If you have depression, your doctor might suggest Viibryd (vilazodone) as a treatment option for your condition. Learning about the possible side effects of this drug can help you decide if it’s a good option for you.

Viibryd is a prescription medication that’s used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults. With MDD, you have an imbalance in the levels of certain chemicals in your brain. Viibryd is an antidepressant that helps correct this chemical imbalance. Over time, it helps to decrease your depression symptoms and get you back to feeling like yourself again.

Viibryd comes as a tablet that you take by mouth once per day. You’ll usually need to take it for several months or longer.

For more information about Viibryd, including details about its uses, see this in-depth article on the drug.

Like other drugs, Viibryd can cause mild or serious side effects. Keep reading to learn more.

Some people may experience mild or serious side effects during Viibryd treatment. Examples of Viibryd’s more commonly reported side effects include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

Examples of mild side effects that have been reported with Viibryd include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

In most cases, these side effects should be temporary. Some may be easily managed, too. But if you have any symptoms that are ongoing or that bother you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And don’t stop using Viibryd unless your doctor recommends it.

Viibryd may cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. See the Viibryd medication guide for details.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Viibryd, visit MedWatch.

Serious side effects are rare with Viibryd, but they can occur. Serious side effects that have been reported with Viibryd include:

* Viibryd has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the FDA. To learn more, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
† To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.
‡ An allergic reaction is possible after using Viibryd. But it’s not clear whether this side effect occurred in studies.

If you develop serious side effects while taking Viibryd, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Suicide prevention

If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
  • Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about Viibryd’s side effects.

When do side effects from Viibryd typically go away?

Most mild side effects of Viibryd go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. This is because your body gets used to the medication. But some, such as sexual problems, may last longer. If you have side effects that don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you have serious side effects with Viibryd, these should usually ease quickly with treatment.

Is anger a side effect of Viibryd?

It might be. Irritability has been reported in some people taking Viibryd, and this could come across as anger.

Mood changes, such as anger, irritability, or aggression, can also be warning signs of worsening depression and suicidal thoughts. Depression can get worse in some people, despite taking Viibryd, and this can lead to suicidal thoughts.

But in young adults (ages 18 to 24 years), Viibryd can also increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions. To read more about this side effect, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

If you have mood changes such as anger while taking Viibryd, talk with your doctor. They can help determine if this is a side effect of the medication.

Note that mood changes such as anger are possible withdrawal side effects that you may have after stopping Viibryd treatment. These side effects can also sometimes happen after missing doses of Viibryd. See the questions below to read more about this.

Will stopping my Viibryd treatment cause withdrawal side effects?

Yes, stopping Viibryd treatment can sometimes cause withdrawal side effects. This is also called discontinuation syndrome.

Examples of withdrawal side effects can include:

You’re more likely to have withdrawal side effects if you suddenly stop taking Viibryd. If you and your doctor agree that you should stop taking Viibryd, your doctor will explain how to do this gradually. This should help to avoid withdrawal effects.

Will I experience any side effects if I miss a dose of Viibryd?

You’re unlikely to have side effects if you miss one dose of Viibryd. But missing more than one dose may sometimes cause withdrawal side effects. These are side effects that can happen if you suddenly stop taking Viibryd. To read more about these, see the question above.

If you have withdrawal side effects after missing a dose of Viibryd, these should ease after taking your next dose. Don’t take extra doses to make up for missing a dose or to help ease withdrawal side effects. Taking too much Viibryd could cause serious side effects.

Do Viibryd’s side effects vary depending on the tablet strength (10 mg, 20 mg, or 40 mg)?

Not really. In studies of Viibryd, side effects were very similar between the 20-milligram (mg) dose and the 40-mg dose. (The 10-mg tablet is typically taken only for the first week of treatment.)

Your risk of side effects with Viibryd is more likely to be affected by other factors than the dose. For example, certain medications or conditions can increase your risk of side effects more than taking a higher dose.

If you’re concerned about the risk of side effects with higher doses of Viibryd, talk with your doctor.

