Viibryd (Vilazodone)

Viibryd is the brand name of vilazodone. It is an atypical antidepressant used to treat major depressive disorder, as well as other "off-label" uses. It is not considered to be addictive, however it is possible to develop a dependency on the drug.
Evidence Based
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What is Viibryd?

Viibryd is the brand name for vilazodone, which is an antidepressant medication. It’s in the miscellaneous or atypical antidepressants category, which means it works differently than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Viibryd is approved by the FDA to treat major depressive disorder (MDD). It has other “off-label” uses, too.  

Graphic of 3 different types of medication bottles and pills.

How Fast Does Viibryd Work? 

Sleep, energy, or appetite usually improve within the first 1 to 2 weeks. These are important indications of how well the medicine will work long-term. Mood improvements, lack of interest in activities, and loss of motivation tend to take up to 6 to 8 weeks to improve. 

Graphic human body showing symptoms.

Vilazodone Side Effects

The most common side effects of Viibryd include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Decreased interest in sexual intimacy

Other possible side effects include:

  • Night sweats
  • Tremors
  • Agitation
  • Glaucoma
  • Decreased appetite
  • Migraine headaches
  • Sleepiness
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Restlessness
  • Increased urination
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Racing thoughts

The most serious side effects require medical attention and include:

  • Numbness/tingling
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Weakness
  • Increased risk of bleeding
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Severe mood changes
  • Bloody stools
  • Vomit with a “coffee grounds” appearance
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Eye pain or swelling
  • Seizures
  • Blood pressure changes

If you experience any side effects, allergic reactions, or other unusual changes when taking vilazodone, consult your doctor immediately and follow their medical advice.

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Does Viibryd Cause Weight Gain?

Weight fluctuations are a concern for many antidepressant users. Viibryd is unlikely to cause weight gain or weight loss.

However, weight gain or loss should not be the deciding factor when selecting an antidepressant. Doctors work with patients to find the best option for treating depression based on their overall physical and mental health goals.

Also keep in mind, weight gain or loss when taking an antidepressant might not be due to the drug alone. For example, increased energy and motivation, and improved mood can result in an increase in exercise and activity, causing in weight loss. 

In other cases, improvements might lead to increased appetite or a return to a beloved hobby like cooking or baking. In these cases, weight gain might appear to be a symptom, even though there is no direct link.

It’s important to discuss weight changes and all side effects with a doctor. They will help you take a balanced approach to physical and mental health.

Two pills mixing equals dangerous

Viibryd Risk Factors & Drug Interactions

More than 370 drugs, 107 of which are major, can interact negatively with Viibryd. 

Avoid Viibryd if you have used monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) (linezolid, isocarboxazid, moclobemide, safinamide, phenelzine, rasagiline, procarbazine, tranylcypromine, selegiline, etc.) in the past 14 days or if you have received a methylene blue injection. SSRIs and SSNIs, can interact with Viibryd and increase your risk of serotonin syndrome.

Medications that can have adverse effects when combined with vilazodone include:

  • Triptans (migraine medications)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Fentanyl
  • Lithium
  • Tramadol
  • Tryptophan
  • Buspirone
  • Amphetamines
  • St. John’s Wort
  • NSAIDs
  • Warfarin
  • Diuretics
  • Medications that treat anxiety, mood, psychotic, or thought disorders
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) 
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • Diclofenac
  • Indomethacin
  • Meloxicam
  • Antifungals (fluconazole, ketoconazole, and itraconazole)

Viibryd and Alcohol

You should not drink alcohol if you are taking Viibryd. Though there is no direct interaction between alcohol and vilazodone, alcohol can increase some of the side effects of Viibryd including dizziness, sedation, and difficulty concentrating.

Discuss all medicines you use with your doctor, particularly other antidepressants, anti-anxiety, ADHD, or migraine medications. Include diuretics and blood thinners and other medications that affect blood clots such as aspirin.

Two hands with a heart between them

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Vilazodone?

  • Any current medications (including prescription drugs and over-the-counter, nutritional, or herbal products)
  • Any medications you have previously taken for medical conditions and their positive or adverse effects
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Any other therapies or treatments you are receiving or plan to receive, including psychotherapy or addiction treatment
  • Discuss the symptoms of your condition, including those that bother you the most
  • If you've had harmful or suicidal thoughts
  • Any other physical or mental health problems you have, including bipolar disorder
  • If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant
Viibryd (vilazodone)

For more information see Viibryd's Medication Guide

Graphic of head filled with pills

Is Viibryd Addictive?

Viibryd is not considered addictive, but it is possible to develop dependence. Some people overuse it due to the length of time it takes to see results. It’s important to follow the prescribed dosage directions when taking Viibryd even if it does not seem to be working.

Speak to a healthcare professional if you have questions or concerns about vilazodone drug information including the dosage amount or effectiveness of the drug. An overdose of Viibryd is possible. Overdose symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Headaches coupled with mental confusion
  • High fever
  • Fainting

Withdrawal symptoms can occur after long-term use and stoppage of Viibryd. It is difficult for the brain to function normally when a medication it relies on is suddenly withheld. You should never stop taking the drug without guidance from a doctor. If you intend to stop using Viibryd, your doctor will help you taper its use to avoid withdrawal.

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Addiction Treatment Options

Even those who are taking Viibryd as directed can develop a dependence. Signs of Viibryd dependence include:

  • Loss of interest in life because of focus on the use of the drug
  • Being obsessed with obtaining and taking the drug
  • Taking more than the prescribed dosage of Viibryd
  • Inability to function as a result of a change in dosage

Someone who has developed a dependence on Viibryd should undergo medical detox. Abrupt discontinuation of vilazodone use triggers withdrawal symptoms. Medically assisted detox can help you avoid withdrawal and ease the transition to not using the drug.

Following the detox process, long-term Viibryd users benefit from addiction treatment and rehabilitation. This is true whether Viibryd was used according to a doctor’s guidance or if drug abuse occurred.

Treatment helps those with a Viibryd dependence learn to manage symptoms of co-occurring disorders when the use of the drug is no longer an option.

Viibryd dependence can be treated with inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment. Inpatient rehab programs are an intense, round-the-clock treatment option. Outpatient programs allow someone to work on recovery while also tending to everyday life, including work, school, or home responsibilities.

The best option is determined by the severity of dependence on Viibryd and other factors, including co-occurring disorders and addictions.


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Resources

“Vilazodone Drug Interactions.” Drugs.Com, www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/vilazodone

Cruz, Martin Paspe. “Vilazodone HCl (Viibryd): A Serotonin Partial Agonist and Reuptake Inhibitor For the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder.” P & T : A Peer-Reviewed Journal for Formulary Management, vol. 37, no. 1, 2012, pp. 28–31, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3278186/

“Does Viibryd Cause Weight Loss or Gain? Individual Causes & Factors.” Mental Health Daily, mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/01/21/does-viibryd-cause-weight-loss-or-gain-individual-causes-factors

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Updated on: August 3, 2020
Author
Addiction Group Staff
About
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Medically Reviewed: May 2, 2020
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Annamarie Coy,
BA, CADACII/ICADC, ICPR, MATS
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