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Viibryd Tapering

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

Last Updated on July 20, 2021 by Carol Gillette

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 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 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 antidepressants. The drug is thought to be potently serotonergic, meaning it creates an artificial buildup of serotonin in the synapses. This is thought to be the main mechanism by which it relieves depression, but its exact workings are not known according to the drugmakers.1,4

All serotonergic drugs carry a risk for 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 which can be life-threatening.4,5

Viibryd should be taken with food to ensure maximum bioavailability. 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 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 coming off antidepressants. If this is not available to you, at the very least please find a physician who is familiar with drug withdrawals 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
  • Reducing antidepressant dosages for tapering will vary depending on how long you have taken the drug, the severity of your symptoms, and other factors. The range is generally 10-25%.8 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. For more details on safe tapering guidelines, see our antidepressant tapering page.
  • Make note of any reactions at this new level and let these settle out for 1-2 weeks, or as long 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 to fine-tune the dose. 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 microbiota is essential for mental health. Supplements and diet can help strengthen the gut microbes, which supports mental wellness.14
  • There are natural alternatives to antidepressants that may help soften withdrawals, improve mood and sleep, including bright light therapy, CBT or other counseling, and natural supplements you can discuss with your prescriber, for example, if insomnia remains unresolved. Other remedies include acupuncture, yoga, and exercise. 10-13,15
  • Ensure any changes you make to diet or supplementation are cleared by your prescriber. Do not combine other serotonergic medications while taking or tapering Viibryd as this can create a serotonin overdose which will 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 how to get off Viibryd. 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. 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 manage one’s own Viibryd tapering. Getting off Viibryd in these circumstances may seem daunting or even impossible. 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.

Authentically Addressing Root Causes for Depression, Anxiety and Other Symptoms

viibryd tapering root causesThere 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 that leads to real and authentic health improvements.

With so much research on the topics of environmental toxins and other causes for depression 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, 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 program for getting off Viibryd, but concurrently, seeks to discover the root causes for troubling symptoms. 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 environmental toxins, inadequate nutrition, trauma or loss, lack of exercise and sunlight, a dysfunctional microbiome, and others. The pharmaceutical industry does not encourage cures. 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 Prozak©.” 17

Environmental Toxins and Depression

viibryd environmental toxinsRegarding environmental toxins, Harvard 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. 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 low-temperature 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, provides fresh and purified air, and utilizes the cleanest, most pure water possible. While getting off Viibryd or other medications, concurrent removal of toxins 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. Stopping Viibryd in a toxin-free environment is mildly therapeutic all in itself. 16,18

Poor Diet and Depression

Where other contributors are found to be present, similar results occur when these are also addressed during the client’s stay. Nutritional deficiencies are tested and addressed throughout the entire program. Clean and delicious meals and snacks with a focus on fresh, mostly organic, chemical-free foods, are deliciously prepared and presented, with additional supplements as needed. Withdrawal from Viibryd is further supported by providing adequate, restorative nutrition.7,14,17,18

Unresolved Trauma and Depression

Another potential contributor to depression is unresolved past trauma, dysfunctional lifestyle or other matters. These can be addressed for relief and closure through any of the various genres of counseling and coaching, including Equine Assisted therapy, yoga, meditation, Life Coaching, trauma relief counseling, stress reduction techniques, and other forms of counseling that 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. 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 be able to understand and apply principles of self-care, including neurochemistry support, dietary needs, maintaining a healthy gut, and many other factors that can help keep the body functioning as well and efficiently as possible. This can also help a person change routines and personal care so that problems can be avoided once a client reaches the end of their Viibryd cessation treatment with us. 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.

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 for successfully tapering Viibryd.


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 2021 Jun 11]

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 2021 Jun 11]

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 2021 Jun 11]

4. FDA drug label vilazodone  (Viibryd) 2011 [online] [cited 2021 Jun 11]

5. Berman BD. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome: a review for neurohospitalistsNeurohospitalist. 2011;1(1):41-47. doi:10.1177/1941875210386491 [cited 2021 Jun 11]

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 2021 Jun 11]

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 2021 Jun 11]

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 2021 Jun 11]

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 2021 Jun 11]

10. Seasonal Affective Disorder Canadian Mental Health Association British Columbia Division [cited 2021 Jun 11]

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 2021 Jun 11]

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 2021 Jun 11]

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 2021 Jun 11]

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 2021 Jun 11]

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 2021 Jun 11]

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 2021 Jun 11]

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

18. Lachance L, Ramsey D. Food, mood, and brain health: implications for the modern clinicianMo Med. 2015;112(2):111-115. [cited 2021 Jun 11]


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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Viibryd Tapering
Medical Disclaimer:
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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