Viibryd for Major Depressive Disorder

Viibryd is Part of a Small Group of Drugs Approved to Treat MDD

Sad face made from pills
Image Source/ GettyImages

While many drugs exist for mood disorders or anxiety, few medications were available for patients struggling with major depressive disorder (MDD). Pharmaceutical companies saw this unmet need and began developing treatment options for this disease state. Viibryd (vilazodone hydrochloride) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 for the treatment of MDD. 

What is Major Depressive Disorder?

Major depressive disorder is a recognized condition that causes low mood, poor self-esteem, loss of interest in favorite hobbies or interests, and can affect your appetite and sleep habits.

In most cases, a combination of therapy and medication is needed to successfully manage the disease. 

MDD can appear at any age, but the most common age at onset is 32 and more women than men are diagnosed with the illness each year. In addition, as many as one in 33 children or one in eight adolescents have MDD as well. People with MDD are four times more likely to develop other serious health conditions, including heart disease, cancer or other mental illnesses. 

About Viibryd

Viibryd is an antidepressant owned by Allergan, a pharmaceutical company based in Ireland. It is the first drug of its kind to be approved to treat adults with depression. It is believed to affect the activity of serotonin, a chemical in the brain. The most common side effects include nausea, diarrhea and trouble sleeping. 

Viibryd is available in 10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg tablets. Most people will be initially prescribed the 10 mg dosage for at least one week.

After that, the dose is gradually increased until you reach the level that works best for you. It is recommended that you always take Viibryd with food in order to prevent stomach issues or discomfort. 

Viibryd carries a black box warning, the sternest warning the FDA can put into place without recalling a medication.

This does not mean you should avoid taking the drug; it just means you should be aware of the potential side effects and talk about the risks with your doctor before filling your prescription. Like many antidepressants, Viibryd can cause an increased risk of suicide in children, adolescents and adults 18-24 when first starting treatment. 

Impact on Industry

According to the FDA and psychiatric experts, multiple treatment options are needed for illnesses like depression. Because scientists are not sure how depression is exactly caused, we cannot identify a perfect solution. Some people react to medications in different ways; what is effective for one person may cause significant side effects in another person. Many patients try several medications before they find one that helps them. 

MDD can be a debilitating disease, preventing people from engaging in their normal lives. Because medications affect everyone differently, experts believe there needs to be many treatment options available for patients with depression.


The approval and launch of Viibryd indicated a strong market opportunity for Allergan. In the United States alone, there are approximately 14.8 million adults with MDD, making up about 7% of the population. This is a significant market in need of treatment options that Allergan hopes to capitalize on with Viibryd. 

Continue Reading...