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Brexpiprazole is an antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. Like all medications, it carries certain risks. Some potential risks of taking brexpiprazole include:

  • Side effects: Common side effects may include nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, or constipation. Less common but more serious side effects can include changes in mood or behavior, muscle stiffness, and difficulty swallowing or breathing.
  • Increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior: This risk is particularly pertinent in younger individuals, especially those under the age of 24. Patients should be closely monitored for any signs of worsening depression or suicidal ideation when starting or changing doses of brexpiprazole.
  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS): This is a rare but potentially life-threatening condition characterized by fever, muscle rigidity, altered mental status, and autonomic dysfunction. It requires immediate medical attention.
  • Metabolic changes: Brexpiprazole, like other antipsychotic medications, may lead to weight gain, increased blood sugar levels, and changes in cholesterol levels, which could increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • Movement disorders: Brexpiprazole may cause involuntary movements such as tremors, muscle stiffness, or tardive dyskinesia, particularly with long-term use.
  • Increased mortality in elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis: Elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with antipsychotic medications like brexpiprazole are at an increased risk of death compared to those treated with placebo.

Always consult with a healthcare professional to weigh the risks and benefits of brexpiprazole or any medication before starting or stopping treatment.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Brexpiprazole is a medication primarily prescribed to treat schizophrenia and major depressive disorder (MDD). It belongs to a class of drugs known as atypical antipsychotics, which work by affecting the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, to help regulate mood and behavior.

When prescribed for schizophrenia, brexpiprazole helps alleviate symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, and emotional withdrawal. In the case of major depressive disorder, it’s used as an adjunct to antidepressants to help improve mood and alleviate symptoms of depression.

How should this medicine be used?

As for how brexpiprazole should be used:

  • Dosage: The dosage of brexpiprazole varies depending on the condition being treated and individual patient factors. It is typically started at a low dose and gradually increased to achieve the desired therapeutic effect while minimizing side effects.
  • Administration: Brexpiprazole is usually taken orally, with or without food, once daily. It’s important to take it exactly as prescribed by a healthcare professional.
  • Duration of treatment: The duration of treatment with brexpiprazole varies depending on the individual’s response to the medication and the nature of their condition. It may be used for short-term or long-term management, as determined by a healthcare provider.
  • Regular monitoring: Patients taking brexpiprazole should be regularly monitored by their healthcare provider for any signs of improvement or worsening of symptoms, as well as for potential side effects or adverse reactions.
  • Abrupt discontinuation: It’s important not to stop taking brexpiprazole suddenly without consulting a healthcare professional, as abrupt discontinuation can lead to withdrawal symptoms or a recurrence of symptoms.

Always follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider regarding the use of brexpiprazole and consult them if you have any questions or concerns about its use.

Other uses for this medicine

Brexpiprazole may also be used off-label for other conditions, but it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on its appropriate use.

What special precautions should I follow?

As for special precautions to follow when taking brexpiprazole:

  • Medical History: Before starting brexpiprazole, inform your healthcare provider about any medical conditions you have, especially if you have a history of diabetes, seizures, cardiovascular disease, or neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS).
  • Medication Interactions: Inform your healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, and herbal remedies you are taking, as brexpiprazole may interact with certain drugs, including other antipsychotics, antidepressants, antifungals, and HIV medications.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Brexpiprazole may not be safe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Consult your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Driving and Operating Machinery: Brexpiprazole may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurred vision, which can impair your ability to drive or operate machinery. Use caution when engaging in activities that require mental alertness until you know how brexpiprazole affects you.
  • Alcohol: Avoid or limit alcohol consumption while taking brexpiprazole, as alcohol may exacerbate certain side effects of the medication.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and recommendations regarding the use of brexpiprazole, and consult them if you have any questions or concerns about its use or potential side effects.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Regarding special dietary instructions for brexpiprazole, there are no specific dietary restrictions associated with its use. However, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is generally recommended for overall well-being and may also support your mental health.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget to take a dose of brexpiprazole, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is close to the time for your next scheduled dose. In that case, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are unsure about what to do, consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance. It’s important to maintain a consistent dosing schedule to ensure the effectiveness of the medication.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Brexpiprazole, like all medications, can cause side effects. Some common side effects of brexpiprazole include:

  • Nausea: Feeling sick to your stomach, which may sometimes lead to vomiting.
  • Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded or unsteady, especially when standing up quickly.
  • Drowsiness: Feeling excessively tired or sleepy.
  • Constipation: Difficulty passing stools, which may result in infrequent bowel movements.
  • Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Headache: Pain or discomfort in the head, which may vary in intensity.
  • Restlessness or agitation: Feeling anxious, jittery, or unable to sit still.
  • Weight gain: Gaining weight, which may occur gradually over time.

Less common but more serious side effects of brexpiprazole may include:

  • Changes in mood or behavior: Such as increased depression, anxiety, or thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
  • Muscle stiffness or tremors: Involuntary muscle contractions or shaking movements.
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing: Especially in individuals predisposed to this condition.
  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS): A rare but serious condition characterized by fever, muscle rigidity, confusion, and other symptoms, which requires immediate medical attention.
  • Tardive Dyskinesia: Involuntary movements of the face, tongue, or other body parts, which may occur with long-term use of antipsychotic medications.

It’s important to discuss any side effects you experience with your healthcare provider. They can help determine whether the benefits of brexpiprazole outweigh the potential risks and may recommend adjustments to your treatment plan if needed. Additionally, some side effects may diminish or disappear over time as your body adjusts to the medication.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

When it comes to the storage and disposal of brexpiprazole, here are some important considerations:

  • Storage: Store brexpiprazole at room temperature away from light and moisture. Keep it out of reach of children and pets.
  • Disposal: Dispose of unused or expired brexpiprazole properly according to local regulations or guidelines. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal facility for proper disposal instructions.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of an overdose or emergency situation, call your local emergency services or poison control center immediately. Overdose symptoms may include excessive drowsiness, dizziness, agitation, confusion, fainting, seizures, or difficulty breathing. Be prepared to provide information about the medication ingested, the amount taken, and any other relevant details.

What other information should I know?

  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully when taking brexpiprazole.
  • Attend all scheduled appointments for monitoring and follow-up with your healthcare provider.
  • Do not change your dose or stop taking brexpiprazole without consulting your healthcare provider first.
  • Inform any healthcare provider treating you about all medications, supplements, and herbal remedies you are taking, as they may interact with brexpiprazole.
  • Avoid alcohol while taking brexpiprazole, as it may increase the risk of side effects.
  • Brexpiprazole may cause drowsiness or dizziness, so avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how the medication affects you.
  • If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the risks and benefits of brexpiprazole with your healthcare provider.

Always keep brexpiprazole and all medications out of the reach of children and pets, and follow proper storage and disposal guidelines to ensure safety. If you have any questions or concerns about brexpiprazole or its use, consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance.

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