Cariprazine belongs to a group of medications known as atypical antipsychotics, and it is prescribed to individuals with schizophrenia, a condition characterized by unusual or disturbed thinking, lack of interest in life, and intense or inappropriate emotions.
Cariprazine is also employed in the treatment of bipolar I disorder, which causes alternating episodes of mania, depression, and abnormal moods. It can help alleviate symptoms of depression during bipolar I disorder episodes and is also used as a short-term treatment for mixed episodes that feature symptoms of mania and depression. This medication works by changing the activity of certain natural substances in the brain.
Uses and Dosage
Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully when taking this medication, typically once daily, either with or without food.
The dosage of this medication is determined based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Inform your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use, including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products.
To minimize the risk of side effects, your doctor may advise you to start with a low dose and gradually increase it. Make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions meticulously.
To obtain the most benefit from this medication, use it regularly and take it at the same time each day. If needed, set a reminder to help you remember.
Do not exceed the prescribed dose or use this medication more often or for a longer duration than prescribed. Increasing the dose or frequency will not expedite your recovery and may increase the likelihood of side effects.
If your condition does not improve or worsens, inform your doctor immediately.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- extreme tiredness
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- dizziness, feeling unsteady, or having trouble keeping your balance
- increased appetite
- weight gain
- increased saliva or drooling
- blurred vision
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- unusual movements of your body or face that you cannot control
- slow movements or shuffling walk
- loss of ability to move
- fever, sweating, confusion, fast breathing, fast or irregular heartbeat, and severe muscle stiffness
- muscle weakness or aching
- blank facial expression
- difficulty swallowing or breathing
- tightness in the throat
- tongue that sticks out of the mouth
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes
- dark or cola-colored urine
- swelling in legs and feet
- decreased urination
Prior to taking cariprazine, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it or have any other allergies. This medication may contain inactive ingredients that could trigger allergic reactions or other issues.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist about your medical history, especially if you have poor blood flow to the brain, a family history of diabetes, heart problems, dehydration, high blood pressure, nervous system problems, obesity, low white blood cell count, or swallowing difficulties.
This drug may cause dizziness, drowsiness, or blurry vision. Alcohol or marijuana use can intensify these side effects. Do not operate machinery, drive, or engage in activities requiring alertness or clear vision until you can perform them safely.
Cariprazine can reduce sweating, increasing the risk of heatstroke. Avoid activities that may cause overheating, such as heavy labor or exercise in hot weather, or using hot tubs. Stay hydrated and dress lightly when the weather is warm. If you overheat, find a cool place to rest and seek medical attention if you experience fever, headache, dizziness, or mental/mood changes.
Elderly people may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, including seizures, drowsiness, confusion, tardive dyskinesia, swallowing difficulties, and other rare but serious side effects. Drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and lightheadedness can increase the risk of falls.
During pregnancy, use this medication only when necessary. Infants born to mothers who used this medication during the last trimester may exhibit symptoms such as muscle stiffness or shakiness, drowsiness, breathing difficulties, or constant crying. If you notice any of these symptoms in your newborn, particularly during the first month, notify your doctor immediately.
Since untreated mental/mood are severe conditions, do not stop taking this medication unless instructed by your doctor. If you plan to conceive, are pregnant, or believe you may be pregnant, discuss the risks and benefits of using this medication with your doctor.
It is unclear if this medication passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
Form and Strength
Vraylar is available in the following forms and strengths:
Is Vraylar a mood stabilizer or antipsychotic?
Vraylar is an antipsychotic medication, but it also has an antidepressant effect.
How quickly does Vraylar start working?
Within the first 1-2 weeks hallucinations, disorganized thinking and delusions may improve. After 1-2 weeks patients may feel more motivated and have a greater desire to be around other people.