(BPT) - Have you noticed that someone important to you seems to be feeling sad, empty and lacking energy? Have they lost interest in activities they once enjoyed? Has this been going on for two weeks or more? It’s possible that they may be experiencing symptoms of depression.
People with depression may not recognize that they're depressed or they may feel ashamed, mistakenly thinking they should be able to overcome any negative feelings with willpower alone. They may feel like it’s their fault that they’re not enjoying things they once liked to do and not know what to do about it. Depression usually does not get better without treatment and can even get worse, which is why it is important to speak up if you think someone you care about may be suffering.
Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, the Betty Jo Hay Distinguished Chair in Mental Health at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, offers advice about how you can help your loved one recognize the symptoms of depression and take steps toward improving.
Q. What should I know about depression?
A. Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, is more than just feeling sad. It is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, along with other symptoms, interfere with day-to-day activities for a long period of time. It is widely believed that major depressive disorder is the result of an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain, which is believed to influence a person’s mood. Although more than 15 million Americans suffer from MDD each year, the majority of people diagnosed can be effectively treated.
Symptoms can include depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, significant weight loss or gain, insomnia or sleeping too much, psychomotor agitation, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, diminished ability to think or concentrate, and recurrent thoughts of death.
Q. How can I suggest to my loved one that they should get help?
A. You can begin by telling your loved one that you've noticed a change in them, that you're concerned and suggest they may consider seeing a medical professional.Talking openly with a professional about their symptoms may help your loved one identify actions they can take, including medication. To help them feel more comfortable before the appointment, you can also help them draft a list of questions to ask. While it may be uncomfortable to bring up concerns about medication or side effects, it is important that your loved one try to establish an open line of communication with his or her healthcare professional. That’s what doctors are here for. The more they know, the better they can help tailor treatment to meet an individual’s needs.
Q. What types of medications are available?
A. There are a number of different antidepressant options available that can help reduce symptoms of depression. VIIBRYD® (vilazodone HCl), which became available in 2011, is the medication most recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat depression in adults. While the exact way in which VIIBRYD—or any other medication for depression—works is unknown, it is thought to affect the activity of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter known to play a key role in regulating mood.
Q. What else can I do?
A. After you take the first step by approaching your loved one and letting them know you are concerned, you can be a valuable source of support during their treatment. While the best way for friends and family to help a person who’s depressed will vary from patient to patient, just being there to listen when needed can be important. Have patience and understand that treatment takes time.
Important Risk Information
VIIBRYD® (vilazodone HCl) is indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults.
Important Risk Information
What is the most important information I should know about VIIBRYD?
VIIBRYD and other antidepressant medicines may cause serious side effects. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the symptoms described below, or call 911 if there is an emergency.
Suicidality and Antidepressant Drugs
Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, teens, and young adults. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. VIIBRYD is not approved for use in patients under 18. For more information on this risk, please read the VIIBRYD Medication Guide in the accompanying full Prescribing Information.
Serotonin Syndrome: Agitation, hallucinations, coma or other changes in mental status; coordination problems or muscle twitching; fast heartbeat, high or low blood pressure; sweating or fever; nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; muscle stiffness or tightness.
Abnormal bleeding: VIIBRYD and other antidepressant medicines may increase your risk of bleeding or bruising, especially if you take the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), or aspirin.
Seizures or convulsions.
Manic episodes: Greatly increased energy; severe trouble sleeping; racing thoughts; reckless behavior; unusually grand ideas; excessive happiness or irritability; talking more or faster than usual.
Low salt (sodium) levels in the blood: Elderly people may be at greater risk for this. Symptoms may include headache; weakness or feeling unsteady; confusion, problems concentrating or thinking or memory problems.
Who should not take VIIBRYD?
- Do not take any drugs known as MAOIs within 14 days of stopping VIIBRYD
- Do not start VIIBRYD if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 14 days
- Do not start VIIBRYD if you are taking linezolid (a specific antibiotic) or are receiving intravenous methylene blue
People who take VIIBRYD close in time to taking an MAOI may have serious or even life-threatening side effects.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before starting VIIBRYD?
- Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements you are taking or plan to take, including:
— Triptans used to treat migraine headaches; medicines used to treat mood, anxiety, psychotic or thought disorders, including tricyclics, lithium, SSRIs, SNRIs, buspirone, or antipsychotics; tramadol, mephenytoin (Mesantoin) or over-the-counter supplements such as tryptophan or St. John’s Wort; this is necessary to avoid a potentially life-threatening condition
— Aspirin, NSAID pain relievers, or blood thinners (warfarin, Coumadin, or Jantoven) because they may increase the risk of bleeding
- Speak with your doctor if you:
– Have kidney or liver problems
– Have or had mania, bipolar disorder (manic depression), seizures or convulsions
– Have or had bleeding problems. VIIBRYD may increase your risk of bleeding or bruising
– Have low salt (sodium) levels in your blood or are taking diuretics (water pills)
– Are nursing, pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant or to breastfeed
Do not stop VIIBRYD without first talking to your healthcare provider.
- Stopping VIIBRYD suddenly may cause serious symptoms including: anxiety, irritability, high or low mood, feeling restless or sleepy; headache, sweating, nausea, dizziness; electric shock-like sensations, tremor, and confusion.
What should I avoid when taking VIIBRYD?
- Until you know how VIIBRYD affects you, you should not drive, operate heavy machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking VIIBRYD.
What are the most common side effects of VIIBRYD?
- The most common side effects in people taking VIIBRYD include diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, and trouble sleeping.
- Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of VIIBRYD. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
Please also see Medication Guide within the full Prescribing Information.
Please visit www.viibryd.com for more information and to view the full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide, or contact Forest Laboratories, Inc. at 1-800-678-1605. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
VIIBYRD® is a registered trademark of Forest Laboratories, Inc.
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