Many who experience Trintellix side effects and continue to struggle with depression have discovered that finding the right treatment can be challenging. Too often, those experiencing mental health issues are subjected to the rollercoaster of trial and error. Trintellix is just one of many prescription antidepressants prescribed in an attempt to to help people dealing with major depressive disorder. However, many people taking SSRIs like this one find themselves battling troubling side effects and may be looking for a more successful treatment plan.
If you are considering other non-drug-based treatment, there are options out there for you. Below is a comprehensive outline of Trintellix side effects, and other information on mental health treatments that may help you in your decision-making about the best treatment for you.
Have Trintellix Side Effects Become a Roadblock to Your Recovery?
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There are a range of pharmaceutical medications prescribed to help treat major depressive disorder. Your physician has perhaps prescribed, or suggested SSRI antidepressants for your symptoms. SSRIs are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which means they are designed to halt or slow the reabsorption of serotonin — a neurotransmitter (natural chemical produced by the body) that affects mood.1 This is thought to help those who are depressed by increasing the bioavailability of serotonin in their body, theoretically improving mood. However, neurotransmitters such as serotonin that become suspended outside the synapse degrade and are not recycled. Research has documented the sometimes long-lasting harms from such medications, and the failure to clearly report these findings widely in the pharmaceutical industry.2
Vortioxetine, more commonly known by its brand name Trintellix, is an SSRI. Because SSRIs affect the way the body modulates its serotonin levels, side effects often occur as a result of taking this antidepressant. However, because everyone’s chemical makeup is unique, the side effects that are endured can vary drastically from person to person. We advise doing one’s own careful research on the topic, as even a prescriber may not be fully aware of Trintellix side effects, and so may have neglected to discuss these with their patients adequately.
Side Effects of SSRIs Like Trintellix
Whether you’re facing an antidepressant prescription for the first time or you have been under the constant influence of medications for some time, it’s wise to consider the stress your brain and body must go through when you take psychotropic drugs. While many medications can cause side effects, these medications can drastically alter the sensitive chemical environment in the brain. These brain changes are generally referred to as Trintellix side effects. Many people find that the side effects caused by antidepressants are worse than the symptoms they were intended to treat. A summary of those listed on the drug label and from other sources follows, with some expanded descriptions.1-5,12,15,16
Trintellix side effects can include:
Suicidality, worsening of depression
Increased risk of bleeding if taken with aspirin or other agents that affect coagulation
Low sodium blood levels
Angle closure glaucoma (damaged optic nerve)
Taking while pregnant may result in the newborn experiencing withdrawals, heart issues
Serotonin syndrome if taking other serotonergic drugs, St. John’s Wort, etc.
Research has found that many people who take SSRIs like Trintellix become agitated more easily.3 This is due to the increased levels and increased bioavailability of certain chemicals in the brain. For example, if someone takes Trintellix to adjust their serotonin levels but ends up with too much, it can ultimately cause irritability, mood swings, or accidental outbursts. Changes in your body’s serotonin levels may also cause a loss of patience, which can lead to irritability and outbursts as well.
