New Antidepressant

A new medication, vilazodone, has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression. It is going to be marketed under the brand name “Viibryd.” It acts as an SSRI (see blog dated June 27, 2010 for an explanation of SSRIs), plus modifies a serotonin receptor which may provide enhanced benefits. There is already an available medication, buspirone (or Buspar) that exerts its action on this particular serotonin receptor, called the 5HT1A receptor. In fact, we already combine SSRIs with Buspar sometimes.

As with all medication, Viibryd is associated with possible adverse effects (side effects), especially those commonly associated with boosting serotonin, such as nausea and diarrhea. Excessive sleepiness was also seen as an adverse effect. It may be associated with a lower rate of sexual dysfunction (lowered sex drive, for example) than seen with pure SSRIs. However, the full balance of benefits and side effects will become clearer with actual use of the medication outside of a clinical trial setting.

Regards, Dr. Ranen