Psychiatry Investig.  2015 Apr;12(2):155-163. 10.4306/pi.2015.12.2.155.

Vilazodone for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder: Focusing on Its Clinical Studies and Mechanism of Action

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.
  • 4Global Medical Education, New York, NY, USA.


We tried to review and update clinical and preclinical studies evaluating vilazodone's role as an antidepressant for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). In terms of its mechanism of actions, we sought to elaborate them mainly through preclinical animal studies. A data search was conducted in November 1, 2013, using the key terms "vilazodone" or "Viibryd," in PubMed and Medline databases. All published and unpublished studies are included and citations from publications were also reviewed for additional references. Five unpublished, phase-II and two pivotal published phase-III clinical trials with nearly identical design (8-week, double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled) investigated efficacy of vilazodone, were found for the treatment of patients with MDD. Two post-hoc studies and one long-term open study were also included. Data were thoroughly reviewed to incorporate the pharmacology, action mechanism, efficacy and safety for the vilazodone in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Vilazodone is an antidepressant with novel mechanism of action because its chemical structure is unrelated to conventional antidepressant, and it has a selective serotonin (5-HT) reuptake inhibitor and 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist profile. Vilazodone is an effective and safe treatment option with its novel action mechanisms for patients with depression. Its putative benefits compared with other antidepressants must be thoroughly studied in adequately-powered and well-designed future clinical trials.


Vilazodone; Antidepressant; Novel mechanism; Efficacy; Safety

MeSH Terms

Antidepressive Agents
Depressive Disorder, Major*
Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1A
Vilazodone Hydrochloride
Antidepressive Agents
Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT1A
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