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Monday, July 18, 2011

New AntiDepressant - Viibryd

So about 10 days ago I finally had my appointment with the Psychiatrist to see what could be done about this major case of depression I've been under for the last 3 months.  My GP had given me a script for Welbutrin to try in the meantime and while it did help a little, it didn't come close to helping enough.

Viibryd
I'm not a fan of trying to the latest and greatest new drugs, I'd rather go with tried and true first. Let someone else be the guinea pig!  However, it seems that my new Pdoc is rather "cutting edge" when it comes to meds and the first direction she went was with a VERY new med called Viibryd.  After reading up on it, it seems that it in some ways does the job of both a typical SSRI med but then also works similar to Abilify, affecting SSRI's two ways, via the usual channels and then also through the 5-HT1 receptors.  She was hopeful this would work, and I was as well.

I've learned the hard way, that it's best to research a med BEFORE you take it rather than finding out really bad potential side effects the hard way.  It seems like Drs are always happy to tell you that a drug has minimal side effects (and most do for MOST people).  I'm  not most people and I'd told this Dr that I'm what I call a 2%er. If a drug has a negative side effect for 2% of the people, I will likely have that side effect. After doing a cursory Google search on this drug, I discovered a few things:
1. There is very little info out there about this drug. It's so new that it's not even in the lists on some of the major drug list sites.
2. It was just approved in January of this year and just made available in the spring; making user reports from those who have reached the full dosage for any length of time almost non-existant.
3. It has minimal side effects, including almost no sexual side effects (that's something you never see in an ad med).  The most reported side effect is intestinal upset.

So, I gave it a try, taking my first dose that Friday after my appointment (10 days ago).  The Pdoc gave me a 30 day sample pack, starting with 10mg as the initial dose, eventually reaching 40mg (if tolerable).  The week prior to this appointment I'd been having a terrible week, breaking down crying just about every day over nothing.  I freaked out on my husband and cried on him for hours.  The poor guy didn't know what to do.  This occurred again Saturday (dose 2).  Sunday was still a little rough, but not nearly as bad.  However, by Monday (dose 4) I was feeling so much better; calm and cool.  I can't say I was to the point of feeling really  happy yet, but it was just a nice calm.  I was experiencing the stomach upset and lower GI issues that I'd read about.  But, these are common with new meds and I figured they would go away after a few days.

Over the course of that first week, I felt something I hadn't felt in the 3 months of this great depression, something akin to sexual feelings.  If you've ever dealt with major depression, you've likely gone through the periods where you just really didn't care about sex.  The only thing related to sex that I cared about was how the lack of sex was affecting my husband (and thus potentially our relationship).  I knew he understood, but that doesn't make it any easier on him.

Viibryd starter pack via nih.gov


Only once in the last 10 days have I been really anxious or agitated.  I think it was day 8 when I woke up just totally agitated and ended up taking a xanex just to calm myself down.  I evidently needed it as it actually knocked me out for a little while (much needed nap), and I woke up feeling much better.

It's now day 10.  Today was my third dose at 20mg (halfway to full dosage) and I can honestly say that I woke up feeling good.  I actually got on the treadmill (like I should) and walked with no issue. I was happy when I woke up.  Last night, I jumped my husband.

I am hoping I'm not speaking too soon, but at this point I'm feeling like Viibryd may be giving me my life back.  Reading user reviews (at the one site where I could find them), I see few people getting to 40mg and staying there.  It seems that most end up returning to 20mg, I'll find out this coming weekend how 40mg and I will get along.  I also worry (as I do with any drug) about the long term affects.  I wonder this even more so with something that is so new, if there are long term affects, it will be those of us early users who will find out about them.  I think back to so many drugs that have hit the market and seemed like some sort of a wonder drug, only to have them recalled years later when the long term affects are discovered.  That part does scare me, but right now this drug is what I need in order to start returning to life again.

*EDIT/UPDATE* -
For those hitting this page, without reading my full blog I wanted to share the rest of the story.

My journey with Viibryd ended shortly after I hit the max dosage. Evidently, I was getting too much Serotonin since I was also still on Savella for my Fibro. The second day on the full dosage of Viibryd I ended up in the ER with chest pains and found out my blood pressure was high. Over the next week it remained extremely high until my Dr took me off the Viibryd. She agreed that it may have been a slight case of Serotonin Syndrome (I was also starting to have muscle twitches again and some other symptoms of Serotonin Syndrome).

In 2012 I made some major changes to my diet and after a few months I was able to come off all anti-depressants and am back to just my basic Fibro meds and I'm doing ok. I've been making an effort to get out more and see people and spend time with friends. That has helped way more than any med ever did. For those finding my blog for the Viibryd review, I wish you luck. I do think this is a good med and I think had I not had the interaction issue I might have done well on it. If you are considering it, I'd give it a try.
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