If you have depression, your medical professional may prescribe a drug called Trintellix.

Trintellix is used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults.

We explain more about MDD in the “What do you take Trintellix for?” section below.

Trintellix details

Trintellix comes as tablets that you take by mouth.

Trintellix contains the active drug vortioxetine. Its classification is an atypical antidepressant.

Trintellix is a brand-name medication. The drug isn’t available as a generic.

If you have questions about the pros and cons of using Trintellix, we encourage you to talk with your medical professional.

Most medications, including Trintellix, may cause side effects that can be serious or mild. To give you an idea of what might occur with Trintellix, we’ve listed some of the medication’s more common side effects below. It’s important to note that we haven’t included all the potential side effects.

For more complete information about possible side effects of Trintellix, you can talk with your medical professional or pharmacist. They may also be able to recommend tips on how to help prevent and ease side effects.

Note: Certain factors may affect a medication’s side effects. These factors can include other health conditions you may have, other drugs you may be taking, and your age.

Mild side effects

Some of the mild side effects that Trintellix may cause are listed below. For information about other mild side effects of the drug, we suggest that you talk with your medical professional or pharmacist. It may also be helpful to refer to the medication guide for Trintellix.

Mild side effects of Trintellix that have been reported in studies include the following:

Mild side effects of many drugs tend to lessen in a couple of days or a few weeks. But if you find that the side effects bother you, we encourage you to talk with your medical professional or pharmacist.

* For details about this side effect, you can see “Side effects: A closer look” below.

Serious side effects

Trintellix may cause serious side effects, but this isn’t common. If you do develop serious side effects while taking Trintellix, it’s important to call your medical professional immediately. If you feel as if you’re having a medical emergency, it’s vital to call 911 or your local emergency number right away.

Serious side effects of Trintellix that have been reported in studies include the following:

* For details about this side effect, you can see “Side effects: A closer look” below.

Side effects when starting treatment

You may have an increased risk for certain side effects when starting treatment with Trintellix.

For example, nausea with Trintellix is more common during the first week of treatment.

Your risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors* with Trintellix is also highest within the first few months of Trintellix treatment.

To lower your risk for side effects from Trintellix, your medical professional will prescribe a low dosage of the drug at first. If they decide to increase your dosage, they’ll do so slowly over time until the symptoms of your condition have eased. For details, you can see the “What’s the dosage of Trintellix?” section below.

* Trintellix has a boxed warning for this risk. For details, you can see the “Side effects: A closer look” section right below.

Side effects: A closer look

This section provides a close-up look at key side effects of Trintellix.

Sexual side effects

Sexual side effects may occur with Trintellix. These were common side effects in studies of the drug. Sexual side effects are more likely with high doses of Trintellix.

Examples of sexual side effects that may happen with Trintellix include:

  • erectile dysfunction (inability to have or keep an erection that’s firm enough for sexual intercourse)
  • low libido (low sex drive)

It’s important to note that depression, which Trintellix treats, can also cause sexual side effects. It may be hard for you to tell if sexual side effects are caused by Trintellix or the depression you’re taking the drug to treat.

Tips for managing

If you have sexual side effects while taking Trintellix, we suggest you talk with your medical professional. They can help you figure out if the side effects are from Trintellix or the depression it’s treating.

Nausea

Nausea may occur with Trintellix. This was the most common side effect in studies of the drug.

Nausea was more common in females* than in males* taking Trintellix. This side effect was also more common in:

  • the first week of Trintellix treatment
  • people who took higher doses of Trintellix compared with those who took lower doses

* We use the terms “female” and “male” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For details about the difference between gender and sex, you can see this article.

Tips for managing

If you have bothersome nausea while taking Trintellix, we recommend that you talk with your medical professional. They can suggest ways to lessen this side effect.

Allergic reaction

Many drugs, including Trintellix, can cause an allergic reaction. While allergic reaction wasn’t reported in studies of Trintellix, it can still happen.

Symptoms that can occur with a mild allergic reaction may include:

  • itchiness
  • skin rash
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

A more severe allergic reaction may also occur, but this is rare. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction may include swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which may cause trouble breathing. You may also experience swelling under your skin, often in your lips, eyelids, hands, or feet.

Tips for managing

If you have symptoms of an allergic reaction to Trintellix, it’s important to call your medical professional immediately. If you feel as if you’re having a medical emergency, it’s vital to call 911 or your local emergency number right away.

Boxed warning

Trintellix has a boxed warning about suicidal thoughts and behaviors. A boxed warning is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This warning appears on the drug’s label and alerts you to possible serious risks.

