What’s the top-selling drug in the United States?
Prozac? Viagra? Maybe something for heart disease?
The answer is actually Abilify (aripiprazole)
, a powerful antipsychotic designed to treat severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but now, Abilify is also widely prescribed for depression, and the FDA can't explain how it works.
Psychotic illness is considered to be caused by disturbances in the activity of neurotransmitters (mainly dopamine) in the brain. Abilify
acts as a partial agonist to dopamine receptors, rather than a full agonist like previous antipsychotic drugs. it has been proposed that the efficacy of aripiprazole is mediated through a combination of partial agonist activity at dopamine D2 and serotonin 5-HT1A receptors and antagonist activity at serotonin 5-HT2A receptors.
ads promote the drug as a supplement to other anti-depressants.
Americans spent over $7.5 billion on the drug between October 2013 and September 2014, more than all other major antidepressants combined.