What is Viibryd (Vilazodone): Uses, Dosage, Interactions, & Side Effects

July 9, 2021

Viibryd is a prescription medication that goes by the generic name Vilazodone. It belongs to a class of medications known as atypical antidepressants, meaning it does not work in the same way as most other antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) or tricyclics.

Viibryd (Vilazodone) is an SSRI / 5-HT1A Partial Agonist. This means that it works like a normal SSRI and helps to increase the abundance of serotonin in the brain. But it also activates the 5-HT1A receptor found in the brain, spleen, and kidney. This receptor is believed to help bind serotonin, and dysregulation of this receptor is linked to depression and related mood disorders.

Viibryd comes in a tablet form that is to be swallowed once daily.

If you’re thinking about taking Viibryd for your depression, it’s important to have some background information before speaking to your doctor so you can better understand the advantages and drawbacks. Here is everything you need to know.

Viibryd (Vilazodone) for Depression

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions in the country, estimated to affect seven percent of the adult population every single year. People with depression experience both physical and emotional symptoms that impact how they feel, think, and act.

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling sadness or hopeless
  • Outbursts of anger or irritation
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in everyday activities
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Slower thinking
  • Change in appetite
  • Anxiety or restlessness

Over a long-term study, it was found that Viibryd was an effective treatment for major depression as opposed to a placebo. Additionally, it is believed that Viibryd has a faster onset of action, greater efficacy, and better tolerability than comparative medications. While the same study failed to prove these speculations, it warrants consideration.

Viibryd (Vilazodone) for Anxiety

Viibryd is approved by the FDA to treat major depressive disorder. While it is not approved to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), it may be appropriate for off-label usage.

Generalized anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder marked by persistent feelings of fear or worry. One double blind trial used Viibryd to treat individuals with GAD and found that it was much more effective than a placebo at alleviating some of the symptoms.

Additionally, there is some consideration for using Viibryd as a treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), an anxiety disorder marked by intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and ritualistic behaviors (compulsions). 

Viibryd (Vilazodone) Dosage

Viibryd is typically taken once a day with food. It’s likely that you’ll start out at a low dose that gradually increases over time. With that said, the average dose for Viibryd falls between 20 mg and 40 mg. This is a lower dose than many other antidepressants.

If you miss a dose of Viibryd, try to take it as soon as you remember unless it is too close to the time of your next dose. Don’t double your dose or take extra doses to make up for forgotten ones.

Missing doses can decrease the efficacy of this medication, so try to use a calendar, pillbox, or phone reminder to keep track of your doses. If you miss more than three days of your medication, contact your doctor. They may need to alter your dose.

Viibryd (Vilazodone) Side Effects

Antidepressant medications run the risk of causing some side effects. There are some common potential side effects of Viibryd that include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dry mouth

Serious side effects are uncommon, but still possible. The FDA has included a boxed warning on Viibryd for individuals 24 years or younger, stating that it may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Other serious side effects include night sweats, decreased appetite, migraines, tremors, blurred vision, and sexual dysfunction. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor.

Since Viibryd affects the levels of serotonin in your body, it also has the potential to cause serotonin syndrome. Although rare, this occurs when medications raise the levels of serotonin in your body to an excessive degree. Symptoms include headache, confusion, dilated pupils, and restlessness.

Do not stop taking Viibryd abruptly, as it can lead to a withdrawal syndrome marked by headaches, irritation, aggression, or nausea. Talk to your doctor and be sure to gradually decrease your dosage over time.

Viibryd (Vilazodone) Drug Interactions

As with any antidepressant medication, there are possible interactions between Viibryd and other drugs. Talk to your doctor before taking any medication, vitamin, or supplement alongside Viibryd.

One of the main types of medications to avoid while using Viibryd are monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). This can lead to potentially serious rises in blood pressure and increase the risk of developing serotonin syndrome. Stop taking MAOIs at least two weeks before taking Viibryd.

There are also some medications that might increase the levels and effects of Viibryd. These include antibiotics, antifungals, blood pressure medication, and HIV medication. Additionally, blood thinning medications such as aspirin should not be taken with Viibryd.

Drinking alcohol while taking antidepressants can increase depressive symptoms, therefore making the medication ineffective. On top of that, medications such as Viibryd can enhance the effects of alcohol, making you feel more impaired than usual.

In Conclusion

Viibryd (Vilazodone) is a prescription antidepressant that is classified as an SSRI / 5-HT1A drug. This means that it works as an SSRI, blocking the reabsorption of serotonin into the synapses of the brain. However, it also regulates the 5-HT1A receptors that are believed to bind with serotonin.

It is approved by the FDA to treat depression, and it has shown efficacy in doing so. It is also used off-label to treat anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Viibryd is given in smaller doses than most other antidepressants, with maximum doses typically not exceeding 40 mg. With that said, it can still produce some side effects such as nausea and diarrhea.

Taking Viibryd alongside other medications can cause adverse effects. It should be avoided with MAOIs, blood pressure medications, and blood thinners.

If depression or anxiety is making you feel down and not like yourself, medication can be a safe and effective option.

YANA Mental Health can get you on the path to recovery by pairing you with a doctor who will develop a personalized treatment plan that’s right for you. If prescribed, medication will be sent straight to your door — quickly and discreetly. 

YANA provides quality mental healthcare on your terms, at your own pace. Click here to learn more about the YANA difference.

Sources:

5-HT1A receptors in mood and anxiety: recent insights into autoreceptor versus heteroreceptor function | NCBI

Vilazodone for the Treatment of Depression: An Update | NCBI

Vilazodone in patients with generalized anxiety disorder: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, flexible-dose study | NCBI

Medication For OCD | Louisville OCD Clinic

Serotonin syndrome – Symptoms and causes | The Mayo Clinic

Vilazodone (Viibryd) | National Alliance on Mental Illness