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Viibryd Tapering

This entry was posted in Antidepressant on by .
Medically Reviewed Fact Checked

Last Updated on May 31, 2022 by Diane Ridaeus

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

Alternative to Meds Center is able to provide our clients with safe, gradual and comfortable Viibryd tapering and holistic Viibryd withdrawal programs in our beautiful inpatient setting.

Getting off Viibryd (or other prescription medications) does not have to be harsh and uncomfortable. To the contrary, when done properly, withdrawal from Viibryd can be not only tolerable but can be surprisingly gentle.

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About Viibryd

Viibryd is an SSRI antidepressant that was FDA approved in 2011 for the treatment of MDD in adults. It carries the same suicide and worsening symptoms black box warning as all other SSRI antidepressants. As you find out more about how this drug works, a bettered understanding of how to approach Viibryd withdrawal in a gentle and safe manner becomes more clear. The drug is potently serotonergic, meaning it has been designed to target serotonin, which is a naturally occurring hormone /neurotransmitter. Viibryd has been designed to create an artificial buildup of serotonin by blocking or inhibiting its normal transmission along the nerve pathways. This is assumed to be the main mechanism by which SSRI drugs relieve depression, but the exact workings are not known according to the drugmakers. No drug creates natural serotonin but can certainly exhaust the extant serotonin in the body by this process because the blocked molecules are subject to degradation and loss over time. Serotonin receptors are also affected, becoming weakened and dysfunctional.1,4,19

All serotonergic drugs carry a risk for too much serotonin to build up which can initiate serotonin syndrome and neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Serotonin syndrome and NMS are similar reactions to serotonin toxicity resulting in anxiety and other altered mental states, restlessness, rashes, fever, skin eruptions, muscle rigidity, unconsciousness, coma, heart problems, respiratory problems, and can be life-threatening without immediate emergency medical treatment.4,5

How Long Does it Take to Get Viibryd Out of Your System?

Viibryd has a half-life of about 25 hours. Half-life is how long it takes for half the drug to be eliminated from the body. Typically this is the time when withdrawals will begin to emerge if the dose is not readministered. The time of onset of Viibryd withdrawal symptoms can vary from 1 to 3 days.6 To avoid harsh withdrawals, gradually tapering Viibryd is the recommended approach.1,2,4

Viibryd Tapering Guidelines

Tapering Viibryd should be done gradually and always with medical oversight and guidance. We recommend inpatient care for Viivryd withdrawal, and in general for coming off any of the SSRI antidepressants. If inpatient treatment is not available to you, at the very least please find a physician who is familiar with Viivryd withdrawal and who is sympathetic to your situation and willing to work with you. Holistic physicians, nutritional psychiatrists, and other like-minded medical practitioners will be good choices.7

Guidelines for tapering Viibryd include:

