Vilazodone for Corticosteroid-Induced Memory Impairment


The purpose of this study is to determine if vilazodone attenuates hydrocortisone-induced impairment in declarative memory in healthy controls. Corticosteroids are associated with reversible changes in declarative memory. This study will examine whether vilazodone blocks these memory changes and whether vilazodone attenuates hydrocortisone-induced mood changes in healthy controls.


We believe that vilazodone, a serotonin 1A (5-HT1A) receptor partial agonist, may be another medication that blocks the effects of hydrocortisone on the human hippocampus. Corticosterone is the primary stress hormone in most non-primates while cortisol serves a similar role in humans. The 5-HT1A receptor is, in part, regulated by corticosterone. Given these data we hypothesize that vilazodone will attenuate the effects of hydrocortisone on declarative memory in healthy controls.


  • Men and women
  • Ages 18-50
  • Completed high school
  • General good health
  • No history of mood disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia
  • No history of drug or alcohol abuse/dependence
  • Not currently using tobacco
  • No history of neurological disorders, including multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, and seizures

The duration of the study is two 3-week cycles, with approximately 3 weeks between cycles (for a total of approximately 9 weeks). 

During each cycle, the patient will have four clinic visits. The patients will be given various mood, memory and health assessments during the study.  We encourage all patients to call the researchers to be screened for the study criteria.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What medication will I be given?

A: The study medication is an antidepressant called vilazodone .  You will either receive this medication or a placebo (a pill that looks the same but has no active ingredients). You will also be given hydrocortisone for 4 days in each cycle.

Q: Is compensation available for participation in the study?

A: Yes, patients will be paid for each visit in the study. They will also have the opportunity to earn gift cards at the end of each completed cycle

Q: Is transportation available for the study appointments?

A: No. DART passes are not available for this study.