2. Nausea or Vomiting
It is often difficult to predict how the body will react to a new medication. For some people, the initial few weeks of a new medicine may cause nausea before it passes. Others may find that they’re vomiting more frequently without realizing why. Unfortunately, SSRIs like Trintellix are even more likely to cause nausea than other types of medication, and research suggests that nearly a third of SSRI users experience this side effect.4
3. Serotonin Syndrome
Serotonin syndrome is a dangerous condition that occurs when there is too much active serotonin in the brain. While SSRIs are designed to help your body regulate serotonin levels, taking them in combination with other medications that also influence serotonin production may induce serotonin syndrome. The FDA’s Trintellix drug label carries a warning of serotonin syndrome. Serotonin toxicity can potentially be fatal, which is why it’s imperative to seek medical help if you are exhibiting any symptoms.1,5,12
If you or someone you love started an SSRI and begin to display any of the following issues, you should immediately consult emergency medical personnel about serotonin syndrome:
Increased body heat, flushing, or sweating
Confusion or hallucinations
Increased heartbeat or blood pressure
Loss of coordination
Seizures, tremors, or shaking
4. Manic Episodes
While SSRIs are prescribed to treat depression, they can be especially unpredictable if you’re facing more than one mental health condition. For example, a side effect of Trintellix is triggering manic episodes in those with bipolar disorder.12
Signs of a manic episode can include:
Drastic increase in energy
Inability to fall asleep and/or restless sleep
Making impulsive decisions without thought of consequences (i.e., breaking a lease
and moving or spending excess amounts of money for no reason)
Speaking faster than normal/ slurring words because you can’t talk fast enough
Feelings of unwarranted happiness and euphoria
Poor appetite, inability to eat, or weight loss
Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome
According to FDA drug regulators and the creators of Trintellix (vortioxetine), stopping the medication without warning may lead to Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome (ADS).12,13 ADS can occur when an individual suddenly stops taking an antidepressant, causing a sudden dysregulation of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain. Both long-time antidepressant users and individuals taking higher doses of antidepressants are especially at risk for ADS if they stop taking the medication abruptly. If you’re looking to stop antidepressant treatment, it is crucial to slowly wean yourself away with the help of medical oversight..
Symptoms of Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome look like:
Paresthesia (sharp tingles or “electric shocks”)
Ringing in your ears
Sudden bouts of anger or sadness
What Other Medication Is Similar to Trintellix?
While SSRIs like Trintellix are advertised to exert a particular impact on the neurotransmitter balance in the brain, this theory is a work-in-progress and somewhat controversial.14 In fact, this and many other antidepressants all affect the brain and body differently, and only a percentage of patients report that their medication helped with depression or other troubling symptoms.15 Unfortunately, all antidepressants have the power to cause side effects because of their impact on the chemical environment of the brain and the entire CNS. For this reason, many people find that simply switching to a different medication not only fails to address depression but adds to the issues that led them to antidepressants in the first place.
These medications are prescribed in similar ways to Trintellix:
Bupropion (Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL)
Is There a Generic Version of Trintellix?
Most medications have two names, the most common being the commercially patented brand name and the other being their generic pharmaceutical name. The brand name of a medication is unique to a particular manufacturer of that product, whereas the pharmaceutical name defines the active ingredient or drug being used to treat patients. Trintellix is a specific brand of an SSRI antidepressant known as vortioxetine. Vortioxetine is the generic version of Trintellix and may also be sold under other brand names like Brintellix.
However, it’s important to recognize that generic prescription medications are chemically and functionally the same as their brand-name counterparts. For that reason, the side effects experienced with Trintellix will still occur if you switch to a generic version.
Natural Supplements vs Trintellix Side Effects
For a lot of people dealing with depression, antidepressants are not only minimally effective but present a range of negative side effects. This can lead to switching antidepressants, which must be done very cautiously, and under careful medical supervision. This is because trying medication after medication can result in even more side effects, including worsened depression symptoms, and a lot of wasted time.16 Still, there’s no need to feel hopeless: this doesn’t mean that you’re out of options. In fact, there’s a wide range of holistic methods that may be able to help you fight depression and avoid Trintellix side effects.
We’ve identified some of the top supplements to consider and discuss with your prescriber. You can find out more about these and other alternatives to Trintellix described in more detail on our website.
St. John’s Wort
Caution: It is NOT recommended to take St. John’s Wort concurrently with any SSRI medication, to avoid serotonin syndrome.
While research still has a long way to go, there are multiple natural supplements that are currently showing positive results for treating depression – and St. John’s Wort is one of them. St. John’s Wort, sometimes labeled by its scientific name, hypercium perforatum, is a flowering plant that has been used medicinally for centuries and is generally accepted as an alternative treatment in the modern era. Research has found that people with depression who regularly take St. John’s Wort may receive similar benefits without all of the side effects associated with Trintellix.6 However, if you take other medications or have certain diet restrictions, and before implementing changes to your medication it’s always important to consult your doctor to see IF and WHEN St. John’s Wort may be helpful for you.