  • viibryd tapering guidelinesTapering Viibryd means gradually reducing the dosage over time. To make configuring the dose easier, consider asking your physician for the lowest dose pills. Viibryd comes in 10 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg, which is the highest dose pill.4.8
  • Reduced antidepressant dosages for tapering will vary depending on how long you have taken the drug, the severity of your symptoms, and other factors. The starting range generally recommended is 10-25%, with incremental reductions as the process goes forward.8 Reductions may be recommended as the taper proceeds to well below the therapeutic minimums toward the end of the taper.22 If your physician recommends a 25% reduction to start with, and you are taking 40 mg daily, a combination of 1 x 10 mg + 1 x 20 mg would total 30 mg for a 25% reduction. The incremental cuts would decrease as the taper continues. For more details on safe tapering guidelines, see our antidepressant tapering page.
  • During Viibryd withdrawal, you may wish to make note of any reactions at each new level and let these settle out for 1-2 weeks, or longer as needed. If you feel the dosage reduction needs to be slowed, discuss this with your physician. It may be necessary to cut the 10 mg pill in halves or quarters or even less to fine-tune the dose reduction. As with all antidepressants, make sure to discuss thoughts of self-harm or suicide with your prescriber as these are known side effects that may indicate your taper speed or other factors need to be adjusted.4,9
  • Diet is an important consideration before, during, and even after tapering medications. Please view the information on orthomolecular medicine for guidance on dietary changes that may help. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for mental health. Supplements and diet can help strengthen the desirable gut microbe balance, which is foundational for mental and physical wellness.14,25
  • More and more, physicians are becoming more knowledgeable about the many natural alternatives to antidepressants that may help soften Viibryd withdrawal and improve mood and sleep. Examples include bright light therapy, CBT or other counseling, and natural supplements that you can discuss with your prescriber. For insomnia, speak to your physician about a supplement called L-Theanine which may be useful as a natural aid to promote relaxation and help initiate better quality sleep. Other remedies include acupuncture, yoga, and exercise. 10-13,15,20
  • Ensure any changes you make to diet or supplementation are cleared by your prescribing physician. Do not combine other serotonergic medications while taking or tapering Viibryd as this can create serotonin toxicity and lead to reactions that could prolong your taper.4

Trying to Quit Viibryd On Your Own vs Inpatient Care

Each person is unique. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach that works best for Viibryd withdrawal. But in these extraordinary times of new research and a better understanding of human health and mental wellness, a program can be designed that will attempt to best fit the intricate requirements of each individual enrolled in our Viibryd tapering program.

A person may have been started on a course of prescription drug(s) to try and find relief from certain symptoms that were troubling and persistent. Quite a large percentage of those who were prescribed antidepressants do not experience the relief they had hoped for. Doctors will call this “treatment-resistant depression,” and this can lead to an all too common scenario, where treatment with prescription drugs becomes a series of failed experiments, first trying one drug and then another, and so on.  Recent research concludes that long-term use of SSRIs is not recommended.22 This practice can lead to not only a worsening of original symptoms, but new symptoms can also emerge both from drug side effects, and the withdrawal symptoms that switching drugs can produce.2,8

It is not uncommon for these lingering and persistent symptoms to become unmanageable. It may be asking quite a lot for a person when compromised by such things as impaired memory, physical aches and pains, dysfunctional digestion, lack of energy, lack of direction, or a hopeless and darkened mood to then be able to manage one’s own Viibryd tapering. Withdrawal from Viibryd in these circumstances may seem daunting or even impossible. Please call us at Alternative to Meds for help, or seek guidance from a prescriber who is familiar with the difficulties you are experiencing.

A properly managed and administered Viibryd withdrawal program can significantly ease this burden. Our Viibryd tapering program has helped thousands of clients to overcome the challenges of how to get off Viibryd gently, gradually, and in a compassionate environment with medical oversight and 24/7 staff care. The programs at Alternative to Meds Center blend a wide range of therapies designed to significantly unburden the process of stopping Viibryd.

Can You Stop Taking Viibryd Cold Turkey?

According to recently published research in the Lancet Journal of Psychiatry, all drugs prescribed to treat depression can initiate withdrawal symptoms. The research indicates that stopping Viibryd abruptly can result in harsh, intolerable withdrawal symptoms that may become so severe that a patient may resort to resuming the medication to get relief. Poorly trained physicians have often misinterpreted withdrawals as “recurrent mental illness” and have not had the tools or knowledge to help reduce the patient’s reactions, resulting in long-term prescriptions for drugs that should never be prescribed long-term. The most recent research indicates that tapering off SSRI medications is best done incrementally downward, gradually, and very, very slowly, to levels that are well below therapeutic minimums over more than the 2-4 week estimate that was likely recommended in the past. By slowing the withdrawal process, one may avoid these harsh Viibryd withdrawal phenomena.21,22

Authentically Addressing Root Causes for Depression, Anxiety, and Other Symptoms

viibryd tapering root causesWhile it may help in many ways, Viibryd withdrawal may not be the entire solution you need. There may be little benefit to tapering Viibryd if the original symptoms have not been addressed and eliminated or at least greatly reduced. Our focus is extended well beyond simply stopping Viibryd. We help the client discover root causes for their original troubling and lingering symptoms that drug therapy did not resolve. Where ongoing drug treatment has not provided the relief a person was hoping for, Viibryd tapering may be the first step on a path leading to real and lasting mental health improvements.

