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How long does it take for Trintellix (vortioxetine) to start working?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on April 24, 2023.

Official answer

  • Some effect from Trintellix should be noticed by most people after two weeks of treatment; however, the full effect of Trintellix treatment may not be seen until week 4 or later.
  • In one study, 61% experienced a remission of depressive symptoms after 4 weeks of treatment, but for another 15%, it took eight weeks for remission to occur.
  • After eight weeks of treatment, effects begin to level off but they persist.

At least five trials of 6 to 8 weeks duration have established the effectiveness of Trintellix (vortioxetine).

Overall, some effect was seen within two weeks which increased over subsequent weeks with the full effect not seen until week 4 or later. After 8 weeks the effects began to level off but the improvement in symptoms persisted.

In a maintenance study of 639 people, approximately 61% satisfied the remission criterion (MADRS total score ≤10) after four weeks of treatment, and 15% satisfied remission criteria after an additional 4 weeks (so eight weeks in total).

People taking Trintellix also experienced a statistically significantly longer time before a recurrence of depressive episodes than those that were taking placebo (a pretend pill).

What is Trintellix?

Trintellix (vortioxetine) is an antidepressant that may be used to treat the symptoms of major depressive disorder. Trintellix was previously called Brintellix but the name was changed in 2016 after confusion in the marketplace between Brintellix and another medicine.

How does Trintellix work?

Experts aren’t sure exactly how Trintellix works but it is thought to be due to it increasing levels of a neurotransmitter, called serotonin in the brain. It also has effects on other serotonin receptors, such as 5-HT1A (agonist effects) and 5-HT3 (antagonist effects), although experts are not sure if this action contributes to vortioxetine’s antidepressant effect.

Trintellix is different from other antidepressants currently on the market because of its direct effects on various serotonin receptors as well as inhibiting serotonin reuptake. Because it acts as an antagonist/agonist and partial agonist, this is thought to enhance its antidepressant effects and prevent desensitization of the presynaptic neuron.

Trintellix aims to reduce depressive symptoms and prevent them from returning.

Trintellix is classified as a miscellaneous antidepressant, although some classify it as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and a serotonin receptor modulator.

How is Trintellix given?

Trintellix has a long half-life (approximately 66 hours) and is given once a day.

It takes seven to eleven hours to reach maximum vortioxetine concentrations in the blood after a single dose, but once regular dosing is established, blood levels remain relatively constant.

It takes approximately two weeks for blood levels of vortioxetine to stabilize in the body.


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