Pristiq vs Viibryd – Comparison of Side Effects & Uses

Pristiq

It is the brand name of a medication called desvenlafaxine, that belongs to a class of medications known as selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

Uses

This prescription medication is used to treat the major depressive disorder.

Mechanism of Action

It works by increasing norepinephrine and serotonin levels in the brain to improve mood and maintain mental balance.

In a 6-month study, patients who used this selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor had a reduced probability of relapse by more than 50% compared with study participants who took a placebo at day 185.

This medication was developed and marketed by Wyeth, a pharmaceutical company purchased by Pfizer in 2009. It was first approved for medical use in the United States by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2008.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is not known exactly whether this selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor passes into human breast milk or if it could negatively affect a breastfed infant. Tell your healthcare provider that you are breastfeeding a baby before using it.

Also, this medication may be harmful to a developing fetus, therefore, tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to fall pregnant.

Contraindications

To be sure that this selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor is safe for you, tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have low sodium levels in the blood;
  • have high triglycerides;
  • have high LDL and total cholesterol;
  • have or had seizures or convulsions;
  • have or had bleeding problems;
  • have mania or bipolar disorder;
  • have liver problems;
  • have hypertension;
  • have kidney problems;
  • have a history of stroke (cerebrovascular accident);
  • have glaucoma;
  • have or had suicidal thoughts or behavior;
  • have heart problems.
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Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of severe side effects.

Dosage

Note – it is not recommended for children or adolescents under 18 years of age.

The usual recommended dosage is 50 mg once a day. In clinical studies, doses higher than 50 mg per day were shown to be effective, but no additional benefit was demonstrated.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Nexium (esomeprazole);
  • Effexor (venlafaxine);
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine);
  • Abilify (aripiprazole);
  • Xanax (alprazolam);
  • Klonopin (clonazepam);
  • Pepcid;
  • Topamax (topiramate);
  • Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine);
  • Wellbutrin (bupropion);
  • Lamictal (lamotrigine);
  • Diphenhydramine;
  • Synthroid (levothyroxine);
  • Ativan (lorazepam);
  • Remeron (mirtazapine).

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • trouble staying asleep;
  • nausea;
  • problems falling asleep;
  • constipation;
  • increased sweating.

Less common side effects may include:

  • blood in the urine or stools;
  • confusion;
  • fast heart rate;
  • high fever;
  • very stiff muscles;
  • trouble breathing;
  • agitation;
  • seizures (convulsions);
  • shallow breathing;
  • fast or uneven heartbeats;
  • breathing that stops;
  • trouble concentrating;
  • loss of coordination;
  • overactive reflexes;
  • weakness;
  • a feeling like you might pass out;
  • bleeding gums;
  • fever;
  • burning in the eyes;
  • blurred vision;
  • swelling of the face or tongue;
  • diarrhea;
  • seeing halos around lights;
  • hallucinations;
  • feeling unsteady;
  • eye pain;
  • coughing up blood;
  • chest tightness;
  • a red or purple skin rash which spreads;
  • memory problems.

Viibryd

It is the brand name of a medication called vilazodone, that belongs to a group of medications known as antidepressants.

The US Food and Drug Administration originally approved this drug in 2011. It is produced by Forest Laboratories, a pharmaceutical company that was acquired by Actavis (now Allergan) in 2014.

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Uses

Note – do not give this medication to anyone under 18 years old.

This prescription medication is used to treat depression.

Mechanism of Action

It has a high affinity for 5-HT1A receptors and the 5-HT transporter (5-HTT). This medication works by altering chemicals in the brain to help maintain mental balance.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is not known exactly whether this antidepressant passes into human breast milk or if it could negatively affect a breastfed infant. Tell your doctor that you are breastfeeding a baby before using this medicine.

There are no well-done studies to determine whether this antidepressant is safe to use during pregnancy. Tell your healthcare provider that you are pregnant or plan to fall pregnant before using it.

Dosage

For depression, the usual initial dosage is 10 mg orally once per day for 7 days. The dosage is increased to 20 mg orally once per day for an additional 7 days. The maintenance dosage is 40 mg orally once per day.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Celexa (citalopram);
  • phentermine;
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine);
  • Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine);
  • Effexor (venlafaxine);
  • Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine);
  • Prozac (fluoxetine);
  • Advil (ibuprofen);
  • tramadol;
  • Wellbutrin (bupropion);
  • trazodone;
  • bupropion.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • vision changes;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • diarrhea;
  • mild nausea.

Less common side effects may include:

  • tunnel vision;
  • red pinpoint spots under the skin;
  • blurred vision;
  • a seizure (convulsions);
  • loss of coordination;
  • feelings of extreme happiness or sadness;
  • seeing halos around lights;
  • vomiting;
  • eye pain or swelling;
  • hallucinations;
  • confusion;
  • racing thoughts;
  • severe weakness;
  • agitation;
  • decreased inhibitions;
  • easy bruising;
  • blood in your urine or stools;
  • unusual risk-taking behavior.
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Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this antidepressant since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of severe side effects.

Contraindications

Before taking this antidepressant, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • a history of suicidal thoughts;
  • seizures or epilepsy;
  • a blood clotting disorder;
  • kidney disease;
  • bipolar disorder (manic depression);
  • liver disease;
  • narrow-angle glaucoma.

Bottom Line – Pristiq vs Viibryd

Pristiq (active ingredient – desvenlafaxine) is an SNRI which works on the central nervous system to elevate mood by increasing the amount of norepinephrine and serotonin. It is used to treat the major depressive disorder.

Viibryd (active ingredient – vilazodone) is a medication that belongs to a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. It is used to treat the major depressive disorder.

In conclusion, both medications are part of the same class of drugs, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, but they have different active ingredients. They can both be used to treat depression, however, they also have plenty of side effects.

Regarding their price, the average retail price for 15 tablets of Pristiq 50mg is $200, while the average retail price for 30 tablets of Viibryd 40mg is $260.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23517291
https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01316302
http://press.pfizer.com/press-release/pfizer-announces-top-line-efficacy

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