With so much research on the topics of environmental toxins and other causes for depression and mood disorders that is now available, we can approach the problem in other ways than simply trying to mask symptoms with numbing drugs. We offer an individualized program using alternative approaches to address depression, anxiety, and other symptoms. Based on scientific research, Alternative to Meds has opened the door to vibrant health, and authentic and lasting results, without needing to rely on prescription medications.16

The Alternative to Meds program seeks to not only manage a safe and gradual Viibryd withdrawal program for not only getting off Viibryd but concurrently, seeks to discover the root causes for troubling symptoms that drug therapy did not successfully resolve. Once the root causes have been isolated, then these can be addressed in logical ways to provide relief for our client during the process of Viibryd tapering. There are many potential contributors to original unwanted and lingering symptoms, such as exposure to environmental toxins, inadequate nutrition, trauma or loss, lack of exercise and sunlight, a dysfunctional microbiome, allergies, exposure to mycotoxins, an unfulfilling lifestyle, and others. The pharmaceutical industry does not encourage cures and is clear about not promising them to its consumers. However, in the world of holistic medicine, the focus is quite different. As Pizzomo so aptly states in his fascinating article published in the 2016 Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, “Depression is not caused by a lack of Prozac©.” 17

Environmental Toxins and Depression

viibryd environmental toxinsRegarding environmental toxins, research has shown that exposure to toxic materials can lead to depression, anxiety, and many other reactions. Toxins can be found just about everywhere, in our homes, places of work, industrial and agricultural settings, and even in our lakes and rivers. 24 Sometimes toxic exposure will present immediate reactions. It is also possible that exposure to chemicals can go on for years before symptoms begin to appear. Therefore, testing for the presence of any accumulations of toxic substances is important. If found, the situation can be resolved by gently eliminating these accumulations. Using non-invasive methods such as sauna, nebulized glutathione treatments, bentonite clay, colon hydrotherapy, and other means, these poisons can be removed and this cleansing action tends to take the toxic burden off the central nervous system, allowing it to function more efficiently.7

Our center uses only non-toxic cleaning agents, soaps, and personal care items. Clients at the center are provided fresh and purified indoor air, and the cleanest, most pure water possible. Viibryd withdrawal can be supported by concurrently removing damaging toxins from the system, which very commonly results in reports from our clients mentioning better quality, deeper sleep, better appetite, a lift in mood, more energy, and overall feeling brighter and lighter once these toxins have been purged from the body. At the center, Viibryd withdrawal happens in a toxin-free, pleasant environment, made as comfortable as possible.16,18

Poor Diet and Depression

Correction of diet is also addressed during the client’s stay. Nutritional deficiencies are tested and addressed with modifications to diet plus therapeutic supplementation throughout the entire program. Clean and delicious meals and snacks with a focus on fresh, mostly organic and locally sourced, chemical-free foods, are chef-prepared and presented, and are a consistently popular feature of day-to-day life at the center. Withdrawal from Viibryd benefits greatly from being supported by restorative nutrition throughout the process.7,14,17,18

Unresolved Trauma and Depression

Other potential contributors to depression may be unresolved past trauma, loss, dysfunctional lifestyle, or other matters. The published research of Beck et al showed that CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) was more efficacious than medication for treating depression, with longer-lasting results.23 At Alternative to Meds Center, mental distress and other issues are addressed for relief and closure with counseling of various genres and Life Coaching. Other available treatments include Equine Assisted therapy, yoga, Qi Gongtherapeutic massage, IV + NAD treatments, trauma relief and other counseling, acupuncture, stress reduction techniques, holistic pain management, and co-occurring disorders programs.  These and other services are offered during the client’s Viibryd tapering program. The welcoming and nurturing character of the Alternative to Meds inpatient residential programs also provides comfort within its healing, supportive atmosphere for recovery during Viibryd withdrawal. Addressing all of these factors can play a vital role in how to successfully get off Viibryd or other prescription drugs.