This risk may be highest for children, teenagers, as well as adults who are ages 24 years and younger. However, it’s important to note that Trintellix is not approved for use in people younger than age 18 years.

Regardless of your age, you may also have a higher risk for this side effect:

  • within the first few months of Trintellix treatment
  • when your Trintellix dosage is changed

While you’re taking Trintellix, we suggest you watch for the following symptoms:

  • acts of violence or aggression
  • dangerous impulses
  • agitation, anger, irritability, or restlessness
  • new or worsened anxiety
  • new or worsened depression
  • panic attacks
  • trouble sleeping
  • thoughts of dying or harming yourself

It’s important to remember that suicidal thoughts and behaviors are also possible symptoms of depression. Trintellix is used to treat major depressive disorder, which is a type of depression.

Tips for managing

It’s important to tell your medical professional right away if you have unusual changes in behavior while taking Trintellix. And it’s vital to tell them if you have thoughts of dying or harming yourself. Your medical professional may adjust your treatment plan or prescribe a drug for you other than Trintellix.

Suicide prevention

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, you’re not alone. Help is available right now:

Not in the U.S.? Find a helpline in your country with Befrienders Worldwide.

You may wonder how Trintellix compares with alternatives used to treat major depressive disorder, such as sertraline (Zoloft).

You may wonder about other drugs as well, including:

To learn how Trintellix is alike and different from Zoloft, Lexapro, Viibryd, Prozac, and Wellbutrin, we recommend this article. You can also talk with your medical professional or pharmacist.

Your medical professional can advise you on how much Trintellix to take and how often. It’s important to follow the instructions they provide. Commonly used dosages are mentioned below, but be sure to always take the dosage your medical professional recommends.

Form and strengths (5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg)

Trintellix comes as tablets that you take by mouth.

The drug is available in the following strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg.

Dosage for depression

The usual starting dosage of Trintellix for major depressive disorder (MDD) is 10 mg once per day. The maximum dose for MDD is 20 mg per day.

Your medical professional may prescribe a different dosage depending on certain factors. These include other medications you take or other health conditions you have.

If you have questions about the dosage of Trintellix that’s right for you, we suggest you talk with them.

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about Trintellix.

Is Trintellix an SSRI?

No, Trintellix isn’t a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

SSRIs are types of antidepressants that increase the level of a brain chemical called serotonin. They do this by keeping nerve cells from absorbing serotonin. This leaves more serotonin available for brain cells to use.

Like SSRIs, Trintellix also increases serotonin levels in the brain. But Trintellix’s mechanism of action (the exact way the drug works) isn’t completely understood. For this reason, Trintellix isn’t considered an SSRI.

Instead, Trintellix belongs to a group of drugs called atypical antidepressants. Trintellix isn’t an antipsychotic.

Trintellix isn’t a controlled substance, either. Controlled substances are drugs with a high potential for misuse or addiction. (Misuse means taking a drug differently than how it was prescribed. Addiction means continuing to take a drug even if it’s causing you harm.)

These effects aren’t known to happen with Trintellix.

Can Trintellix be used for other conditions, such as anxiety or OCD?

Trintellix isn’t currently approved to treat anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). But Trintellix may be prescribed off-label to treat these conditions. (Off-label means using a drug for a condition it hasn’t been approved to treat.)

Anxiety causes intense fear, worry, or nervousness about everyday situations.

OCD is a condition that causes obsessions (unwanted, repeated thoughts) in combination with compulsions (repeated behaviors).

Your medical professional or pharmacist can provide more information about using Trintellix to treat these and other conditions.

What’s the half-life of Trintellix?

The half-life of Trintellix is about 66 hours.

A drug’s half-life is the amount of time it takes for your body to get rid of half of a drug’s dose. It takes about 66 hours for your body to get rid of half of a dose of Trintellix.

If you have other questions about the half-life of Trintellix, we suggest you talk with your medical professional or pharmacist.

Is weight gain a side effect of Trintellix?

Weight gain wasn’t a side effect reported in initial studies of Trintellix. However, some people have reported weight gain after Trintellix was made available to the public. It isn’t known for sure if Trintellix was the cause.

It’s important to note that weight loss is common in depression, which Trintellix treats. It’s possible you may gain weight while you’re taking Trintellix because your depression symptoms are easing. Weight gain may not be a side effect of Trintellix itself.

If you’re concerned about weight gain while taking Trintellix, we suggest you talk with your medical professional. They can recommend healthy ways for you to manage your weight.

Can stopping Trintellix treatment cause effects of withdrawal?

Yes, some people may have withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop taking Trintellix.

