with Abilify Maintena. This prescription drug works by blocking the effects of certain brain chemicals, which may become elevated in people with schizophrenia. Off-label (unapproved) uses for Abilify Maintena include the treatment of bipolar disorder, major depression, and irritability associated with autistic disorder.

What Is Abilify Maintena Used For?

Abilify Maintena™ (aripiprazole ER injection) is an injectable medication approved for the treatment of schizophrenia. It belongs to a group of medications known as atypical antipsychotics (sometimes also called second-generation antipsychotics). 

Understanding Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that is characterized by abnormal thinking. It is one of the most complex and disabling mental health conditions. Schizophrenia makes it difficult for people to interpret reality in a normal way and to think logically. As a result, without treatment, people with schizophrenia are often unable to function normally or care for themselves.
The actual symptoms of schizophrenia can vary, depending on the type someone has (see Types of Schizophrenia). However, symptoms generally fall into three categories -- positive, negative, and cognitive -- as follows:
  • Positive symptoms describe an excess of normal function, and include hallucinations, delusions, and difficulty speaking and organizing thoughts.
  • Negative symptoms are those that characterize an absence of normal functioning, such as an inability to express emotion or a loss of interest in activities.
  • Cognitive symptoms are problems with the thought process, and include inattention, memory problems, and an inability to organize and plan.
(Click Symptoms of Schizophrenia to learn more.)
People with schizophrenia will usually require lifelong treatment to help control their symptoms. Treatment normally includes medications, as they are the most effective option available. However, the best treatment involves a combination of strategies and a healthcare team approach (see Schizophrenia Treatment). At this time, there is no cure for this condition.
Abilify Maintena is one of many medications used in schizophrenia treatment. It offers the advantage of once-monthly dosing. For the first dose, an oral antipsychotic (like oral Abilify®) must be continued for the first two weeks to help control symptoms while Abilify Maintena begins working.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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