While there are a variety of factors that can cause depression, dysregulation of important neurotransmitters in the brain can be a major determinant. Drugs do not produce neurotransmitters. Some drugs are known to actually contribute to the depletion of neurotransmitters. Nutrients obtained in the food we consume and also supplements provide the known precursors for neurotransmitter generation.10,11 In the case of B vitamins, these nutrients are essential for regulating brain health and are involved in producing neurotransmitters that can improve mood, scientists have found that supplementing B vitamins may help to fight depression. For example, one study revealed that a group taking Vitamin B supplements saw much greater improvement in their mental health and mood compared to a placebo group.7
Quercetin is a yellow pigment found in a variety of plants. It’s most commonly used as an immune system booster and anti-inflammatory, though it’s been showing promising results in treating depression. For some, this choice may help you avoid harsh Trintellix side effects. Always consult your prescriber before changes to your medication regimen. Because quercetin helps to regulate important chemicals, protect neurons, and combat the damage stress causes to the body, taking it regularly may help enhance your mental health.8
Passionflower (passiflora incarnata) is a beautiful plant that also carries multiple medicinal properties. Often used in teas and supplements, this plant is thought to improve sleep as well as combat chronic pain. You may decide to discuss this option with your doctor. Because passionflower appears to be a powerful anxiety reliever, scientists have begun to research its effect on depression. In fact, many recent studies have found that passionflower’s anti-anxiety effects can help treat symptoms of depression without the adverse effects you get from antidepressants.9
Transitioning from Trintellix to Avoid Side Effects
If you are currently taking Trintellix and wish to transition to a more natural approach, it’s critical to do so with the help of your physician. As mentioned previously, suddenly stopping any kind of antidepressant can result in severe side effects or even Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome.12
Still, many people find that their physical and mental health can improve after they transition off antidepressants; it’s just important to do so in a safe, structured manner.
If you’re looking to switch from Trintellix to a natural alternative, try following these tips:
Bring your concerns to your primary care physician or a skilled holistic physician familiar with the tapering process. Discuss any natural alternative(s) you’d like to explore, and follow your physician’s guidance.
Ask your physician to design a structured medication reduction plan. (This may be done over the course of a few weeks or a few months, or even longer depending on your general health, length of use and dosage.)
Regularly check in with your doctor to monitor your progress and to make any necessary changes to your medication reduction plan.
Finding Natural Ways to Treat Depression
Everyone is different, which is why there’s no true “one size fits all” approach to treating depression. At Alternative to Meds Center, our priority is helping people combat mental health issues, addiction, and medication toxicity with natural remedies including change in diet, neurotoxin removal, counseling, relaxation therapies, exercise, and a host of other holistic protocols rather than a cocktail of pharmaceuticals. With holistic treatment that targets root causes, under the guidance of qualified therapists, and a skilled treatment staff, we can effectively address your symptoms according to your unique situation. Call us for information on how our program may be the solution you have been looking for. With proper treatment, one doesn’t have to continue to suffer debilitating symptoms and Trintellix side effects – one can enjoy true success in treatment.
1. Chu A, Wadhwa R. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. [Updated 2023 May 1]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554406/ [cited 2024 Jan 17]
16. Keks N, Hope J, Keogh S. Switching and stopping antidepressants. Aust Prescr. 2016 Jun;39(3):76-83. doi: 10.18773/austprescr.2016.039. Epub 2016 Jun 1. PMID: 27346915; PMCID: PMC4919171. [cited 2024 Jan 17]
This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.
Dr. Samuel Lee
Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente. He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
Lyle Murphy is the founder of the Alternative to Meds Center, a licensed residential program that helps people overcome dependence on psychiatric medication and addiction issues using holistic and psychotherapeutic methods.
Medical Disclaimer: Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.
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