Depression Home > Viibryd and Pregnancy

When pregnant animals were given high doses of Viibryd (vilazodone), it caused several problems in the offspring, including delayed bone development. Due to these potential risks, the United States Food and Drug Administration has classified Viibryd as a pregnancy Category C medication. However, untreated depression also poses risks to both you and your baby, so talk to your doctor about your options for depression treatment.

Can I Take Viibryd When Pregnant?

Viibryd™ (vilazodone) is a prescription medication licensed to treat major depressive disorder, sometimes called clinical depression or just major depression. This medication may not be safe for use during pregnancy, though the full risks are not yet known.

What Is Pregnancy Category C?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category C is given to medicines that have not been studied in pregnant humans but appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies.
Medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
Viibryd has not been studied in pregnant women. In animal studies, giving very high doses (up to 48 times the maximum recommended human dose) of Viibryd to pregnant rats and rabbits reduced fetal body weight and delayed bone development. Somewhat lower doses (up to 10 times the maximum recommended human dose) did not cause these problems.
When high doses of Viibryd were given to rats during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, offspring growth and survival were reduced. It also took longer for the offspring to develop into mature rats.
Using antidepressants during the third trimester may cause problems in the newborn infant, including withdrawal symptoms and symptoms consistent with serotonin syndrome (a cluster of symptoms associated with taking medications that affect serotonin). Such signs in a newborn may include but are not limited to:
  • Irritability
  • Jitteriness
  • Constant crying
  • Feeding problems
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing problems
  • Low or high muscle tone
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Tremors
  • Seizures.
Babies who are exposed to certain antidepressants during late pregnancy are also at an increased risk of developing persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). PPHN is associated with significant complications and even death. Based on the way Viibryd works, it likely increases the risk of PPHN.
However, it is important to note that animals do not always respond to medicines in the same way that humans do. Therefore, a pregnancy Category C medicine may be given to a pregnant woman if the healthcare provider believes that the benefits to the woman outweigh any possible risks to the unborn child.
It should be noted that untreated depression may increase the risk of low birth weight, as well as pre-term labor. In addition, severe depression can be quite disabling, making it difficult to take care of yourself. Therefore, it is very important that you seek treatment if you are depressed while pregnant.
The decision on whether to use psychotherapy (counseling) or medications to treat depression during pregnancy is a highly individual one. Talk to your healthcare provider about all the possible treatment options. Your healthcare provider will consider things such as how severe your depression is and what has worked for you in the past when helping you choose the best treatment for your depression.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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