Education and Wellness

Education is an incredibly helpful way to empower clients to understand and apply principles of self-care, including learning about neurochemistry and how to support it, dietary needs, guidelines and benefits of maintaining a healthy gut, and much practical information that will provide certainty and confidence in self-care after leaving the program and returning home. Much research has come forward on the relationship between healthy gut flora and mental wellness.25 

With knowledge, a person can make improvements to daily routines and personal care so that success can be maintained once a client reaches the end of their Viibryd withdrawal and recovery treatment with us.

At Alternative to Meds Center we offer training programs for physicians who are interested in expanding their treatment portfolio, to begin utilizing more natural and holistic ways to help their patients. If this is a point of interest for you, please contact the center directly for more information.

Find Out More About the Alternative to Meds Program

We are here to help. Please contact us for more detailed information on the various holistic genres of treatment that are used in the Alternative to Meds Programs and find out why holistic, evidence-based Viibryd tapering and the comprehensive use of withdrawal protocols may be exactly what you have been searching for.


1. Cruz MP. Vilazodone HCl (Viibryd): A Serotonin Partial Agonist and Reuptake Inhibitor For the Treatment of Major Depressive DisorderP T. 2012;37(1):28-31.  [cited 2022 May 31]

2. Warner CH, Bobo W, Warner C, Reid S, Rachal J. Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 2006 Aug 1;74(3):449-56. PMID: 16913164. [cited 2022 May 31]

3. Stuivenga M, Giltay EJ, Cools O, Roosens L, Neels H, Sabbe B. Evaluation of vilazodone for the treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2019 Feb;20(3):251-260. doi: 10.1080/14656566.2018.1549542. Epub 2018 Nov 26. PMID: 30475091.  [cited 2022 May 31]

4. FDA drug label vilazodone  (Viibryd) 2011 [online]  [cited 2022 May 31]

5. Berman BD. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome: a review for neurohospitalistsNeurohospitalist. 2011;1(1):41-47. doi:10.1177/1941875210386491  [cited 2022 May 31]

6. Gury C, Cousin F. Pharmacocinétique des ISRS: notion de demi-vie d’élimination et implications cliniques [Pharmacokinetics of SSRI antidepressants: half-life and clinical applicability]. Encephale. 1999 Sep-Oct;25(5):470-6. French. PMID: 10598311.  [cited 2022 May 31]

7. Adan RAH, van der Beek EM, Buitelaar JK, Cryan JF, Hebebrand J, Higgs S, Schellekens H, Dickson SL. Nutritional psychiatry: Towards improving mental health by what you eat. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2019 Dec;29(12):1321-1332. doi: 10.1016/j.euroneuro.2019.10.011. Epub 2019 Nov 14. PMID: 31735529.  [cited 2022 May 31]

8. Keks N, Hope J, Keogh S. Switching and stopping antidepressants. Aust Prescr. 2016;39(3):76-83. doi:10.18773/austprescr.2016.039  [cited 2022 May 31]

9. Bitter I, Filipovits D, Czobor P. Adverse reactions to duloxetine in depression. Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2011 Nov;10(6):839-50. doi: 10.1517/14740338.2011.582037. Epub 2011 May 5. PMID: 21545241.  [cited 2022 May 31]

10. Seasonal Affective Disorder Canadian Mental Health Association British Columbia Division [cited 2022 May 31] 

11. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Mood Disorders: Efficacy, Moderators and Mediators Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2010 Sep; 33(3): 537–555. Ellen Driessen, M.Sc. and Steven D. Hollon, Ph.D.  [cited 2022 May 31]

