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Vraylar Withdrawal Help, Side Effects, Symptoms, Treatment

This entry was posted in Antipsychotic on by .

Last Updated on March 9, 2021 by Carol Gillette

Medical Review Icon

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Written by Diane Ridaeus Published May 27, 2020
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

While drugmakers use slick ads and demonstrate a disturbingly cavalier attitude toward blockbuster drugs like Vraylar (cariprazine), medical school leaves physicians completely in the dark as to how to help someone through Vraylar withdrawal safely.

The atypical antipsychotic drug Vraylar is heavily marketed for the treatment of ALL forms of bipolar, as a type of antidepressant/mood regulator. Antipsychotics are NOT in the same class as antidepressants and are by far more difficult to taper from, despite a person’s intense desire for relief from the horrific side effects.

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Alternative to Meds has helped thousands of clients navigate antipsychotic withdrawal and other drugs for 15+ years. We have published evidence demonstrating our success. In the main, physicians are allowed and even encouraged to ignore testing for underlying issues and medical conditions but to opt for a hasty prescription choice. This commonly hangs the patient in a misdiagnosed condition, followed by years of negative consequences. The Alternative to Meds center designs each program to address these critical issues. Alternative treatments can provide methods to regain your quality of life and attain better mental health naturally.

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Vraylar Side Effects

In several 3-week trials, 12% of the participants dropped out due to adverse side effects of Vraylar. According to the FDA,1 and like all of the antipsychotic drugs, Vraylar comes with a significant load of potential risks and warnings (including the black-box warnings) under the umbrella of Vraylar side effects. The FDA reports that “late-occurring” adverse effects can begin well after 3 or 6 weeks. One becomes curious as to the absence of long-term testing before giving the green light to market a potentially ruinous drug. Vraylar suppresses dopamine, leaving the person in an emotionally and mentally bankrupt condition not to mention the physical discomforts that go along with this drug.

In truth, there are too many to list here in the complete form. However, a sample of these Vraylar side effects follows, with a brief description for better understanding:

  • NMS, or Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome that is potentially fatal, linked with all antipsychotic meds. Most often occurs after starting the drug, or after increasing the dosage. The drug dismantles the autonomic systems in the body. Autonomic systems are the involuntary ones and include breathing, heartbeat, vital organs, digestion, body temperature, etc. that are vital to life.
  • Tardive Dyskinesia, a condition that is usually irreversible and results in involuntary muscle movements in the face, jaw, mouth, tongue, and other parts of the body.
  • Diabetes Mellitus, a condition where insulin production is impaired, leading to uncontrolled high blood sugar and other negative consequences, including weight gain, heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, nerve damage, etc.
  • Leukopenia is a lowering of white blood cells. These are normally the cells that fight off infections and pathogens. Antipsychotics and chemotherapy are two known causes of leukopenia. This can lead to other conditions such as cancers and other diseases. The recommended “cure” for leukopenia is to stop whatever is lowering the white blood count (WBC) levels.
  • Seizures
  • Orthostatic Hypotension, a sudden increase in blood pressure when the person stands up. The stress on the heart can be severe, resulting in a stroke, heart attack, liver failure, and other negative health impacts.
  • Lowering of cognitive and motor performance, which means a degree of disability in decision-making, problem-solving, remembering, ability to handle machinery, slurred or difficult speech, impaired body movements, blunted expression of emotions, etc.
  • An Infant can experience Vraylar withdrawal symptoms where the mother has taken the medication through the pregnancy. See below for a description of Vraylar withdrawal symptoms. In rats, the drug was present in the mother’s milk. In rabbits, 1st generation pups had cold, pale bodies, and males had sluggish startle response and other under-developments. These symptoms reappeared in 2nd generation pups.
  • Death – Dementia patients should not be prescribed Vraylar due to the heightened risk of death.
  • Akathisia, 11% of patients in a 3-week trial developed akathisia (extreme restlessness)
  • Cardiac disorders, such as tachycardia (racing heartbeat at rest)
  • Musculoskeletal and tissue disorders, pain, neck or other muscle group spasms and contractions
  • Pain, back pain, headache, pain in the extremities
  • Sleep issues, Insomnia, somnolence (sleepiness during waking hours)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders like vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain
  • and many others.1

Understanding Vraylar Withdrawal Symptoms

Antipsychotic withdrawal symptoms are notoriously difficult to tolerate. Therefore, without constant and careful assistance, the process often results in repeated hospitalizations. This is due to the extreme reactions and impacts on the person. Drugmakers state they don’t know how these drugs work, but sell them anyway after a few 6-week long drug trials.

