Living with depression – What you need to know about treatment

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Do you or does someone you know constantly feel sad, empty, tired, or have difficulty concentrating? Have you lost interest in activities that once made you happy? Do you think you may be depressed but don’t know how to talk about it? If so, you are not alone. More than 15 million Americans suffer from a serious condition known as Major Depressive Disorder. Dr. Prakash Masand, Consulting Professor of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, has answered some important questions to help you or a loved one determine if talking to a healthcare provider about your depression symptoms is needed.

Q: What is Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)?

A: Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, is a serious medical condition requiring treatment. More than 15 million Americans suffer from MDD, about 7.3%; of the adult U.S. population. Despite the seriousness of the condition, nearly 50%;  of people with MDD do not receive treatment.

Q: How do you get MDD?

A: There is no known single cause of MDD. Psychological, biological, and environmental factors may all contribute, but whatever the cause, scientific research has firmly established that MDD is a biological, medical illness. Scientists believe that people who suffer from MDD have an imbalance in certain brain chemicals. However, MDD is treatable with antidepressant medications that improve the function of these neurotransmitters. There may also be an increased risk for developing depression when there is a family history of the illness, but not everyone with a family history develops depression.

Q: How can I tell if I have MDD, or if someone I know has it?

A: Sufferers of MDD may display a lack of interest in or pleasure from activities they once enjoyed, and may be persistently sad or in an irritable mood with noticeable changes in sleep, appetite, and energy. They may have difficulty thinking, concentrating, or remembering. They may think or talk about feelings of guilt, worthlessness and emptiness, or death. Sometimes these feelings can be so severe they turn into physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain, that do not respond well to treatment.

Q: How do I get help?

A: There are a number of treatment options for MDD. The majority of people diagnosed with MDD can be effectively treated. Speak with your healthcare provider to determine if you are a candidate for antidepressant treatment. Along with medication, seeking the help of a healthcare provider for talk therapy treatment can help many individuals manage symptoms of depression.

Q: Are there any recently approved antidepressants?

A: Yes. VIIBRYD® (vilazadone HCl) received approval from the FDA in 2011 and is available in pharmacies. VIIBRYD is the first and only FDA-approved selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist for the treatment of adults with Major Depressive Disorder. The mechanism of the antidepressant effect is not fully understood but is thought to be related to its enhancement of serotonergic activity in the central nervous system (CNS) through selective inhibition of serotonin reuptake. VIIBRYD is also a partial agonist at serotonergic 5-HT1A receptors; however, the net result of this action on serotonergic transmission and its role in antidepressant effect of VIIBRYD are unknown. Talk to your doctor about the benefits of treatment with VIIBRYD and visit the website

Important Risk Information

What is the most important information I should know about VIIBRYD?

VIIBRYD and other antidepressant medicines may cause serious side effects. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the symptoms described below, or call 911 if there is an emergency.

Suicidality and Antidepressant Drugs

Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, teens, and young adults. 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. VIIBRYD is not approved for use in patients under 18.

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following symptoms as they may be signs of rare but potentially life-threatening conditions: Agitation, hallucinations, coma or other changes in mental status, muscle twitching or coordination problems, fast heartbeat, high or low blood pressure, fever or sweating, muscle stiffness or tightness, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Who should not take VIIBRYD?Do not take any drugs known as MAOIs within 14 days of stopping VIIBRYDDo not start VIIBRYD if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 14 daysPeople who take VIIBRYD close in time to taking an MAOI may have serious or even life-threatening side effects.

What should I talk to my healthcare provider about?VIIBRYD may increase suicidal thoughts or actions, especially when starting treatment or when the dose is changed. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have suicidal thoughts, or if you become agitated, irritable, hostile, aggressive, impulsive or restless, or if your condition gets worse.Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking or plan to take, including: – Medicines to treat migraines, anxiety, psychotic or thought disorders, or mood disorders, including triptans, tricyclics, lithium, SSRIs, SNRIs, buspirone, or antipsychotics; this is necessary to avoid a potentially life-threatening condition – Aspirin, NSAID pain relievers, or blood thinners (warfarin, Coumadin or Jantoven) because they may increase the risk of bleeding – Tramadol, mephenytoin (Mesantoin) or over-the-counter supplements such as tryptophan or St. John’s Wort

Before starting VIIBRYD, tell your doctor if you: –  Have kidney or liver problems – Have or had mania, bipolar disorder, seizures or convulsions – Have or had bleeding problems. VIIBRYD may increase your risk of bleeding or bruising – Have low salt (sodium) levels in your blood. Elderly people may be at greater risk – Are nursing, pregnant, or are planning to become pregnantCall your healthcare provider right away if any of these symptoms or conditions occur while you are taking VIIBRYD. Some may be signs of serious side effects.

Do not stop VIIBRYD without first talking to your healthcare provider.

Stopping VIIBRYD 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, and confusion.

What should I avoid when taking VIIBRYD?Until you know how VIIBRYD affects you, be careful driving a car, operating heavy machinery or engaging in other dangerous activities. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking VIIBRYD.

What are the most common side effects of VIIBRYD?The most common side effects in people taking VIIBRYD include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and 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 VIIBRYD. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

Please also see the Medication Guide within the full Prescribing Information.

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