What Is Viibryd?
Viibryd (vilazodone) is an antidepressant medicine that treats major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults. It is in a class of medications called serotonin modulators.
Viibryd works by increasing the amount of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) in the brain that helps to stabilize mood. Although there are many factors that may influence MDD, it is thought that serotonin imbalance in the brain may play a role. Viibryd blocks the serotonin transporter and stimulates serotonin 5-HT1A receptors to help increase the amount of this substance in the brain.
Viibryd is available via prescription as an oval tablet in 10 milligrams (mg), 20 milligrams, and 40 milligrams.
Generic Name: Vilazodone
Brand Name: Viibryd
Drug Availability: Prescription
Administration Route: Oral
Therapeutic Classification: Antidepressant
Available Generically: No
Controlled Substance: N/A
Active Ingredient: Vilazodone hydrochloride
Dosage Form: Tablet
What Is Viibryd Used For?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Viibryd for treating major depressive disorder in adults.
How to Take Viibryd
Use this medicine exactly as directed by your healthcare provider, usually once a day. Take Viibryd with food, as taking it on an empty stomach can reduce its effectiveness. Follow all the directions on your medicine label and do not take more than prescribed. Your healthcare provider may increase your dose gradually.
Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you do not understand how to take your medication. Do not abruptly stop taking this medication, as it may cause withdrawal effects.
Store Viibryd tablets in a tightly closed container at a controlled room temperature of 59 degrees to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the medication out of the reach of children and pets. When traveling, transport Viibryd in your carry-on or your checked baggage in its container with its original label.
Healthcare providers sometimes prescribe medications for uses other than their FDA-approved indications. This is known as off-label use.
Viibryd may be used off-label to treat generalized anxiety disorder. While this is not an FDA-approved use, and there is no evidence that vilazodone effectively treats this condition, some healthcare providers may still prescribe it. Misusing this medication can result in severe or life-threatening side effects, so make sure that you consult with your healthcare provider on how you should take it.
How Long Does Viibryd Take to Work?
Viibryd enters the bloodstream in a couple of hours and starts working. However, symptoms may not improve for up to several weeks.
What Are the Side Effects of Viibryd?
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.
Common Side Effects
Common side effects of Viibryd can include:
Severe Side Effects
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects can include the following:
The risk of serotonin syndrome increases when taking Viibryd with other serotonergic agents (such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or triptans), but it can also happen when taken by itself. Signs of serotonin syndrome can include:
- Confusion and/or disorientation
- Pressured speech
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Muscle stiffness, particularly in the legs
- Difficulty balancing
Additionally, abruptly discontinuing this medication can cause withdrawal effects, such as:
- Mood swings
- Ringing ears
Viibryd contains a boxed warning, the FDA’s strictest safety label, for its potential to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and young adults. This medication is not approved for use in children. If you or a loved one is taking this medication, keep an eye out for any unusual changes in mood, behavior, or thinking.
Report Side Effects
Viibryd may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).
Dosage: How Much Viibryd Should I Take?
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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
For oral dosage form (tablets):
For treatment of depression:
- Adults—At first, 10 milligrams (mg) as a single dose once a day for 7 days. Then, your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 40 mg per day.
- Children—Use is not recommended.
- For treatment of depression:
In some cases, you may need to modify (change) your treatment regimen or use Viibryd more cautiously.
The risks of taking Viibryd during pregnancy are not fully known. It may be most dangerous when exposure is during the third trimester. Notify your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or may become pregnant while taking this medication.
Viibryd passes into breast milk. However, its effect on milk production in humans is unknown. Therefore, people taking Viibryd are advised to avoid breastfeeding. Notify your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding and would like to continue or start Viibryd.
Viibryd is eliminated primarily by the liver. Healthcare providers may monitor people with liver disease frequently, but no dosage adjustment of Viibryd is necessary. People with kidney disease will not need to adjust their dose either.
If you miss a dose of this medication, take it as soon as you remember. You can skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Resume medication at your next scheduled time. Do not take extra to make up for the missed dose. Call your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are unsure of what to do.
Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Viibryd?
Viibryd overdose can happen if you take too much of it. Overdose symptoms include:
What Happens If I Take Too Much Viibryd?
If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Viibryd, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).
If someone collapses or isn’t breathing after taking Viibryd, call 911 immediately.
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It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to allow for changes in your dose and to help prevent any unwanted effects. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Do not take vilazodone with a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor (eg, isocarboxazid [Marplan®], linezolid [Zyvox®], methylene blue injection, phenelzine [Nardil®], selegiline [Eldepryl®], or tranylcypromine [Parnate®]). Do not start taking vilazodone during the 2 weeks after you stop a MAO inhibitor and wait 2 weeks after stopping vilazodone before you start taking a MAO inhibitor. If you take them together or do not wait 2 weeks, you may develop confusion, agitation, restlessness, stomach or intestinal symptoms, a sudden high body temperature, an extremely high blood pressure, or severe seizures.
Vilazodone may cause some teenagers and young adults to be agitated, irritable, or display other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause some people to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies or to become more depressed. Some people may have trouble sleeping, get upset easily, have a big increase in energy, or start to act reckless. If you or your caregiver notice any of these unwanted effects, tell your doctor right away. Let the doctor know if you or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) or has tried to commit suicide.
