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Q. Aripiprazole for OCD causes sleepy feel. Please suggest medicine to increase alertness.

Answered by
Dr. Ravi M Soni
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Jan 24, 2020

Hello doctor,

I have taken Fluoxetine 80 mg for refractory OCD for about six years now, obsessions are 90 percent controlled so I am not currently taking it now. But sometimes I have mood fluctuations also so currently I have started Aripiprazole 20 mg. The problem is that I feel sleepy in the day. My friends say that I am not alert. I am preparing for pg exam. What should I do now? Can I take Modafinil to increase my alertness and cognition? I want to increase my performance also. Please help.

Dr. Ravi M Soni

Geriatrics Psychiatry Psychologist/ Counsellor Sexology


Welcome to

I read your query and understood your concerns.

First of all, why have you stopped Fluoxetine? Who advised that? Were you seeing a psychiatrist? Who has advised Aripiprazole? Do you have any improvement in your mood fluctuations from it?

Aripiprazole as such does not cause sedation and excessive sleep. It is usually an activating drug. Are you taking any other drug or Benzodiazepine?

To increase alertness, one can take Modafinil but daily intake is not recommended. It can be used on as and when required basis. Nowadays lots of students do this and take for a long time, but as a doctor, I would not recommend that. Instead, you can have activating antidepressant like Bupropion which also increases concentration. Another option is Atomoxetine.

Revert with answers.

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Thank you doctor,

My doctor advised me to stop Fluoxetine. Truly speaking I have only little improvement by Aripiprazole in my symptoms. Sometimes I feel more talkative. Please suggest me a better drug. If I take 100 mg Modafinil for two months are there any side effects?

Dr. Ravi M Soni

Geriatrics Psychiatry Psychologist/ Counsellor Sexology


Welcome back to

It is good that you are visiting a psychiatrist. Aripiprazole usually does not cause sedation. Other mood stabilizers have sedative properties and will cause you more sedation like Sodium valproate, Carbamazepine, Oxcarbazepine, etc. In my opinion, you should continue Aripiprazole and increase the caffeine intake by taking more tea and coffee during the day time.

You need to make some dietary modifications like avoiding rice and heavy lunch in the day time. Meals should be more but in small quantities. Take more fruits and eggs. Avoid food with excess oil, butter, cheese, etc.

Modafinil can be taken for a long time but it has many side effects like headache, nausea, restlessness, diarrhea, anxiety symptoms, dizziness, dry mouth, decreased appetite, etc. These are the common side effects. So, you have not many options left apart from Aripiprazole, so I would advise you to continue the same and take Modafinil for increasing alertness but before that, you must try taking more tea and coffee and see its effects.

I hope this helps.

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