If you are searching for relief from your mental health condition, knowing which medication is right for you can be overwhelming. With all of the options available, it can be difficult to even choose between well-known antidepressants like Prozac and Viibryd.
This article breaks down the similarities and differences between these two SSRI antidepressants so that you can make an informed decision about your mental health treatment. SSRIs are a kind of antidepressant that increases the serotonin levels in the brain by preventing reuptake. Although Prozac and Viibryd are the same kinds of antidepressants, they vary in some ways.
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What is Prozac?
Prozac, also known by its generic name fluoxetine, is a medication used to treat depression in adults and children over the age of eight. It is FDA-approved, meaning it’s a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant that is commonly prescribed to treat depression symptoms and symptoms of other serotonin-related conditions.
SSRIs are different from other antidepressant medications, such as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants, because of the way they function. Prozac is a commonly known SSRI used for treating major depressive disorder, treatment-resistant depression, anxiety disorders, and more.
Common doses and forms of Prozac
Prozac can come in liquid or capsule form, and a medical provider will determine which option is best for you. The capsules come in a 20 mg dose, and the liquid is usually measured in 10 mg doses. Most adults take the capsule form, whereas the liquid is ideal for children under the age of 13.
Most adult patients start out taking 20 mg a day and gradually increase the dose to somewhere between 60 mg and 80 mg. Children taking Prozac usually start around 10 mg and will increase the dose to 60 mg when necessary.
Conditions Prozac treats
Prozac is prescribed to treat a variety of conditions, including major depression and generalized anxiety disorder, but there are a lot of other conditions that Prozac can also treat. Medical professionals may also prescribe Prozac to treat eating disorders, panic disorders, and more. The use of Prozac for treating off-label conditions such as these should only be done under the supervision of a provider.
Prozac can treat symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
Patients are commonly prescribed Prozac to treat symptoms of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, including:
- Chronic anxiety
- Intrusive thoughts
- Panic attacks
- Fluctuating mood
- Difficulty sleeping
- Poor appetite
- Low energy
- Low mood, disinterest in daily life
Off-label uses for Prozac
Medical professionals may prescribe Prozac to treat conditions other than depression and anxiety. In these cases, it is prescribed as an off-label treatment. You should always ask a professional about using Prozac to treat the following conditions.
- Anorexia nervosa
- Premature ejaculation
- Anxiety disorders
For the brand name Prozac, a 30-day supply can cost patients between $460 and $1000 dollars depending on the dosage. Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not cover name-brand Prozac because of the high price.
On the other hand, the generic form, fluoxetine, can be more affordable. Many insurance companies, including medicare, cover fluoxetine, and a 30-day supply of capsules can cost between $3 and $4. For patients who require a higher dose, fluoxetine can cost up to $100 a month.
Prozac side effects
Prozac can cause side effects for some patients, which can be mild and, in rare cases, severe. Common side effects include
- Change in appetite
- Headache and fatigue
- Increased sweating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Diarrhea and constipation
More severe side effects can also occur. If you experience any of these, contact your medical provider immediately.
- High blood pressure
- Rigid muscles
- Kidney failure
- Respiratory issues
SSRI medications like Prozac can sometimes cause serotonin syndrome, a condition that occurs when too much serotonin is present in the body. Serotonin syndrome can cause diarrhea, confusion, rapid heart rate, and seizures. In rare cases, serotonin syndrome can be deadly, so it is very important to contact your medical provider if you experience any of these symptoms.
Prozac can be dangerous when taken by patients with certain medical conditions. If you have any of the following conditions, you should avoid taking Prozac or discuss it with your provider first.
- Liver disease
- History of bipolar disorder or suicide attempts
- Low blood sodium, dehydration
- Gastrointestinal ulcers
Prozac drug interactions
Prozac can have dangerous interactions with certain medications and substances. It is important to ask your provider about any medications you are currently taking and their possible interactions with Prozac.
The following substances should be avoided in conjunction with Prozac
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Aspirin and blood thinners
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
- St. John’s Wort
What is Viibryd?
Viibryd is the brand name for vilazodone, an SSRI antidepressant like Prozac. It works by increasing the brain’s levels of serotonin by preventing the reabsorption of this important brain chemical. Like Prozac, Viibryd helps regulate mood, improve concentration, increase energy, and more.
Common doses and forms of Viibryd
Viibryd comes in tablet form, in 3 different dosage sizes, which are color-coded. Tablets that are red are 10 mg, yellow ones are 20 mg, and blue tablets are 40 mg. Many patients begin with a 10 mg dose daily and gradually increase dosage under the guidance of their provider up to 40 mg.