12. Unhealthy and unhappy: Mental toll of troubled relationships. Some forms of domestic violence double victims’ risk of depression and anxiety disorders later in life, according to recent research. The University of Queensland. January 29, 2020. [cited 2022 May 31] 

13. Sleep disorders as core symptoms of depression Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2008 Sep; 10(3): 329–336. David Nutt, DM, FRCP, FRCPsych, FMedSci, Sue Wilson, PhD, and Louise Paterson, PhD  [cited 2022 May 31]

14. Grosso G. Nutritional Psychiatry: How Diet Affects Brain through Gut Microbiota. Nutrients. 2021 Apr 14;13(4):1282. doi: 10.3390/nu13041282. PMID: 33919680; PMCID: PMC8070365.  [cited 2022 May 31]

15. Sharma A, Madaan V, Petty FD. Exercise for mental healthPrim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2006;8(2):106. doi:10.4088/pcc.v08n0208a  [cited 2022 May 31] 

16. Brown JS Jr. Psychiatric issues in toxic exposures. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2007 Dec;30(4):837-54. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2007.07.004. PMID: 17938048.  [cited 2022 May 31]

17. Pizzorno J. Can We Say “Cure”?. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2016;15(5):8-12.[cited 2022 May 31]

18. Lachance L, Ramsey D. Food, mood, and brain health: implications for the modern clinicianMo Med. 2015;112(2):111-115. [cited 2022 May 31] 

19.  Sangkuhl K, Klein TE, Altman RB. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors pathwayPharmacogenet Genomics. 2009;19(11):907-909. doi:10.1097/FPC.0b013e32833132cb  [cited 2022 May 31]

20.  Rao TP, Ozeki M, Juneja LR. In Search of a Safe Natural Sleep Aid. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015;34(5):436-47. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2014.926153. Epub 2015 Mar 11. PMID: 25759004. [cited 2022 May 31] 

21.  Horowitz MA, Taylor D. Tapering of SSRI treatment to mitigate withdrawal symptoms. Lancet Psychiatry. 2019 Jun;6(6):538-546. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30032-X. Epub 2019 Mar 5. PMID: 30850328.  [cited 2022 May 31]

22.  Danborg PB, Valdersdorf M, Gøtzsche PC. Long-term harms from previous use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: A systematic review. Int J Risk Saf Med. 2019;30(2):59-71. doi: 10.3233/JRS-180046. PMID: 30714974; PMCID: PMC6839490. [cited 2022 May 31] 

23.  Rush, A.J., Beck, A.T., Kovacs, M. et al. Comparative efficacy of cognitive therapy and pharmacotherapy in the treatment of depressed outpatientsCogn Ther Res 1, 17–37 (1977). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01173502  [cited 2022 May 31]

24.  Newbury JB, Stewart R, Fisher HL, Beevers S, Dajnak D, Broadbent M, Pritchard M, Shiode N, Heslin M, Hammoud R, Hotopf M, Hatch SL, Mudway IS, Bakolis I. Association between air pollution exposure and mental health service use among individuals with first presentations of psychotic and mood disorders: retrospective cohort study. Br J Psychiatry. 2021 Dec;219(6):678-685. doi: 10.1192/bjp.2021.119. PMID: 35048872; PMCID: PMC8636613. [cited 2022 May 31]

25.  Malan-Muller S, Valles-Colomer M, Raes J, Lowry CA, Seedat S, Hemmings SMJ. The Gut Microbiome and Mental Health: Implications for Anxiety- and Trauma-Related Disorders. OMICS. 2018 Feb;22(2):90-107. doi: 10.1089/omi.2017.0077. Epub 2017 Aug 2. PMID: 28767318. [cited 2022 May 31]


Originally Published Nov 2, 2019 by Lyle Murphy


This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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