Introduction: Major depressive disorder (MDD) is characterized by dysfunction in cognition, behavior, and physical functioning, and is associated with a chronic clinical course. There are barriers to successful treatment, which often result in early discontinuation and relapse. Adverse effects (AEs) remain the most commonly cited reason for discontinuation of treatment with conventional antidepressants, particularly early on in therapy. This often translates into relapse of symptoms or recurrence of the depressive episode. The delay to therapeutic response also has a meaningful implication for treatment adherence.
Areas covered: This article focuses on the implications of a novel entity for the treatment of depression; the first new molecule developed for this indication in the last 10 years. Vilazodone is a novel dual-acting serotonergic antidepressant, which is a selective and potent inhibitor of serotonin reuptake, as well as a selective partial agonist of the 5-HT(1A) receptor.
Expert opinion: The data available in the literature so far indicate clinical efficacy over placebo and a rather benign adverse event profile. Whether the early onset of clinical efficacy observed in one of the two pivotal studies represents a true or only a chance phenomenon, only future studies can tell. Adverse effects are mostly mild-moderate and most GI type AEs disappear in about one week, at a time when all patients are still on a clinically suboptimal daily dosage (10 mg/d during the first week). Sexual AEs did not differ from placebo. Vilazodone represents an interesting addition to the arsenal of available antidepressants.