Learn more about some of the side effects Viibryd may cause.

Weight gain or weight loss

Some people may gain or lose weight while taking Viibryd, but this isn’t common.

In studies of Viibryd, a few people had weight gain or increased appetite. Increased appetite can lead to weight gain over time. According to the manufacturer, the average amount of weight gained with Viibryd was 0.35 to 1.3 pounds (lb).

Weight loss wasn’t specifically reported in studies of Viibryd. But the medication commonly causes diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. And these digestive side effects could lead to weight loss.

Note that depression often affects appetite and eating patterns, and this can lead to weight changes. As your depression eases from Viibryd treatment, your appetite and eating patterns will likely return to what’s usual for you. And this could cause you to gain or lose weight.

What might help

If you’re concerned about gaining or losing weight with Viibryd, talk with your doctor. They can suggest ways to help you reach or maintain a moderate body weight.

Headache

Viibryd can sometimes cause a headache. Headaches caused by Viibryd are usually mild. They tend to go away over time as your body gets used to the medication.

But a headache can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious side effect of Viibryd, such as hyponatremia (low level of sodium in the blood). And if you have a sudden severe headache, this could be a symptom of closed-angle glaucoma (sudden buildup of pressure in the eye). This is another serious side effect of Viibryd.

What might help

If you have a headache while taking Viibryd, it should usually go away on its own. But it may help to lie down, rest, and turn off bright lights.

If you have a troublesome headache, you can take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever that contains acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, to help relieve it. It’s best to avoid taking products that contain aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). These could increase the risk of bleeding, which is a rare but serious side effect of Viibryd. Ask your pharmacist to recommend a product that’s safe for you.

If you have a headache that doesn’t go away or is very severe, contact your doctor.

Serotonin syndrome

Viibryd can sometimes cause a rare but serious side effect called serotonin syndrome. It results in high levels of the chemical serotonin in the body. This side effect can be life threatening.

Serotonin syndrome can cause symptoms, such as:

It’s rare to develop serotonin syndrome with Viibryd if you take it on its own. But taking Viibryd with other medications that increase serotonin in the body can increase the risk of this side effect. Examples of these medications include:

What might help

Before you start taking Viibryd, be sure to tell your doctor about any medications that you take. Due to the risk of serotonin syndrome, don’t take Viibryd if you’ve taken any of the following medications in the past 14 days:

To help avoid serotonin syndrome while you’re taking Viibryd, always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any other medications. This includes OTC medications and herbal remedies. And avoid taking illegal drugs with this antidepressant.

If you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome while you’re taking Viibryd, contact your doctor right away. But if your symptoms are severe or feel life threatening, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serotonin syndrome usually gets better once you stop taking the medication that’s causing the problem. But your doctor may also prescribe other medications to help treat its symptoms.

Allergic reaction

Like most drugs, Viibryd can cause an allergic reaction in some people. But it’s not clear whether this side effect occurred in studies.

Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. To manage your symptoms, they may suggest an OTC antihistamine you take by mouth, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Or they may recommend a product you apply to your skin, such as hydrocortisone cream.

If your doctor confirms you had a mild allergic reaction to Viibryd, they’ll decide if you should continue using it.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your doctor confirms you had a serious allergic reaction to Viibryd, they may have you switch to a different treatment.

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and young adults

Like all antidepressants, Viibryd has a boxed warning for the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and young adults (ages 18 to 24 years). A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Note that Viibryd is not approved by the FDA for use in anyone younger than 18 years.

Having depression increases the risk of having suicidal thoughts and actions. But for young people, studies show that taking antidepressants can increase this risk early in treatment. The risk is higher during the first few months of treatment and after any dosage changes.

Antidepressants don’t increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in older adults with depression. In fact, studies show that antidepressants reduce the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in adults ages 25 years and older.