Conditions Viibryd treats
Viibryd is a more potent SSRI, so it is usually only used to treat depression and related conditions. In some cases, it has been an effective treatment option for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Viibryd can treat symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
Depression and anxiety can both be caused by an imbalance of serotonin, so SSRI antidepressants like Viibryd can treat symptoms of both by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Treatable symptoms can include
- Chronic fatigue
- Lack of appetite
- Lack of interest
- Panic attacks
- Chronic nervousness
Off-label uses for Viibryd
Viibyrd is currently only FDA-approved for treating depression, but medical providers consider it safe for treating some off-label conditions, including the following:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
A month’s supply of Viibryd as a name-brand option can cost patients up to $341. In contrast, a month’s supply for the generic form, vilazodone, can be prescribed for around $15. These prices will vary depending on your insurance and location.
Viibryd side effects
Viibyrd can cause some side effects, but in general, these occur at the start of the medication and will subside after a few weeks once the body has acclimated to it. Common side effects can include the following
- Sexual dysfunction
In rare cases, Viibyrd has caused severe, potentially fatal side effects, and if you experience any of the following while taking Viibyrd, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
- Blurred vision
- Pain and swelling in the eyes
- Unusual bleeding and easy bruising
- Racing thoughts, confusion
- Increased risk-taking
- Extreme sadness and decreased inhibitions
- Severe weakness, loss of coordination
- Slurred speech
For some patients with existing medical conditions, Viibyrd can have negative effects on the symptoms of the condition. If you or anyone in your family has had any of the following conditions, you should avoid taking Viibyrd or speak to your provider about possible interactions they could have.
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Narrow-angle glaucoma
- Bipolar disorder
- Issues with sexual function
- Suicidal thoughts
- Bleeding and clotting disorders
- History of drug or alcohol addiction
Viibryd drug interactions
Viibyrd can have negative and sometimes dangerous interactions with certain medications and other substances. If you currently take any of the following medications, you should speak to your provider before taking Viibyrd, and may need to seek an alternative antidepressant.
- Stimulant medications like Adderall
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Medication for Tourette’s syndrome, such as pimozide
- Herbal supplements like St. John’s Wort
- Thioridazine and other antipsychotic medications
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Frequently Asked Questions About Prozac and Viibryd
Does Prozac Make You Gain Weight? Does Viibryd?
SSRIs can cause minor weight gain for some individuals depending on the circumstances, so Prozac and Viibyrd can both cause weight gain for some patients. For example, those who have a lack of appetite without medication may find that it increases when the serotonin levels in the brain have increased. This side-effect can taper off a few months into taking the medicine when your body has had time to become acclimated to it.
Is Prozac or Viibryd Better for Anxiety?
Both Prozac and Viibyrd can treat symptoms of anxiety. However, Prozac is more commonly used to treat anxiety disorders. In some cases, healthcare providers will prescribe Viibryd for off-label use to treat anxiety. Your provider will help you determine which medication would be the most beneficial for you.
Can I Replace Prozac with Viibryd?
Viibryd can be used in place of Prozac to treat depression, anxiety, and other symptoms. However, you will need to be prescribed Viibryd by a medical professional before replacing it with Prozac.
Is Prozac Energizing or Sedating? What About Viibryd?
Prozac can help treat symptoms of depression by increasing mood and energy levels, as does Viibryd. SSRIs are often more energizing than other antidepressants, so they are a good option if you are suffering from low energy levels.
Does Prozac Cause Brain Fog? Does Viibryd?
Brain fog includes symptoms such as trouble focusing, memory problems, inability to think clearly, losing balance, and more. Prozac and Viibryd can both cause brain fog for some patients, and if you experience this side effect, contact your provider.
Can I Drink Alcohol On Viibryd? On Prozac?
Mixing SSRIs such as Prozac and Viibryd with alcohol can have serious consequences. Taking SSRIs with alcohol heightens the effects of the alcohol, as well as any side effects you are experiencing from the antidepressant. Medical providers recommend that patients taking Prozac or Viibryd do not consume alcohol.
Can I Drink Caffeine When I’m on Viibryd? How About Prozac?
No interactions between caffeine and Viibryd or Prozac have been found, so it is considered safe to consume caffeine while taking either medication.
What Is Better For Depression—Viibryd or Prozac?
Prozac and Viibryd can both be used to successfully treat major depressive disorder and similar conditions. However, determining which one is better will depend on several factors. Your healthcare provider will review your medical history, other medications you are taking and how well you tolerate them, your symptoms, and more. Then they will make a decision as to which medication you should try. Sometimes, patients have to try more than one antidepressant to find the best match.