One of the biggest outlays for the Medicare program overall was the antipsychotic drug, Abilify, which cost Medicare more than $2.5 billion in 2014. The annual spending on the drug added up to more than $6,000 a year per beneficiary, but the average portion borne by the patient was $552 a year. The vast majority of the people taking the drug, who were on a low-income subsidy, would pay even less: $20 a year.

Aripiprazole, sold under the brand name Abilify among others, is an atypical antipsychotic. It is recommended and primarily used in the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.[5] Other uses include as an add-on treatment inmajor depressive disorder, tic disorders, and irritability associated with autism.[6] According to a Cochrane review, evidence for the oral form in schizophrenia is not sufficient to determine effects on general functioning.[7] Additionally, because many people dropped out of the medication trials before they were completed, the overall strength of the conclusions is low.[7]

Side effects include neuroleptic malignant syndrome, a movement disorder known as tardive dyskinesia, and high blood sugar in those with diabetes.[5] In the elderly there is an increased risk of death.[5] It is thus not recommended for use in those with psychosis due to dementia.[5] It is pregnancy category C in the United States and category C in Australia, meaning there is possible evidence of harm to the fetus.[5][8] It is not recommended for women who are breastfeeding.[5] It is unclear whether it is safe or effective in people less than 18 years old.[5]

It is a partial dopamine agonist. Aripiprazole was developed by Otsuka in Japan. In the United States, Otsuka Americamarkets it jointly with Bristol-Myers Squibb. From April 2013 to March 2014, sales of Abilify amounted to almost $6.9 billion.

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