However, studies have shown that antipsychotics like Vraylar target certain key receptors in the CNS. These are the areas that transport (or block) essential hormones and neurotransmitters needed for life to function. The effects that a person experiences on a Vraylar withdrawal program come about, at least in part, due to the deficient and dysfunctional state of the CNS that the drug has left in its wake.

There are other factors that can contribute to the severity of Vraylar withdrawal symptoms. There may be a history of poor diet, where the affected neurochemistry continues to be nutritionally starved, and thus degrades. A person taking antipsychotics commonly relies on stimulants to feel any pleasure and interest in life. This can create another dependence issue. Also of concern, is ignoring whatever medical or other underlying factors were present when mania or other mental health events occurred. These likely remain both undiscovered and untreated unless specifically addressed. However, this is always done at Alternative to Meds Center for Vraylar withdrawal.

Common Vraylar Withdrawal Symptoms

The FDA drug label contains zero information on Vraylar withdrawal symptoms. Studies and clinical trials help fill in some information.2 For your info, below you will find some important data to know.

  • Abruptly stopping antipsychotic drugs often results in psychosis returning, often more intense than what was experienced before treatment began. This can include hallucinations, delusions, mania, hearing voices, catatonia, etc.2
  • Common Vraylar withdrawal symptoms also include physical adverse effects, like nausea, insomnia, akathisia, tardive dyskinesia, etc.

Mitigating Vraylar Withdrawal Symptoms While Tapering

Clearly, each individual is unique and unlike any other complex and beautiful expression of creation. There is no cookie-cutter approach guaranteeing the best results. However, Alternative to Meds Center has devised a palette of comprehensive testing and other assessments before starting any titration program. These test results and of course interviews with the client will inform their best pathway forward.

vraylar dopamine deficiencyNonetheless, we can say that in general, the slow road is the best road when it comes to antipsychotics. This type of drug is primarily dopaminergic. Vraylar starves the CNS of dopamine. The body responds to this starvation by building more dopamine receptors, just as when the temperature goes up, you get thirsty. The body gets “thirsty” for dopamine. So, now when you stop the drug, there can be a great surge of dopamine and an increase in the intensity of the effect. And that can cause psychosis and other overstimulation type reactions that typically are associated with abrupt Vraylar withdrawal. These risks are also associated with so-called “rapid detox” which we do NOT recommend as it places too much risk, even when comfort drugs temporarily mask the after-effects. Switching medications can be useful in some instances, but must be done extremely cautiously, with absolutely 24/7 monitoring for safely.

The process must be, in a sense, micro-managed as making small and precise tweaks can be way more effective than relying on a mathematical “formula” that just won’t fit every person, on any given day or hour. The center has had great success in softening Vraylar withdrawal symptoms using a strategic and exacting approach.

Other Methods Used In Vraylar Tapering

getting off vraylarCorrecting the diet is also of great importance during tapering from Vraylar, and any drug for that matter.3 Over time, perhaps through bad eating habits and also the quest for stimulants like sugar and caffeine, the body can become depleted of what it needs for normalizing neurochemistry.

Testing shows where the deficiencies are, so they can be corrected with proper diet and food-grade supplements. Also, the presence of neurotoxins can skew a person’s biochemistry to the point where the person is actually symptomatic from accumulated poisons, rather than suffering from some mental disorder. All of these things are checked and corrected. Removal of neurotoxic accumulations in the body provides great relief for many, who report feeling calmer but higher energy, more focused, more interested in life, better mood, better sleep, and many other benefits from this alone.

For More Information on Vraylar Tapering

Please contact us at Alternative to Meds Center for more details on the programs we offer, how we use testing to develop the individual’s treatment plan, and other treatments we offer to soften the process. Vraylar withdrawal does not have to be another nightmare, and we would be happy to discuss alternatives when you call.


1. FDA label Vraylar [INTERNET] [cited 2020 May 27]

2. Keks N, Schwartz D, Hope J, “Stopping and switching antipsychotic drugs.” Australian Prescriber [INTERNET] 2019 Oct [cited 2020 May 27]

3. Medline.gov, “Substance use recovery and diet.” US National Library of Medicine, N.D. [cited 2020 May 27]



This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Vraylar Withdrawal Help, Side Effects, Symptoms, Treatment
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