But Trintellix may be less likely to cause withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants. This is because each dose of Trintellix stays in your body for several days after you take it.

Possible symptoms of withdrawal from Trintellix can include:

It’s important that you don’t stop taking Trintellix unless your medical professional says it’s safe to do so. When it’s time for you to stop taking the drug, they may slowly lower your Trintellix dosage over time. This should help lower your risk for withdrawal symptoms.

If you have other questions about stopping Trintellix treatment and withdrawal, we recommend that you talk with your medical professional.

Is joint pain a side effect of Trintellix?

No, joint pain wasn’t reported as a side effect in studies of Trintellix.

But joint pain is known to happen with other antidepressants, such as bupropion (Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL ) and citalopram (Celexa).

If you’re concerned about joint pain while taking Trintellix, we suggest you talk with your medical professional. They can advise on your risk for this side effect from the drug.

Before taking Trintellix, it’s recommended that you talk with your medical professional about:

  • medical conditions you have
  • your overall health
  • other medications you take

We provide more details about these considerations below.

Interactions

Taking a medication with certain drugs, foods, vaccines, and other substances may affect how that medication works. These effects are known as interactions.

Before you take Trintellix, it’s important that you tell your medical professional about any other drugs you take. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medication. It’s also important to mention any herbs, supplements, and vitamins you may use.

Your medical professional or pharmacist can tell you about possible interactions these substances may have with Trintellix.

Interactions with drugs or supplements

Trintellix can interact with several types of drugs or supplements. These include:

We haven’t listed all types of drugs that may interact with Trintellix. Your medical professional or pharmacist can provide more details as well as information about other possible interactions.

* Because of this interaction, you should not take Trintellix with these drugs. You should avoid taking Trintellix within 14 days of stopping treatment with an MAOI. And you should not take MAOIs within 21 days of stopping Trintellix treatment.

FDA boxed warning

Trintellix has a boxed warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The boxed warning appears on the drug’s label and alerts you to possible serious risks.

This risk may be highest for children, teenagers, as well as adults who are ages 24 years and younger. However, it’s important to note that Trintellix is not approved for use in people younger than age 18 years.

For details, you can see “Side effects: A closer look” in the “Does Trintellix have side effects?” section above.

Other warnings

If you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health, Trintellix may not be the right choice for you. Before you take Trintellix, be sure that your medical professional knows your health history. The list below includes some factors to consider.

  • Bleeding problems. Trintellix may cause serious bleeding, such as bleeding in your digestive tract. This is more likely to happen in people with bleeding disorders. If you have bleeding problems, it’s important to tell your medical professional before taking Trintellix. They may watch you more closely than usual during your Trintellix treatment to check for any serious bleeding.
  • Bipolar disorder. Trintellix may cause mania or hypomania (periods of very high excitement and energy) in people with bipolar disorder. Before taking Trintellix, it’s recommended that you tell your medical professional if you have bipolar disorder. Also let them know if anyone in your family has or had this condition. They may prescribe a drug other than Trintellix for you.
  • Angle-closure glaucoma. Before taking Trintellix, be sure to tell your medical professional if you have angle-closure glaucoma. The drug can raise your risk for a glaucoma attack (sudden worsening of glaucoma that leads to blurry vision and eye pain). If you have these symptoms while taking Trintellix, it’s important to call 911 or your local emergency number right away.
  • Low level of sodium in your blood. Trintellix may cause alow level of sodium in your blood. If you already have a low sodium level before taking the drug, you may have a higher risk for this side effect than usual. It’s advised that you tell your medical professional if you have low sodium before starting Trintellix treatment. If the drug worsens your condition, they’ll typically have you stop taking Trintellix. They’ll also treat the low sodium.
  • Seizures. In rare cases, Trintellix may cause seizures. If you already have seizures before taking the drug, you may be at an increased risk for them during your Trintellix treatment. Before you take the drug, it’s recommended that you tell your medical professional about any seizures you’ve had. They can advise you on whether Trintellix is right for you.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Trintellix or any of its ingredients, it’s important to avoid taking Trintellix. Your medical professional can tell you if other medications are better options for you.

Trintellix and alcohol

There aren’t any known safety issues with drinking alcohol during Trintellix treatment.

But drinking alcohol with Trintellix might worsen some side effects of the drug, such as confusion, dizziness, or vomiting.

If you drink alcohol, we encourage you to talk with your medical professional. They can advise you on whether there’s an amount that’s safe for you to drink while taking Trintellix.

Trintellix treatment while pregnant or breastfeeding

It may not be safe to take Trintellix while pregnant or breastfeeding. Your medical professional can advise you about taking Trintellix during these times.

