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What is Rexulti Approved to Treat?
Rexulti (brexpiprazole) is an atypical antipsychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia symptoms and major depressive disorder. Rexulti was approved to treat these conditions by the FDA in 2015. Brexpiprazole is a serotonin-dopamine activity modulator (SDAM) and is effective at improving symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized speech patterns.
Your doctor will typically start you on a lower dose and gradually increase your dosage over time until you reach the target dose set out by your treatment plan. Rexulti is considered a second-generation antipsychotic, which means it has an improved clinical profile with fewer side effects. Still, you should be aware of common and severe side effects that may occur with Rexulti. Read on to learn about the possible side effects of Rexulti. 
Common Side Effects of Rexulti
Taking Rexulti may cause you to be more impulsive and increase the frequency of certain urges, including sexual urges and the desire to gamble. Additionally, common side effects of Rexulti include restlessness, weight gain, and dizziness. If these side effects worsen, or if you begin to experience anxiety, panic attacks, irritation, or other behavioral changes, speak with your doctor. 
You should also contact your healthcare provider if you develop serious side effects like a seizure or signs of a blood clot. Signs of a blood clot include sudden numbness, vision or speech problems, and swelling or redness in an arm or leg. Other serious side effects of Rexulti include:
- Uncontrolled muscle movements such as frowning, blinking, eye movements, chewing, and lip-smacking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Intolerance to heat
- Signs of high blood sugar (increased thirst and urination, dry mouth, fruity odor in breath)
- Low white blood cell count, indicated by fever, mouth sores, skin sores, cough, and sore throat
- Signs of a nervous system reaction, including rigid muscles, high fever, sweating, tremors, and fast or uneven heartbeats 
Possible Severe Side Effects
Although Rexulti is effective at improving symptoms of schizophrenia, one of its biggest drawbacks is the risk of abnormal muscle conditions like extrapyramidal disease and tardive dyskinesia. These conditions often start in the mouth and spread to other areas of the body, causing uncontrollable tremors, stiffness, and jerky movements. 
Brexpiprazole may also increase the risk of women losing their period and producing breast milk, as well as men losing their sex drive and erectile function. This is because brexpiprazole may increase the levels of a hormone called prolactin in the bloodstream. Over time, elevated prolactin can also cause osteoporosis, a bone loss condition that increases the risk of bone fractures. 
Risk of Death
Rexulti has been linked to an increased risk of death in elderly patients with dementia. As a second-generation antipsychotic, Rexulti is associated with a higher risk of strokes and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). All antipsychotic medications have been associated with arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) and sudden cardiac death.
To reduce the risk of death, your doctor will likely prescribe the smallest effective dose so that the benefits outweigh the risks. Additionally, you may be required to regularly attend checkups to monitor for an irregular heartbeat. 
Antipsychotic medications are known to cause a sedation effect due to a drop in blood pressure. This may make driving, certain sports (like mountain climbing or biking), and operating heavy machinery dangerous. Certain health conditions may worsen the light-headedness caused by Rexulti, which may lead to falls and severe injuries. Make sure you know how your body reacts to brexpiprazole before driving and resuming your everyday activities. 
Rexulti Drug Interactions
Drug interactions may worsen Rexulti side effects, so it is important to inform your doctor of the medications you are taking before starting treatment. The most severe known interactions include bupropion, duloxetine, hydroxyzine, and lamotrigine. Other possible interactions include:
Some interactions lead to adverse effects by reducing the efficacy of Rexulti. Other interactions worsen the side effects of Rexulti by affecting how it interacts with your body. For a full list of known Rexulti drug interactions, ask your doctor. 
Who Should Not Take Rexulti?
Patients under the age of 18 should not take Rexulti. You should also not use Rexulti if you are allergic to brexpiprazole. Allergic reactions to this medication can cause swelling of the face and difficulty breathing. If you are pregnant, inform your doctor right away. Taking Rexulti in the last three months of pregnancy may lead to health complications in the newborn.
If you have ever had diabetes, liver or kidney disease, high cholesterol or blood pressure, and a history of heart attack or stroke, Rexulti may not be suitable for you. Rexulti may cause suicidal thoughts in some patients, so your doctor may order regular visits to check up on your mood. 
The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.