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Vortioxetine Tapering

This entry was posted in Antidepressant on by .
Medically Reviewed

Last Updated on July 20, 2021 by Carol Gillette

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

Vortioxetine tapering (Trintellix) may be indicated where this atypical antidepressant medication did not yield the desired results in the treatment of depression.

If you did not get the improvements you had hoped for by taking antidepressant medication, you are not alone. According to an Australian study, up to two-thirds of patients do not respond to the first antidepressant medication they were prescribed.

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Vortioxetine Tapering

vortioxetine taperingIf vortioxetine was the first antidepressant that was chosen but did not work after a number of weeks, the prescribing doctor would likely suggest a vortioxetine tapering regimen, allowing for a “washout” period, and then starting a different medication to see if the results were any better.1 Because instructions on how to get off vortioxetine can be rather vague, trying to quit vortioxetine is not necessarily going to be as easy as expected. What can further complicate the process is that withdrawal symptoms can be tagged as “a relapse” and the patient may be caught up in unnecessary discomfort while getting off vortioxetine, perhaps too quickly, and starting a new type of drug.

However, some would prefer being guided along a much more detailed process for vortioxetine tapering followed by non-drug-based therapy to find the lasting relief they were looking for from depressive symptoms. It is also important to note that a 2010 Harvard study determined that symptoms of depression are 4 times more likely to recur after a quick taper (1 to 7 days) than after a more gradual reduction (14 days or longer). The body, it seems, needs adequate time to adjust between these significant switches in treatments.2 How to get off vortioxetine safely and gently is possible with adequate preparation, guidance, and compassionate care.

Alternative to meds Center offers our clients vortioxetine tapering in a gradual systematic way, with medical monitoring provided in our comfortable inpatient facility. Most of our clients are able to successfully complete a vortioxetine tapering program within about 2 months’ time. If a longer period is needed, a client is welcome to extend their stay as needed. Many therapeutic protocols are used throughout the program, as will be described in more detail below. There are numerous adjunctive therapies offered as part of the program, which may make the process of vortioxetine tapering significantly softer and easier to tolerate, and allowing adequate program length, all work together to prevent an unwanted recurrence or rebound of symptoms after getting off vortioxetine.

Surprising FDA Label Information RE Getting Off Vortioxetine and Pregnancy

Vortioxetine is a relatively new SSRI antidepressant medication, approved for sale in 2013 after some half-dozen trials that lasted about 8-weeks, and a number of other trials that were done on animals such as rats and rabbits. There were also some follow-up studies after the drug was put on the market. No trials or tests were done on pregnant women before the drug was approved. Therefore, the FDA put no restrictions on prescribing vortioxetine for pregnant women or nursing mothers in particular.

However, the FDA does include some warnings concerning pregnancy and antidepressants in general, from collecting data over many years on similar drugs:

  1. Newborns exposed to SSRI or SSNI antidepressants developed complications that required respiratory support, tube feeding, and extended hospitalization.
  2. FDA notes that these complications can present immediately after birth.
  3. Other reported adverse effects included seizures, tremors, jitteriness, constant crying, and many others.3

Another surprising statement on the FDA-approved label is that stopping vortioxetine, as opposed to a gradual withdrawal from vortioxetine, is okay to do. But in another part of the label are listed adverse effects of abrupt withdrawal from vortioxetine in particular. It suggests these withdrawals can be mitigated by a graduated approach to getting off vortioxetine. The label also suggests that a woman who is considering becoming pregnant and who either is taking vortioxetine or is thinking of getting off vortioxetine should discuss her concerns with her prescribing physician to assist in making important decisions regarding both the mother’s health and that of the child. Physicians need to be able to rely on more than ambiguous label information to really be able to help in these matters, and there is a need for more training for prescribers to be able to offer sound advice.