Vilazodone may cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome if taken together with some medicines. Do not use vilazodone with buspirone (Buspar®), fentanyl (Abstral®, Duragesic®), lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®), tryptophan, St. John’s wort, amphetamines, or some pain or migraine medicines (eg, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, tramadol, Frova®, Imitrex®, Maxalt®, Relpax®, Ultram®, Check with your doctor first before taking any other medicines with vilazodone.
This medicine may increase your risk for bleeding problems. Make sure your doctor knows if you are also taking other medicines that thin the blood, including aspirin, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents, also called NSAIDs (eg, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil®, Aleve®, Celebrex®, Voltaren®), or warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®).
Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine without checking first with your doctor. If you have been instructed to stop taking vilazodone, ask your doctor how to slowly decrease the dose. This will decrease your chance of having withdrawal symptoms, including dizziness, nausea, headaches, vomiting, increased sweating, irritability, nightmares, seizures, or prickling or tingling feelings.
Hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood) may occur with this medicine. This is more common in elderly patients, those who are taking diuretic medicines for high blood pressure, or those who have decreased amounts of fluid in the body due to severe diarrhea or vomiting. Check with your doctor right away if you have confusion, difficulty concentrating, headaches, memory problems, weakness, and unsteadiness.
The use of alcohol is not recommended in patients who are taking this medicine.
Vilazodone may cause some people to become dizzy or drowsy. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy or not alert.
Check with your doctor right away if you have decreased interest in sexual intercourse, delayed or inability to have an orgasm in women, inability to have or keep an erection in men, or loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance. These could be symptoms of sexual dysfunction.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (eg, St. John’s wort) or vitamin supplements.
What Are the Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Viibryd?
Avoid taking Viibryd if you are allergic to it or any of its components.
Do not use Viibryd at the same time as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), including Zyvox (linezolid) or intravenous methylene blue. Allow at least 14 days after stopping Viibryd before starting an MAOI. This combination could lead to serotonin syndrome.
What Other Medications Interact With Viibryd?
Watch out for these medications when taking Viibryd, as they can affect how it works in the body.
Avoid using Viibryd with an MAOI or within 14 days of starting or stopping an MAOI. The risk of adverse reactions, some of which are life-threatening, is increased when combining these medications with Viibryd. Examples include:
- Marplan (isocarboxazid)
- Parnate (tranylcypromine)
- Zelapar (selegiline)
- Nardil (phenelzine)
- Provayblue (methylene blue)
Because of how Viibryd works and its potential to increase serotonin in the body, you should avoid taking other drugs that affect serotonin. Examples include:
Drugs Associated With the CYP3A4 Enzyme
Metabolism by CYP3A4 is a primary elimination pathway for Viibryd. Using Viibryd with potent inhibitors or inducers of this enzyme can significantly affect its concentrations in the body. Examples include:
- Nizoral (ketoconazole)
- Ery-Tab, Eryped, E.E.S (erythromycin)
- Tagamet HB, Acid Reducer, Heartburn Relief (cimetidine)
Your healthcare provider may change the dose of Viibryd if you have to take them together.
Anticoagulants, Antiplatelets, and NSAIDs
Avoid using Viibryd with anticoagulants, antiplatelets, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as it may increase the risk of bleeding, which can become life-threatening.
This is not a comprehensive list of medications that may affect how Viibryd works. Tell your healthcare provider or pharmacist about all your current medicines and supplements. Some medicines can increase the risk of severe side effects from Viibryd.
What Medications Are Similar?
Medications similar to Viibryd include:
Trazodone is an antidepressant that treats major depressive disorder in adults. It is also used off-label to treat insomnia. It works similarly to Viibryd in that it modulates serotonin in the body. Like Viibryd, it is available in tablet form.
Nefazodone is an antidepressant used to treat major depressive disorder in adults. It works by modulating serotonin and norepinephrine in the body. It is available as a tablet and can be taken with or without food. However, it can cause liver damage, so it is not a great option for people with existing liver issues.
However, it is currently unavailable in the United States.
Vortioxetine is an antidepressant used to treat major depressive disorder in adults. It is available as a tablet, just like Viibryd. It works by modulating serotonin in the body and can be taken with or without food.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Viibryd Used For?
How long does it take Viibryd to work?
You may start to see an improvement in your depression symptoms a few weeks after starting Viibryd. It is essential to be patient when taking this medication and discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.
How do I safely stop taking Viibryd?
Do not stop taking Viibryd without first talking with your healthcare provider. Abruptly stopping this medication may cause withdrawal effects like irritability, agitation, dizziness, anxiety, confusion, headache, weakness, mood swings, insomnia, ringing ears, and seizures.
How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Viibryd?
There are many paths to managing depression; antidepressant medications are one of the viable ways to treat this disease. Viibryd plays a vital role in treating major depressive disorder in adults.
Your healthcare provider may start this medication at a lower dose and increase it weekly. When taking Viibryd, depression symptoms may not improve for several weeks. It is essential to be patient when taking this medication and discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.
These are some of the most important tips to remember when taking Viibryd:
- Avoid drinking alcohol or operating heavy machinery (including cars) until you know how this medication will affect you. Viibryd can make you drowsy.
- Do not stop taking it abruptly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your healthcare provider before stopping the medicine.
- Do not use this medicine to treat any condition your healthcare provider has not checked.
- If you have trouble remembering to take this medication as prescribed, consider setting alarms on your phone or calendar.
As with any medication, ask your healthcare provider any questions you may have. This could be the healthcare provider who prescribed this medication or your local pharmacist. They are available to help you.
Verywell Health’s drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.