Aripiprazole (Abilify) has been accepted for second-line NHS use in adolescents.
The atypical antipsychotic is recommended as an option for the treatment of schizophrenia in patients aged 15–17 years in whom risperidone is contraindicated, not tolerated or does not provide adequate symptom control.
NICE recommended aripiprazole in these circumstances because its efficacy and price are comparable to those of other alternatives to risperidone available on the NHS, but it is less likely to cause weight gain – a particularly troublesome side-effect for adolescents.
Use of aripiprazole in adults with schizophrenia (18 years and older) was not considered in the appraisal. The NICE clinical guideline on schizophrenia covers the management of schizophrenia in this age group.