If you do take Trintellix during pregnancy, you may want to enroll in a pregnancy registry. These registries collect information about the effects of a drug when used during pregnancy. This can help researchers understand the risks of taking the drug while pregnant.

To enroll in the National Pregnancy Registry for Antidepressants, call 866-961-2388. You can also visit the registry’s website.

If you have depression, your medical professional may prescribe Trintellix for you. Below, we describe the type of depression that Trintellix may be used to treat.

Use for depression

Trintellix is used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults. MDD is commonly called clinical depression.

With MDD, you have depression symptoms almost daily for at least 2 weeks.

These symptoms can include:

  • loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • loss of appetite
  • mood changes
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • weight changes

Trintellix is a prescription drug. The costs of prescription medications may depend on several factors, such as your insurance coverage and the pharmacy you use. To find current prices for Trintellix tablets near you, you can visit GoodRx.com.

If you’re wondering how to pay for Trintellix, we suggest you talk with your medical professional or pharmacist. You may also want to visit the website of the Trintellix manufacturer to see if support options are available.

Your medical professional can help explain how to take Trintellix. It’s important to follow the instructions they provide.

Tips for taking Trintellix

Trintellix comes as tablets that you take by mouth. You’ll likely take the drug once per day.

Best time to take Trintellix

You can take Trintellix any time of day.

No matter when you take Trintellix, try to take your doses around the same time each day. This helps keep a steady level of the drug in your body, which can help prevent withdrawal symptoms.*

* To learn more about withdrawal, you can see “Can stopping Trintellix treatment cause effects of withdrawal?” in the “What are some common questions about Trintellix?” section above.

Frequently asked questions about taking Trintellix

Here are some frequently asked questions about Trintellix treatment:

  • How long does Trintellix take to work? It may take up to several weeks for your symptoms to ease after starting Trintellix. We encourage you to talk with your medical professional about when to expect Trintellix to start working for you.
  • Can Trintellix be cut in half? The manufacturer of Trintellix hasn’t stated whether Trintellix can be cut in half. And it may not be safe to crush, split, or chew Trintellix tablets. If you have trouble swallowing Trintellix tablets whole, we suggest you talk with your medical professional or pharmacist.
  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Trintellix? It’s recommended that you take your missed dose of Trintellix as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for your next dose, you can skip the missed dose and take your next one at its regular time. It’s important that you don’t take any extra doses of Trintellix to make up for a missed dose. This can increase your risk for side effects from the drug. If you aren’t sure whether to take a dose or skip it, you can ask your medical professional or pharmacist.
  • Is Trintellix meant for long-term use? Your medical professional may prescribe Trintellix for long-term use. If the drug is working for you and isn’t causing bothersome side effects, you’ll likely take it long term.
  • Should you take Trintellix with food? You can take Trintellix with or without food.
What should you ask your medical professional?

It’s common to have questions about your treatment plan for Trintellix. Your medical professional is there to work with you and help address any concerns you have.

To help guide your discussion, here are some suggestions:

  • You can write down questions you have before your visit. For example, “How will taking Trintellix affect my mood, body, and lifestyle?”
  • You can ask a loved one or friend to come with you to your appointment. Having in-person support may help you feel more at ease.
  • You can ask your medical professional to explain something that you find unclear.

Working with your healthcare team may help you stay on track with your treatment. If you find that you’re not getting answers to your questions or receiving the care you deserve, consider seeking a second opinion.

It’s important that you don’t take more Trintellix than your medical professional recommends. The maximum recommended dosage of Trintellix for major depressive disorder is 20 mg each day. Taking more than the recommended dosage, such as taking 40 mg, can lead to severe side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:

What to do in case you take too much Trintellix

If you believe you’ve taken too much Trintellix, it’s important to call your medical professional right away. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if your symptoms are severe, it’s vital to immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the closest emergency room.

If you still have questions about Trintellix after reading this article, we recommend that you talk with your medical professional. Together you can decide if Trintellix might be a good choice for you.

You can also discuss other treatments, forms of support, and resources that may benefit you. We’ve listed some helpful suggestions below.

Additional treatment options

While you take Trintellix, additional treatments or remedies may help you better manage your condition. These can include:

Finding support

Whether you’re looking for a therapist, support group, or information about how to afford therapy, these resources may help:

Other resources

To receive weekly information about mental health, you may want to sign up for the Psych Central newsletter. You’ll find stories directly from other people about their mental health journey as well as the latest information about treatments.

Disclaimer: Psych Central has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.