Is Viibryd Safe to Take While Pregnant?

Depression during pregnancy is something that can be difficult to cope with. There are different situations where a pregnant woman may be seeking treatment for depression. She may have already had depression before becoming pregnant, for example. Some women also develop new or worsening symptoms of depression while they’re pregnant. Regardless of the specific scenario, if you’re pregnant and have depression, you may not know where to turn since some medications aren’t safe for use during pregnancy. What about Viibryd? Is Viibryd safe to take while pregnant? Like many antidepressants, Viibryd may be safe during pregnancy, but only under the direction of a healthcare provider and if the benefits of the medication outweigh the possible risks.

Do you or someone you love have questions or concerns about a pregnancy and don’t know where to turn for help? Get support and answers at the American Pregnancy Association at 1-800-672-2296. 

Viibryd is a brand-name medication prescribed for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). Viibryd isn’t approved for use in people under the age of 18. The active ingredient is vilazodone, which is classified as a serotonergic antidepressant. It was first approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder in the U.S. in 2011. It acts in a way that’s similar to an SSRI as well as buspirone. Viibyrd is the first approved drug of its kind. It’s believed to affect serotonin levels in the brain, providing an improvement in mood for patients. Common possible side effects of Viibyrd include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and sleep problems.

Viibyrd is typically taken once a day with food, and it’s supposed to be taken at the same time every day. Viibyrd can cause discontinuation symptoms if it’s used for a period of time and then suddenly stopped. Viibyrd withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, sweating, changes in mood, restlessness, headache, nausea, dizziness, tremors and confusion. There is a risk with all antidepressants that they can cause suicidal thoughts or behaviors as well. The risk is low but is more common in young adults taking antidepressants. People who are prescribed a new antidepressant like Viibyrd should be aware of any changes in mood, thoughts or behavior. So, is Viibyrd safe to take while pregnant? As was touched on, it may be, but risks can’t be ruled out with the use of this medication during pregnancy.

Will Taking Viibyrd Cause Birth Defects?

The active ingredient in Viibyrd, vilazodone, is a category C pregnancy drug. The FDA created pregnancy categories based on the research currently available for medications and substances. The research can be controlled human studies, animal studies or a combination. Category A drugs appear to be safe in both animal and human studies. Category B drugs haven’t demonstrated harm in animal fetuses, but there may be limited research assessing human safety.

Category C drugs may have demonstrated some level of risk in animal studies, but there aren’t sufficient or controlled studies with human subjects. Category D drugs are harmful and should only be used during pregnancy if the benefits significantly outweigh the risks. There is also a category X. Category X drugs shouldn’t be used during pregnancy. With Viibyrd, since it is a category C drug, a doctor will look at the benefits of the drug versus what the possible risks may be. One potential risk associated with Viibyrd during pregnancy is the development of persistent pulmonary hypertension. This risk is especially high if the drug is used after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Babies Born Addicted to Viibyrd

When a newborn has been exposed to Viibyrd in the womb, they may form a dependence to it. Just as an adult who takes antidepressants may have symptoms of discontinuation, so can a newborn. Some of the symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome related to antidepressants include tremors, increased muscle tone and high-pitched crying. Also possible are disruptions in sleep and gastrointestinal symptoms. The symptoms tend to peak and be most severe within two days after birth. Most symptoms of discontinuation start to subside within 48 hours.

Alternatives to Taking Viibyrd While Pregnant

Pregnant woman might look for alternatives to taking Viibyrd. First, it’s important that this is a conversation had with your healthcare provider. There are risks to stopping Viibyrd or any antidepressant suddenly. These risks can include everything from complications of depression to pregnancy complications. There are also risks of untreated depression in general during pregnancy. It may be that your healthcare provider feels the risk of untreated depression is greater than the risks of taking Viibyrd while pregnant. Since Viibyrd is a treatment specifically for major depression, not taking medicine may not be an option, and most antidepressants are category C drugs. For women with mild symptoms of depression, not using medication may be an option, but only under the direction of a healthcare professional.

If you’re interested in learning more about addiction treatment as well as medical detox, and the options available to you or your loved one, contact The Recovery Village.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.