What To Know About Viibryd (Vilazodone)

An Antidepressant Used to Treat Major Depressive Disorder

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Viibryd (the generic form is called vilazodone) is an antidepressant commonly used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD). It belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Viibryd is available in the form of oral tablets.

The exact way Viibryd helps to treat depression is unclear, but it's believed to help regulate the serotonin levels in your brain, which can help manage depressive symptoms.

Uses 

Viibryd is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of depression. It is specifically used to treat symptoms of major depressive disorder.

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder is a condition that causes a person to persistently experience low moods and feelings of sadness and despair.

Those dealing with MDD could also feel a decreased interest in activities they used to enjoy, a lack of energy, insomnia, guilt, and in severe cases, suicidal thoughts.

Off-Label Uses 

Even though it isn’t approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of anxiety disorders, some research shows that Viibryd is effective in treating generalized anxiety disorder. So, in some cases, doctors may prescribe Viibryd and an off-label treatment for anxiety.

Before Taking 

The active ingredient in Viibryd is vilazodone. Before taking Viibryd, you should let your doctor know if you have any allergic reactions to it.

Also, go through the list of inactive ingredients with your doctor to make sure that you aren’t allergic to any of them. Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the tongue, throat, or Face

Viibryd is typically not prescribed to children under the age of 18 because of potential to develop adverse effects. However, in some cases, your doctor might decide that that’s the best course of treatment for your child. 

Before taking, tell your doctor if you are on any other medication. Taking medications like monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), alongside or shortly before starting Viibryd could cause some serious adverse effects.

If You Are Pregnant

If you are pregnant or suspect you are pregnant you should share this with your doctor before taking Viibryd especially if you are in the last trimester of your pregnancy as this medication can be dangerous for you and your baby. If you become pregnant while you are already on Viibryd, you should let your doctor know.

Precautions and Contraindications 

Teenagers and young adults under the age of 24 have been reported to experience an increase in suicidal thoughts when using antidepressants like Viibryd.

If you notice any of the following signs, like trouble sleeping, sudden changes in mood and behaviors, aggressive behaviors, irritability, and panic attacks, you should inform your doctor immediately.

  • For Those With Bipolar Disorder: For people who are also living with bipolar disorder, using Viibryd might increase the likelihood of a manic episode occurring. Viibryd should be used with caution by people who are prone to seizures. While extensive research hasn’t been conducted into how the medication might affect them, some antidepressants have been linked to worsened seizures.
  • For Those With Methemoglobinemia: Methemoglobinemia is a disorder which causes high levels of methemoglobin in your blood. This results in a reduction in the amount of oxygen being delivered to your cells. Viibryd is contraindicated with intravenous (IV) methylene blue (used to treat methemoglobinemia) and causes an increased risk of developing serotonin syndrome.
  • Other Medications: Other drugs such as stimulant medication, herbal products, other antidepressants, medications for Parkinson’s disease, headaches, and serious infections might contraindicate with Viibryd and cause serotonin syndrome.

Dosage 

Your doctor will consider a couple of things before deciding on which dosage of Viibryd is best for you. They will consider the severity of your condition and symptoms, your response to and tolerance to the medication, your medical history, and other medications, vitamins, and supplements you might be taking. 

Most people are likely to be started on a low dose, which is gradually increased as your doctor observes your tolerance for the medication and the rate of improvement of your condition. According to the manufacturer, Viibryd comes in varying milligram (mg) strengths:

  • 10 mg
  • 20 mg
  • 40 mg

The manufacturer does recommend a standard dosage for treating major depressive disorder: 10 mg a day is recommended for 7 days, after which your dosage might be increased to 20 milligrams a day. As your progress is monitored, your dosage might be increased to 40 mg a day or maintained at 20 mg per day.

Modifications 

People who are also taking CYP3A4 inhibitors like ketoconazole should not be given a dosage that exceeds 20 milligrams a day. CYP3A4 is an enzyme in your body which is responsible for the efficient metabolism of many medications. CYP3A4 inhibitors block their metabolic activities.

Also, people on medications like erythromycin, which is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections and inhibits CYP3A4 receptors, might experience more severe side effects when using Viibryd. If this occurs, the dose is typically reduced to 20 milligrams a day.

How to Take and Store 

Viibryd is typically prescribed to be taken once a day with food. You should try to take Viibryd at the same time every day to form a habit so that you don’t miss a dose.

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you are unsure about what to do, then read your prescription label or reach out to your doctor.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you only remember at the time of your next dose, you should not take a double dose.

Store this medication at room temperature and keep it away from excessive heat or moisture. 

Side Effects

You might feel some side effects while using Viibryd. While they are typically mild, they could sometimes be severe. If they are severe, your doctor may prescribe a lower dose or discontinue your use of the medication.

Common

Some common side effects people who use Viibryd might experience include: 

  • Dizziness 
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Decreased libido 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Flatulence 
  • Changes in appetite 

In most cases, these side effects will reduce with time. If you have any worries about the side effects you are experiencing or think they might be worsening, speak to your doctor. 

Severe

In rare cases, people using Viibryd might experience more severe side effects such as: 

  • Tremors 
  • Numbness
  • Extreme fatigue 
  • Confusion 
  • Irregular heartbeats 
  • Heartburn 
  • Pain or tingling in the hands or feet 
  • Seizures 
  • Nosebleeds 
  • Memory problems 

Warnings and Interactions 

It's important that you continue your medication, even if you think you no longer need it. Stopping the use of this medication abruptly might cause you to develop withdrawal symptoms like seizures, headaches, fatigue, and mood swings.

If you are asked to stop taking Viibryd and begin feeling any withdrawal symptoms, bring it to the attention of your doctor. 

You shouldn’t drive or use heavy machinery after using this drug as in some cases it might make you feel dizzy and drowsy and alter the way you think. You should also avoid drinking alcohol when using this medication. Alcohol might make you feel dizzy, and drowsy.

In certain cases, Viibryd might cause a condition known as angle-closure glaucoma. This causes the fluid coming out of your eyes to become blocked and increases the pressure in your eyes, which might cause a loss of vision. 

It's always important to supply your doctor with a list of every other medication, vitamins, or supplements you are currently taking, because some might interact adversely with Viibryd, reduce the effectiveness of the medication, or cause you to experience more severe side effects. 

Studies show that Viibryd, can cause an increase in suicidal thoughts and actions in children and young adults who are below 24. Any signs of anxiety, restlessness, sudden mood changes and insomnia could be indicative of suicidal feelings. If you suspect you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, speak to your healthcare provider about it.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

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Article Sources
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