Vilazodone

Brand Name:

Viibryd

Drug Class: 

Serotonin partial agonist and reuptake inhibitor (SPARI)

How it works:

Boosts the effects of the neurotransmitter Serotonin and is a 5HT-1A (specific type of Serotonin) partial agonist.

What makes it unique:

This medication has a unique mechanism that boosts serotonin and gives serotonin more time to exert its effect. The serotonin-1A partial agonism is not seen in other antidepressants (but is found in a common antianxiety medication called Buspirone).

Side effects: 

Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, insomnia, dizziness. Vilazodone has potentially less sexual dysfunction than other medications.

Rare side effects include abnormal bleeding, hyponatremia, seizures, induction of mania, and activation of suicidal ideation.

How effective is it:

(1) A 1-year, open-label study assessed Vilazodone in patients with major depressive disorder. Effectiveness was assessed using a depression scale called MADRS. The most common adverse events included diarrhea (35.7%), nausea (31.6%) and headache (20.0%). Most of the side effects were short-lived. Vilazodone was shown to be effective for the treatment of depression.

(2) A study reviewed Vilazodone across different symptoms and severity of depression using two phase-III trials. Vilazodone showed improvement in all 10 individual symptoms reviewed and in the different depression subgroups.

Clinical experience: 

This is rarely seen. This medication is newer and usually more expensive than other antidepressants. I would recommend using an SSRI with buspirone (both very inexpensive) to get a similar mechanism of effect. Pharmaceuticals should never be used as the sole treatment for mental illnesses. Therapy, exercise, meditation or other treatments should always accompany prescriptions.

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tn
Tennessee

References:

1. Robinson D, Kajdasz D, Gallipoli S, et al. A 1-Year, Open-Label Study Assessing the Safety and Tolerability of Vilazodone in Patients With Major Depressive Disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology: October 2011 – Volume 31 – Issue 5 – p 643-646.

2. Khan A, Sambunaris A, Edwards J, et al. Vilazodone in the treatment of major depressive disorder: efficacy across symptoms and severity of depression. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2014 Mar;29(2):86-92.

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