General Information on Withdrawal from Vortioxetine

For anyone who is or has been considering trying to quit vortioxetine, it may be helpful to clarify the somewhat ambiguous information on the drug label.3 The following are some of the adverse effects listed on the drug label, that may occur when abruptly stopping vortioxetine:

  1. Headache
  2. Muscle tension
  3. Mood swings
  4. Sudden outbursts of anger
  5. Dizziness

vortioxetine withdrawal symptomsConsiderably more attention is given in the labeling information3 concerning adverse effects that may lead to desiring vortioxetine cessation, such as these:

  1. Serotonin syndrome (this subject is complex but merits careful study for anyone taking antidepressant medications)
  2. Nausea
  3. Bleeding
  4. Suicidality and symptoms that may be precursors to suicidality such as akathisia, mania, hypomania, worsened depression, anxiety, agitation, and many others, especially if they present suddenly or intensely and, where such symptoms were not present before the administering of vortioxetine.3

The Alternative to Meds Program for Vortioxetine Tapering

Perhaps you or your loved one has begun wondering what might be the best available treatment for how to get off vortioxetine. Our program takes a wider approach than simply stopping vortioxetine or other medications safely. Of equal importance is ensuring that the symptoms that one was struggling with do not recur, and that natural mental health protocols may be available to supplant the use of medications that can, at best, mask symptoms. And, the masking effect typically only lasts for a short time. In the long-run, there is nothing curative about SSRI medications.

But there are drug-free treatments and testing that can help a person to benefit from a reduction or elimination of symptoms altogether. This is achieved by discovering root causes for symptoms and conditions. Once the source or sources of a problem have been determined, then the treatment of these can help provide authentic, sustainable relief.

For example, accumulations of toxins in the body may be present that can impair neurotransmitter production and function, disrupt digestion, and can negatively impact one’s microbiome and many other areas of the body. The most obvious solution would be to remove these, using gentle and non-invasive methods such as low-temperature sauna, nebulized glutathione treatments, bentonite clay packs, colonics, and many other therapeutic measures. Concurrent with these treatments, providing a clean and nutrient-rich diet, plus selected supplements as needed, free from pesticides, additives, or other chemicals; these can markedly boost and support the body’s own natural resurgence.

vortioxetine tapering alternativesThese treatments are administered throughout the process of gradually stopping vortioxetine. Our clients typically report sleeping more soundly, feeling more energetic and calm, enjoying a better appetite, a lift in general mood, and many other benefits from neurotoxin removal and the many other treatments. Clients can enjoy acupuncture, therapeutic massage, soothing mineral baths, foot baths, craniosacral massage, yoga, mild trainer-led exercise classes, and meditation. A fascinating and in-depth educational segment helps to understand CNS and brain function, nutrition, and other keynotes of health, but also how to sustain one’s health by applying these non-harmful tools for natural mental health. Counseling is also provided where desired, available in many genres that may also benefit a person who wants to engineer changes in lifestyle, unburden trauma, design a new future, and become more engaged with creating a healthy and harmonious life without prescription drugs.

How to Get Off Vortioxetine Comfortably

Please feel free to contact us at Alternative to Meds Center to find out more about our protocols and how we administer our programs. We have clients from all walks of life, and welcome adults of all ages to our nurturing, beautiful inpatient facility. We have been helping people with vortioxetine cessation and other treatments for a decade and a half. Our licensed physicians and caregivers are passionate about helping our clients to meet their natural mental health goals. We look forward to speaking to you further about our vortioxetine tapering programs and other benefits that are waiting for you at our center.

1. Keks N, Hope J, Keough S, “Switching and Stopping Antidepressants“, The Australian Prescriber [INTERNET] 2016 Jun [cited 2020 Jun 5]

2. Baldessarini RJ, Tondo L, Ghiani C, Lepri B, “Illness Risk Following Rapid versus Gradual Discontinuation of Antidepressants” US National Library of Medicine [INTERNET] 2010 May [cited 2020 Jun 5]

3. FDA label Vortioxetine [INTERNET] 2013 [cited 2020 Jun 5]

Originally Published Nov 3, 2019 by Lyle Murphy

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.

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Vortioxetine Tapering
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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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