Updated on November 28, 2023
5 min read

Trintellix: Uses, Effects & Addiction

What is Trintellix (Vortioxetine)?

Trintellix is the brand name for the drug vortioxetine. It’s an FDA-approved prescription antidepressant and belongs to a group of drugs called serotonin modulators.

These drugs work by affecting the activity of serotonin in the brain. They increase serotonin levels by blocking neurons from reabsorbing serotonin.

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What Is Trintellix Used For?

Trintellix is used to treat depression or major depressive disorder (MDD). Although depression may occur only once during your life, many people typically have multiple episodes.

Common symptoms of these episodes include:

  • Feelings of emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts or irritability over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in sex, hobbies, or sports
  • Sleep disturbances (insomnia or sleeping too much)
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Weight changes due to reduced appetite or increased cravings for food
  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking, or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts (most common in young people)
  • Suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems (back pain or headaches)

Trintellix cannot completely rid a person of all depression symptoms. However, the increased serotonin levels can help combat several symptoms and help people create healthier habits and thought patterns in their daily lives.

Trintellix Dosing and Administration

Trintellix is taken one time per day without regard to meals. Doctors begin patients on a low dose under observation and slowly increase the dosage over several weeks.

Depending on a doctor's recommendation, dosages can range from 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg. 

A doctor must consider several variables before qualifying a person as a candidate for Trintellix. They will consider several combinations of these variables, a person’s current lifestyle, and treatment processes. 

Talk with your healthcare provider before taking Trintellix if you have:

  • Seizures
  • Bleeding problems
  • Increased eye pressure (glaucoma)
  • Low sodium levels in your blood
  • Symptoms of depression that considerably affect your quality of life 
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harming
  • Bipolar disorder (manic depression)
  • Previous use of antidepressant drugs and whether they were effective or had any adverse effects
  • Liver problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Family history of drug abuse and mental illnesses
  • Other psychiatric or medical problems
  • All prescription and over-the-counter medications you are regularly taking
  • Whether or not you are seeking other therapeutic methods (e.g., talk or art therapy)
  • Plans of becoming pregnant, are pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • If you are a regular user of alcohol or illegal substances

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Side Effects of Trintellix

There are a few low-risk side effects associated with taking Trintellix.

The most common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sexual dysfunction

Serious Side Effects of Trintellix

Rarely, Trintellix may cause serious and sometimes life-threatening side effects, including:

  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Abnormal bleeding or bruising, especially if you also take a blood thinner medication, such as Coumadin
  • Manic episodes that may cause mood swings, racing thoughts, and impulsivity
  • Vision problems, including glaucoma
  • Low sodium levels in your blood that causes a headache, trouble concentrating, or weakness

Serotonin syndrome is also a rare but serious side effect of Trintellix. It is a potentially life-threatening condition, occurring when serotonin levels become too high.

Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:

  • Agitation
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Muscle stiffness or shaking
  • Sweating
  • Nausea,
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Call your healthcare provider immediately if you develop any serious side effects.

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Does Trintellix Cause Weight Gain?

Short and long-term studies showed that most people taking Trintellix do not gain weight.1 However, increased serotonin levels increase mood and, possibly, appetite.

Maintaining healthy eating and exercise habits is important to manage the possibility of weight gain. You can also practice:

  • Controlling caloric consumption
  • Good sleep routines
  • Creating healthy, active habits

You may be more likely to adhere to healthy habits due to elevated moods. It is essential to plan and pair these healthy regimens with your prescribed antidepressant medications.

Is Trintellix Addictive?

Trintellix is not an addictive medication. However, if you are going to stop taking it, your doctor has to decrease the dosage to prevent discontinuation symptoms gradually.

Trintellix discontinuation symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Agitation or irritation
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Insomnia

People prescribed antidepressants are already under their doctor's watchful eye and observation.If you take higher doses than prescribed, your doctor may reevaluate your treatment. In severe cases, they may suggest inpatient or outpatient treatment to assist you.

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Drug Interactions

Do not drink alcohol while taking Trintellix, as it can worsen the side effects of the drug, including confusion, drowsiness, and dizziness.

Certain drug interactions can also cause serious side effects, like serotonin syndrome. These drug interactions include, but are not limited to:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Medicines made with triptans (e.g. Imitrex)
  • Other antidepressant medications (tricyclics, lithium, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, buspirone, and antipsychotics)
  • Pain medications such as Tramadol and fentanyl
  • Some antibiotics like rifampin
  • Diuretics 
  • Some anticonvulsants, such as carbamazepine, used to prevent seizures
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Some over-the-counter pain medications
  • Warfarin, which is used to prevent blood clots
  • Phenytoin, an anti-epileptic drug
  • St. John's Wort, an over-the-counter supplement
  • Quinidine, which helps treat irregular heartbeats

Trintellix Warnings and Overdose

The signs of a Trintellix overdose include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Itching
  • Drowsiness
  • Flushing

If an overdose of Trintellix happens, call 911 and seek emergency medical care immediately. 

While an overdose of Trintellix is not as dangerous as other antidepressants, serious effects may still occur. These include:

  • Heart rhythm changes
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

Seek medical care immediately if you have taken more than your prescribed dose of Trintellix.

If you stop taking Trintellix abruptly, withdrawal-like symptoms can develop. These symptoms include:

  • A runny nose
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Angry outbursts
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle tension
  • Migraine headaches

Do not discontinue using an antidepressant without talking to your healthcare provider first.

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Updated on November 28, 2023

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