I had been on Zyprexa (5mg) and Depakote (1000 mg) for close to ten years. I was scared to switch the Zyprexa to Abilify, but I thought I would share will all of you what the experience has been like.
During the ten year period (1997-2007) I have been stable. 1995 and 1996 were lost years to me because of Bipolar I.
For the past two weeks I took all three drugs, starting Abilfy at 5 mg. The intermix was not pleasant, my moods were up and down. And during day four I had a low level manic spark during which I had a severe case of road rage and literally wanted to rip the eyeballs out of some motorists. Normally, these things don't bother me. During day six, I just wanted to punch things and people for no reason. It's a shame that you can't take a week or two off work for a major drug switch like this.
Finally the shrink let me back out the zyprexa and things started to settle down. I am now completely off Zyprexa and am only taking Abilify and Depakote.
The pure Abilify feels like a mild ecstasy. Not manic. But deeply calm and serene. In the afternoons I get drowsy and need a nap, but overall the earlier manic symptoms have disappeared. Wed night I had to speak in public and I felt like a bit of a zombie, but I have hope that this feeling will pass, with some time.
A bizarre rash, which I had for years on my back cleared up in about two days after leaving Zyprexa behind. I still need to talk to the shrink about this. Dunno.
No strange dreams, but I wake up earlier and periodically through the night.
On the whole the experience is scary to leave a tested, trusted friend that had worked for so long and switch to something else, but I have hope and faith that everything will be okay.
Sincerely, thank you to all of you who have offered good counsel, wisdom and shared your experiences.