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Original Research

A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, 8-Week Study of Vilazodone, a Serotonergic Agent for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder

Arif Khan, MD; Andrew J. Cutler, MD; Daniel K. Kajdasz, PhD; Susan Gallipoli, RN; Maria Athanasiou, PhD; Donald S. Robinson, MD; Heidi Whalen, MHS; and Carol R. Reed, MD

Published: April 15, 2011

Article Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy, and further establish the safety profile, of oral once-daily vilazodone, a potent and selective serotonin 1A receptor partial agonist and reuptake inhibitor, in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD).

Method: This phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 8-week study (conducted March 2008-February 2009) enrolled 481 adults with DSM-IV-TR-defined MDD. Patients received vilazodone (titrated to 40 mg/d) or placebo. The primary efficacy endpoint was change in Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) total score from baseline to end of treatment. Secondary efficacy measures included MADRS and 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS-17) response and change in HDRS-17, HDRS-21, Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS), Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness (CGI-S), and Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement (CGI-I) scores. The Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire (CSFQ) was administered at baseline and week 8.

Results: Vilazodone-treated patients had significantly greater improvement (P = .009) according to the MADRS than placebo patients (intent-to-treat; least-squares mean changes: -13.3, -10.8). MADRS response rates were significantly higher with vilazodone than placebo (44% vs 30%, P = .002). Remission rates for vilazodone were not significantly different based on the MADRS (vilazodone, 27.3% vs placebo, 20.3%; P = .066) or HDRS-17 (vilazodone, 24.2% vs placebo, 17.7%; P = .088). Vilazodone-treated patients had significantly greater improvements from baseline in HDRS-17 (P = .026), HDRS-21 (P = .029), HARS (P = .037), CGI-S (P = .004), and CGI-I (P = .004) scores than placebo patients. Rates of discontinuation due to adverse events were 5.1% (vilazodone) and 1.7% (placebo). The most common adverse events (vilazodone vs placebo) were diarrhea (31% vs 11%), nausea (26% vs 6%), and headache (13% vs 10%). Treatment-related effects on sexual function as measured by the CSFQ were small and similar to placebo. Effects on weight were no different from placebo.

Conclusions: Vilazodone 40 mg/d was well tolerated and effective in adult patients with MDD.

Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT00683592

J Clin Psychiatry 2011;72(4):441-447

Submitted: September 24, 2010; accepted March 18, 2011 (doi:10.4088/JCP.10m06596).

Corresponding author: Arif Khan, MD, Northwest Clinical Research Center, 1951 152nd Pl NE, Ste #200, Bellevue, WA 98007 (

Volume: 72

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