Bipolar Disorder Home > Abilify and Insomnia

There are many possible side effects of Abilify, and insomnia is one of the most common (occurring in up to 18 percent of people). Some suggestions for improving sleep habits include keeping a regular sleep-wake cycle, avoiding naps after 3 p.m., and avoiding exercise within two hours of bedtime. If this problem does not go away after you improve your sleep habits, make sure to talk with your healthcare provider.

Does Abilify Cause Insomnia?

For people with bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression), depression, or schizophrenia who are taking Abilify® (aripiprazole), insomnia appears to be a common side effect. In clinical studies conducted before Abilify was approved, up to 18 percent of people reported insomnia as one of Abilify's side effects.
However, since up to 13 percent of those not taking Abilify also reported problems with insomnia, it is difficult to know if insomnia was caused by Abilify or other factors.

What Is Insomnia?

People with insomnia have one or more of the following insomnia symptoms:
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Non-refreshing sleep.

Understanding Clinical Trials

Before medicines are approved, they must go through several clinical studies. In these studies, thousands of people are given a particular medicine and are then compared to a group of people not given the medicine.
During these studies, side effects are always documented. This way, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine. It is then possible to get a better idea of what side effects may be related to the medicine and what side effects may be related to things besides the medicine, such as the condition itself.
It does appear that insomnia is a possible side effect of Abilify. Insomnia occurred more commonly in people taking Abilify than in people who were not taking Abilify.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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