Viibryd (vilazodone) is an antidepressant that belongs to a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, it is somewhat different than other SSRIs, in that it also contains a 5HT1a receptor partial agonist. Viibryd is currently approved to treat major depressive disorder, or MDD.

How Does Viibryd Work?

Viibryd was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011. It is manufactured by Forest Laboratories, which was acquired by Allergan Plc in 2014. Viibryd is approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults. MDD is characterized by symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. While some patients only experience a single episode of MDD, the condition can occur periodically throughout a person’s life.

Viibryd was the first and only SSRI and 5HT1a receptor partial agonist approved to treat MDD. Depression is thought to result from low levels of serotonin and other brain chemicals that help nerve cells communicate with each other. SSRIs are thought to affect the activity of serotonin. The role of 5HT1A partial agonist activity on serotonergic transmission and antidepressant effect is unknown.

Viibryd comes in 10 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg tablets. In most cases, treatment is initiated via a once-daily 10 mg dose for 7 days, followed by a daily 20 mg dose for another 7 days. Depending on the patient’s reaction to Viibryd, the dose may remain at 20 mg, or it may be increased to 40 mg daily.

Viibryd Side Effects

Patients should not stop taking Viibryd without speaking to their healthcare provider, even if they start feeling better. Stopping Viibryd suddenly may cause serious symptoms, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • High or low mood
  • Feeling restless or sleepy
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Tremor
  • Electric shock-like sensations
  • Confusion

The Viibryd label includes a Black Box Warning regarding an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults ages 18 to 24 during initial treatment.

The most frequent Viibryd side effects reported in clinical trials included diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and insomnia.

Is Viibryd Associated wit Acute Pancreatitis or Pancreatic Cancer?

According to an FDA letter dated September 6, 2016, new information regarding a possible link between the Viibryd and acute pancreatitis will be soon be added to the drug’s labeling.

Acute pancreatitis is a sudden inflammation of the pancreas that can lead to serious injury and even death.  Symptoms of the condition include:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen that sometimes extends to the back (may be mild at first and become worse after eating)
  • Swollen and tender abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Rapid pulse

The mortality rate associated with acute pancreatitis is about 10%. As such, the condition requires immediate medical attention. Most patients are hospitalized for 3 to 5 days for close monitoring, pain control, and intravenous hydration.

Pancreatitis, especially if it reoccurs, is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer.

  1. FDA (2016) “Viibryd Medication Guide”
  2. FDA (2011) “FDA approves Viibryd to treat major depressive disorder”
  3. FDA (2016) “Supplement Approval”
  4. National Pancreas Foundation (2014) “About Acute Pancreatitis”
Last Modified: November 3, 2016

Get the latest news and litigation updates about this case by following us on Facebook. Click the "Like" button below.


Follow Us on Google+ on Facebook on LinkedIn on Twitter on YouTube on Pinterest

Skip to content