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Trintellix, previously called Brintellix, is the brand-name for the drug vortioxetine. It is an FDA approved prescription antidepressant SSRI, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, that directly affects the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is an essential chemical in your body that allows your nerve cells and brain to function properly.
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SSRIs work by selectively affecting serotonin and restraining neurons from reabsorbing the serotonin once the message reaches the neuron. Therefore, SSRIs increase the amount of available serotonin in the brain.
Trintellix is used to treat depression or major depressive disorder (MDD).
MDD is another term for clinical depression that affects how a patient may think, feel, or act. MDD can cause a loss of interest in everyday activities and can lead to physical and emotional problems that may seem beyond the patient’s control.
Most patients experience extreme sadness and a lack of interest in their day to day and may struggle with why they should continue living. MDD is not simply weakness or laziness and requires lifelong treatment that can include medication, talk therapy, and building better habits and routines.
Although depression may occur only once during your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day (nearly every day) and may include:
While Trintellix cannot completely rid the patient of all these symptoms, the increased serotonin levels can help combat several of these symptoms to give the patient the ability to create healthier habits and thought patterns in their daily lives.
Trintellix is taken one time per day without regard to meals. Doctors begin patients on a low dose while under observation and slowly increase the dosage over several weeks.
Dosages can range from 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, and depends on recommendation from a doctor.
When discussing if Trintellix is the right medication for a patient, a doctor must consider whether or not the following variables qualify the patient as a candidate for the drug. A doctor will take into account several combinations of these variables and the patient’s current lifestyle and treatment processes before prescribing Trintellix.
Talk with your healthcare provider before taking Trintellix if you have:
There are a few low-risk side effects associated with taking Trintellix, the main side effect being potential weight gain. However, weight gain is a common side effect for most antidepressants.
It may be that the patient is taking more interest in food now that their serotonin levels have increased, whereas, in the past, they may have had less interest in food for pleasure or even sustenance.
Other common side effects include:
Weight gain is the main side effect of nearly all antidepressant medication, and SSRIs, in particular, are more likely the cause of weight gain in patients. Increased levels of serotonin create an increased mood and may increase appetite. This weight gain is best managed by controlling caloric consumption, good sleep routines, and creating healthy, active habits.
Patients will be more likely to embark on and stick to healthy habits due to elevated moods, but weight gain may still be a factor.
Sticking to an eating and sleeping schedule, paired with an awareness of caloric consumption, may be the only method to control potential weight gain. It is essential to plan and pair these healthy regimens along with taking prescription antidepressant medications.
The signs of a Trintellix overdose are dizziness, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, generalized anal itching, drowsiness, and flushing.
If an overdose of Trintellix happens call 911 and seek emergency medical care immediately. Trintellix being an SSRI has lower toxicity when overdose compared to other prescription antidepressant medications.
Very high overdoses, in certain SSRIs, more than 75 times the standard daily dose can result in more severe adverse events, including ECG changes, seizures, and decreased consciousness. Overdose in SSRIs rarely results in death.
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, and migraine headaches. Do not discontinue the use of an antidepressant without talking to your healthcare provider first.
Mixing Trintellix with other drugs can result in a negative reaction, and Trintellix may not work as well. Certain drug interactions can also cause serious side effects.
Do not drink alcohol while taking Trintellix, as it can worsen the side effects of the drug, including confusion, drowsiness, and dizziness.
Some of these dangerous drug interactions include, but are not limited to:
Serotonin syndrome can occur when combining Trintellix with serotonergic antidepressant medications, including SSRIs and SNRIs. It can also develop if you mix the drug with fentanyl, tramadol, triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, St. John's Wort, buspirone, tryptophan, and MAOIs, among others. Serotonin syndrome is extremely dangerous if left untreated, and can result in death.
Patients prescribed antidepressants are already under the watchful eye and observation of their doctor. However, if taking higher doses than prescribed becomes a factor, your doctor may reevaluate the necessary treatment going forward. In severe cases, they may suggest inpatient and outpatient options to assist in the recovery process.
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"How Can I Lose Weight While on Antidepressants?" Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, www.dbsalliance.org/education/ask-the-doc/how-can-i-lose-weight-while-on-antidepressants/.
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"TRINTELLIX- Vortioxetine Tablet, Film Coated." U.S. National Library of Medicine/Dailymed, National Institutes of Health, dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=1a5b68e2-14d0-419d-9ec6-1ca97145e838.
"Vortioxetine (Trintellix)." National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI, www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Vortioxetine-(Trintellix).