Published: 7 September 2017


Aripiprazole and Impulse Control Disorders

Prescriber Update 38(3): 34
September 2017

In the previous edition of Prescriber Update, the association between impulse control disorders and the use of dopaminergic medicines was discussed1. Aripiprazole (currently available in New Zealand as Abilify tablets) is a novel antipsychotic medicine with partial dopamine agonist activity. Impulse control disorders have also been associated with the use of aripiprazole.

The New Zealand data sheet for Abilify was recently updated to include information on pathological gambling and impulse-control disorders2.

Although impulse control disorders can be associated with the underlying disorder for which treatment with aripiprazole was initiated, in some cases impulsive urges were reported to have stopped when the dose was reduced or the medicine discontinued2.

The Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) recently received a case report concerning a 39-year-old male who developed compulsive gambling one month after changing from risperidone to aripiprazole. At the time of reporting, he was being changed back to risperidone and the outcome of stopping aripiprazole was not yet known.

  1. Medsafe. 2017. Dopamine Agonists and Impulse Control Disorders. Prescriber Update 38(2): 25. URL: (accessed 12 July 2017)
  2. Pharmacy Retailing (NZ) Ltd. 2016. Abilify Data Sheet. 28 September 2016. URL: (accessed 12 July 2017).
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