New Kid on the Block: Brintellix for Depression

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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The FDA recently approved a new antidepressant, Brintellix (vortioxetine) for use in adults with major depressive disorder (MDD). MDD affects an estimated 14 million people in the United States. Symptoms can manifest emotionally and physically and can affect cognitive function, causing mood changes and interferences in normal activities and affecting daily quality of life. Here is what you need to know:

How does it work?

The exact mechanism of the drug is still not fully understood. The antidepressant effect is observed through inhibition of serotonin reuptake, which is similar to the effect of many other antidepressants. Low serotonin levels in the brain are linked to depression, and antidepressants like Brintellix help keep more serotonin available.

What did studies show?

The safety and effectiveness of Brintellix (vortioxetine) were established through several studies involving over 4500 patients. These studies showed significant improvements in symptoms of depression using clinically established depression scales. Long-term maintenance studies showed a longer time to recurrence of depressive episodes versus placebo. These studies also established safety in the elderly and adults above the age of 18.

Where will Brintellix fit in your treatment?

MDD is a multi-faceted disorder that is often challenging to treat. Responses to different drugs aren’t consistent and can vary from person to person. Brintellix is another option that can now be used in adults with MDD, which may be helpful if you haven’t found a medication that works for you.

About Brintellix:
Brintellix is available as oral tablets in strengths of 5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg. It is taken once daily without regard to meals. The most commonly observed side effects included nausea, constipation and vomiting. It did not cause any significant effects on body weight.

Brintellix (like many antidepressants) does carry a black box warning of an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children and young adults. Speak to your pharmacist about possible risks of drug interactions when taking Brintellix with other medications that can affect serotonin levels. Caution should also be taken if taking it with NSAIDs, aspirin or anticoagulants due to a risk of abdominal bleeding.

Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Till next time,

The GoodRx Pharmacist

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