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Viibryd Uses. What Is Vilazodone Mechanism Of Action?

viibryd uses

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Viibryd is a medication often prescribed in the United States. While the primary vilazodone use is the treatment of major depressive disorder, some doctors go off-label and prescribe it for other conditions. Here is what patients need to understand about the various vilazodone hydrochloride uses.

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Learn About Viibryd Uses And MOA:

Viibryd For Depression

Viibryd medication falls into the drug class of antidepressants – specifically, SRIs. It is cleared by the FDA strictly for the treatment of major depressive disorder. In this treatment, it is considered a safe and effective option.

However, vilazodone is not suited to treating all forms of depression. For mild to moderate depression, the most common forms of the disorder, its effects have not even been studied. It has also not been studied in the treatment of depression combined with mania, also known as bipolar disorder.

When compared to other forms of depression treatment, it is generally equally effective in major depressive disorder. However, Viibryd sexual side effects and other symptoms of use may mean that other medications are better suited to the patient. Even when it is determined that vilazodone is the best medication for a given person, it should be used with caution.

Viibryd Off-Label Uses

While they are not among the vilazodone indications, the medication can be used to treat other conditions. These are called off-label Viibryd uses because they have yet to be given FDA approval. In some cases, these vilazodone hydrochloride uses may not have been studied in an official capacity. Instead, doctors prescribe them for these uses based on past observations by themselves and their colleagues or because other drugs within the serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been shown to treat these conditions.

If anyone is prescribed vilazodone for off-label uses, they should discuss with their doctor if there is an FDA-approved medication that would be better suited to the condition. Different applications require different Viibryd dosing, and given the limited or lack of studies, there are significant risks.

Viibryd For Anxiety

The most common off-label use for vilazodone is the treatment of anxiety. Limited studies seem to show that adults with generalized anxiety disorder who are given the drug can see improvement. However, this is limited strictly to GAD and cannot be extrapolated to other forms of anxiety, such as social anxiety.

Viibryd For OCD

A less-common vilazodone use is the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. However, this has not been well-studied at this time. This means that there could be unknown risks in its use. Users should weigh this when considering a use not part of the vilazodone indications.

when to take Viibryd

When To Take Viibryd: Morning Or Night

No matter the vilazodone hydrochloride use the medication is prescribed for, it should be taken according to the directions of the prescribing doctor. Long-term vilazodone use is acceptable if the doctor deems it so.

Common instructions for taking the drug are:

  • Take the medication only once per day.
  • When taking it, wait until after eating at least a small amount of food.
  • Always take the medication at the same time of day.
  • If a dose is missed, take it as soon as it is noticed unless it is close to the time for the next dose.
  • Never double up on doses.
  • Do not stop taking the drug suddenly, as this can cause unintended side effects.

The correct time of day for taking the medication may depend on what vilazodone is used for. For example, someone treating anxiety that manifests most often at night might choose to take it after dinner, while someone treating OCD might want to take it after breakfast. Ultimately, this decision should be made with input from the prescribing doctor.

Viibryd Mechanism Of Action

Like most antidepressant medications, the exact manner in which vilazodone works is unknown. However, there are some assumptions that have been made regarding its mechanism of action. Users should fully understand this before taking the drug for any vilazodone uses.

Viibryd MOA

How Does Viibryd Work?

Viibryd is an SSRI, which means it selectively prevents the reuptake of serotonin in the brain. However, it is unique in its class because of its partial agonism of the 5-HT1A receptor. Together, these two actions appear to have a positive impact on the symptoms of major depressive disorder. It is theorized that this is because depression causes lowered levels of feel-good hormones. Still, it must be acknowledged that the exact cause of depression is not known, nor is it fully clear that the Viibryd mechanism of action is what it is theorized to be.

How Fast Does Viibryd Work?

Antidepressants are slow-acting medications, vilazodone included, no matter its use. In some cases, patients will start to show small improvements within one to two weeks of starting the medication. These tend to be smaller symptoms, such as improving appetite and sleep. Within eight weeks, most patients will be able to feel the full effects of the drug.

Vilazodone Warnings

The biggest notice associated with vilazodone is its black box warning. This warning states that no matter what Viibryd is used for, it could cause suicidal thoughts and tendencies in the user. This is especially true when used with younger patients. Caution must be exercised.

Other vilazodone warnings include:

  • Not to combine with MAOIs or overlap use within 14 days of each other
  • To exercise caution in patients with liver or kidney impairment
  • To avoid use if a bleeding or clotting disorder is present
  • To skip using in patients with narrow-angle glaucoma
  • To exercise caution when a patient has seizures or epilepsy

Users may want to consider alternatives due to these warnings, side effects, or even the cost of Viibryd. Patients should work with a medical professional when looking at other options.

Overcoming Viibryd Abuse

If someone is misusing vilazodone, they should seek help from an addiction center. There, they can get treatment for both addiction and depression. With the right help, clean life is possible.

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View Sources
  1. Viibryd: Highlights Of Prescribing Information. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/022567s000lbl.pdf.
  2. Hellerstein DJ, Flaxer J. Vilazodone for the treatment of major depressive disorder: an evidence-based review of its place in therapy. Core Evidence. 2015; 10: 49–62. doi:10.2147/CE.S54075. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4408952/.
  3. Gazewood JD, Slayton P, Degeorge K. Vilazodone (viibryd) for the treatment of depression. American Family Physician. 2017; 95(3): 142. 2013;88(4):263–264. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2013/0815/p263.html.
  4. Gommoll C, Forero G, Mathews M, et al. Vilazodone in patients with generalized anxiety disorder: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, flexible-dose study. International Clinical Psychopharmacology. 2015; 30(6): 297–306. doi:10.1097/YIC.0000000000000096. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4593467/.
  5. Singh M, Schwartz TL. Clinical utility of vilazodone for the treatment of adults with major depressive disorder and theoretical implications for future clinical use. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2012; 8: 123–130. doi:10.2147/NDT.S20683. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3333788/.
Roger Weiss

About Author

Roger Weiss, MD

Dr. Roger Weiss is a practicing mental health specialist at the hospital. Dr. Weiss combines his clinical practice and medical writing career since 2009. Apart from these activities, Dr. Weiss also delivers lectures for youth, former addicts, and everyone interested in topics such as substance abuse and treatment.

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