Possible warning signs of suicidal thoughts and actions may include:

  • worsening depression or anxiety
  • feeling restless or agitated
  • anger, irritability, or aggression
  • thinking about harming yourself or dying
  • trying to harm yourself or attempt suicide
  • other unusual or sudden changes in your mood, thoughts, or actions

What might help

While taking Viibryd, it’s important to be aware of the possible warning signs of suicidal thoughts or behaviors. It can also help to talk with your friends, family, or caregivers you may have about these. They can keep watch for changes in your behavior. If you have any of the warning signs listed above, be sure to talk with your doctor right away.

It’s also important that you keep taking Viibryd regularly every day, even if it doesn’t seem to be working at first. It can take at least 2 to 4 weeks for Viibryd to start working. And it can take several months or longer before your depression eases.

If your doctor thinks that Viibryd could be making your depression worse, they may recommend switching to a different antidepressant. But this should only be done with careful monitoring. You shouldn’t stop taking Viibryd or change your dosage on your own.

If you have questions or concerns about suicidal thoughts and behaviors during Viibryd treatment, talk with your doctor.

Keeping track of side effects

During Viibryd treatment, consider keeping notes on any side effects you’re having. Then, you can share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful to do when you first start taking new drugs or using a combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things such as:

  • what dose of drug you were taking when you had the side effect
  • how soon after starting that dose you had the side effect
  • what your symptoms were from the side effect
  • how it affected your daily activities
  • what other medications you were also taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Keeping notes and sharing them with your doctor will help your doctor learn more about how Viibryd affects you. And your doctor can use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.

Viibryd comes with several warnings.

Boxed warning: Suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and young adults

Viibryd has a boxed warning for the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and in young adults (ages 18 to 24 years). A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

It’s important to note that Viibryd is not approved by the FDA for use in anyone younger than 18 years.

To learn more, see the “Side effects explained” section above.

Other warnings

Viibryd may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Viibryd. The list below includes factors to consider.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Viibryd or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Viibryd. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.

Bleeding problems. Viibryd can make you bleed more easily than usual. If you have any bleeding problems, talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe for you to take Viibryd.

History of bipolar disorder, mania, or hypomania. If you or a close family member have had these mental health problems in the past, Viibryd may not be safe for you. The drug could increase your risk of having a manic episode. Before starting Viibryd, talk with your doctor about any mental health problems that have affected you and your close family.

Epilepsy or other conditions that cause seizures. Viibryd may increase the risk of seizures. If you’ve had seizures in the past, talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe for you to take Viibryd.

Low sodium levels. Viibryd can sometimes cause hyponatremia (low level of sodium in the blood). If you already have a low sodium level, Viibryd could make it worse. This side effect is more likely to happen in people ages 65 years and older and in people taking diuretic medications. If either factor applies to you, ask your doctor whether Viibryd is safe for you to take. If your sodium level gets too low during Viibryd treatment, you may need to stop taking the drug.

Alcohol and Viibryd

Alcohol could make some of Viibryd’s side effects worse. For example, it could increase dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, and diarrhea. As a result, you should avoid consuming alcohol while taking Viibryd.

Alcohol can also worsen symptoms of depression.

If you’re concerned about avoiding alcohol while taking Viibryd, talk with your doctor.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Viibryd

It’s not known if Viibryd is safe to take during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or are planning to become pregnant or breastfeed, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking Viibryd.

Viibryd is an effective treatment for depression, and most people can take it without any problems. It does have some common side effects, but these are usually mild and tend to lessen as your body gets used to the medication. Some serious side effects are also possible, but these are rare.

Your doctor can give you more information about how likely you are to have side effects with Viibryd. And they can help you decide if this medication is a good treatment option for your condition.

Here are some examples of questions you might want to ask your doctor:

  • Do my other medications increase my risk of side effects with Viibryd?
  • Am I more likely to have side effects with Viibryd than with other antidepressants?
  • Is there anything I can do to lower my risk of side effects with Viibryd?
  • Do I need to stop taking Viibryd if I have surgery?

To read personal stories of other people successfully managing their condition, consider signing up for Healthline’s depression newsletter.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.