I’ve been taking Abilify for several days now. Is it working? It’s hard to say.
I’m pleased to report that I haven’t had any side effects I can’t handle. In fact, I don’t know whether I’ve had any side effects at all. I’ve had a tiny bit of dizziness and some drowsiness. But I have those anyway, either from my other meds or from other physical conditions.
On the positive side, I’ve had a bit of an increase in energy and concentration – as you could probably tell from the fact that I’m blogging again. But is this attributable to the new drug, or is it just the usual up cycle of my own personal roller coaster?
It’s probably too soon to expect anything definitive. Like most psychotropics, it probably needs to build up in my system a bit. Or I may just be one of those people Abilify doesn’t affect, for good or ill.
I recently read an article in Discover magazine called “The Power of Single-Person Medical Expepriments.” The article discussed the fact that the usual clinical studies of new drugs and treatments – randomized, double-blinded, hundreds or thousands of participants (the “gold standard” of tests and trials) – give results that are only averages. The techniques will work for some people and not for others. Some experimental subjects will experience side effects to varying degrees. Or not.
The only way to see whether a given treatment works for an individual is for that person to try it. The odds may say it has a better-than-50% chance of working, but until the patient tries it, whether it will work for that one individual is basically a crap-shoot.
I think this may be particularly true of psychotropics. Every time I’ve asked how this or that med works, the answer has been, “We don’t really know.” Factor in the number of different meds I’m on, psychotropic and otherwise, and their potential for interactions with each other, and any new treatment’s effectiveness is likely a matter of trial and error.
I’ve certainly gone through a long, tedious, disappointing (or unpleasant) series of weaning off and ramping up different meds in hopes of mixing just the right cocktail for my particular brain.
I think that’s why they call it “practicing” medicine.