Vilazodone

Vilazodone treats depression. It may take several weeks before you feel the full benefit of this medication. Take vilazodone with food.

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Vilazodone Overview

Reviewed: June 18, 2012
Updated: 

Vilazodone is a prescription medication used to treat depression. Vilazodone belongs to a group of drugs called antidepressants. It works by altering chemicals in the brain to help maintain mental balance.

This medication comes in tablet form and is usually taken once daily, with food.

Common side effects of vilazodone include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

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Vilazodone Cautionary Labels

Uses of Vilazodone

Vilazodone is a prescription medicine used to treat a certain type of depression called Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). 

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Vilazodone Drug Class

Vilazodone is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Vilazodone

Vilazodone may cause serious side effects, including:

  • See "Drug Precautions".

Common side effects in people who take vilazodone include:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea or vomiting
  • trouble sleeping

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of vilazodone. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Vilazodone Interactions

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines that you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Vilazodone and some medicines may interact with each other, may not work as well, or may cause serious side effects when taken together.

Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take:

  • triptans used to treat migraine headache
  • medicines used to treat mood, anxiety, psychotic or thought disorders, including tricyclics, lithium, SSRIs, SNRIs, buspirone, or antipsychotics
  • tramadol
  • over-the-counter supplements such as tryptophan or St. John’s Wort
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
  • aspirin
  • warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
  • mephenytoin (Mesantoin)
  • diuretics

Your healthcare provider or pharmacist can tell you if it is safe to take vilazodone with your other medicines. Do not start or stop any medicine while taking vilazodone without talking to your healthcare provider first.

Vilazodone Precautions

Vilazodone and other antidepressant medicines may cause serious side effects.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms, or call 911 if there is an emergency:

  1. Suicidal thoughts or actions:
    • Vilazodone and other antidepressant medicines may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teenagers, or young adults within the first few months of treatment or when the dose is changed.
    • Depression or other serious mental illnesses are the most important causes of suicidal thoughts or actions.
    • Watch for these changes and call your healthcare provider right away if you notice:
      • New or sudden changes in mood, behavior, actions, thoughts, or feelings, especially if severe.
      • Pay particular attention to such changes when vilazodone is started or when the dose is changed.

      Keep all follow-up visits with your healthcare provider and call between visits if you are worried about symptoms. 
      Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you:
      • attempts to commit suicide
      • acting on dangerous impulses
      • acting aggressive or violent
      • thoughts about suicide or dying
      • new or worse depression
      • new or worse anxiety or panic attacks
      • feeling agitated, restless, angry or irritable
      • trouble sleeping
      • an increase in activity or talking more than what is normal for you (mania)
      • other unusual changes in behavior or mood
  2. Serotonin Syndrome or Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome-like reactions:
    • agitation, hallucinations, coma or other changes in mental status
    • coordination problems or muscle twitching (overactive reflexes)
    • fast heartbeat, high or low blood pressure
    • sweating or fever
    • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
    • muscle stiffness or tightness
  3. Abnormal bleeding: Vilazodone and other antidepressant medicines may increase your risk of bleeding or bruising, especially if you take the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), or aspirin.
  4. Seizures or convulsions.
  5. Manic episodes:
    • greatly increased energy
    • severe trouble sleeping
    • racing thoughts
    • reckless behavior
    • unusually grand ideas
    • excessive happiness or irritability
    • talking more or faster than usual
  6. Low salt (sodium) levels in the blood. 
    Elderly people may be at greater risk for this. Symptoms may include:
    • headache
    • weakness or feeling unsteady
    • confusion, problems concentrating or thinking or memory problems

Do not stop vilazodone without first talking to your healthcare provider. Stopping vilazodone suddenly may cause serious symptoms including:

  • anxiety, irritability, high or low mood, feeling restless or sleepy
  • headache, sweating, nausea, dizziness
  • electric shock-like sensations, tremor, confusion

Do not take vilazodone if you:

  • Take an monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are not sure if you take an MAOI.
    People who take vilazodone close in time to taking an MAOI may have serious or even life-threatening side effects. Get medical help right away if you have any of these symptoms:
    • Do not take an MAOI within 14 days of stopping vilazodone.
    • Do not start vilazodone if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 14 days.
    • high fever
    • uncontrolled muscle spasms
    • stiff muscles
    • rapid changes in heart rate or blood pressure
    • confusion
    • loss of consciousness (pass out)
  • Vilazodone can cause sleepiness or may affect your ability to make decisions, think clearly, or react quickly. You should not drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how vilazodone affects you.
  • You should avoid drinking alcohol while taking vilazodone. 

Vilazodone Food Interactions

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with vilazodone and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.

Inform MD

Before starting vilazodone, tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • have liver problems
  • have kidney problems
  • have or had seizures or convulsions
  • have bipolar disorder (manic depression) or mania
  • have low sodium levels in your blood
  • have or had bleeding problems
  • drink alcohol
  • have any other medical conditions
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines that you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Vilazodone and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

This medication falls into category C. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.

Vilazodone and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if vilazodone passes into breast milk. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you should take vilazodone while breastfeeding.

Vilazodone Usage

  • Take vilazodone exactly as prescribed. Your healthcare provider may need to change the dose of vilazodone until it is the right dose for you.
  • Take vilazodone with food. Vilazodone may not work as well if you take it on an empty stomach.
  • If you miss a dose of vilazodone, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of vilazodone at the same.
  • If you take too much vilazodone, call your healthcare provider or poison control center right away, or get emergency treatment.

Vilazodone Dosage

Take vilazodone exactly as directed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The recommended dose for vilazodone is 20 mg to 40 mg once daily, with food. 

Vilazodone should be gradually increased, starting with an initial dose of 10 mg once daily for 7 days, followed by 20 mg once daily for an additional 7 days, and then the dose may be increased to 40 mg once daily. 

Vilazodone Overdose

If you take too much vilazodone, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Other Requirements

  • Store vilazodone at room temperature (59°F to 86°F or 15°C to 30°C).
  • Keep vilazodone and all medicines out of the reach of children.

Vilazodone FDA Warning

WARNING: SUICIDALITY AND ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS

Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of vilazodone or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Vilazodone is not approved for use in pediatric patients.