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Does Trintellix (vortioxetine) cause weight gain or loss?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on May 4, 2020.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com
  • In clinical trials of 6 to 8 weeks and even 6 months duration, Trintellix did not affect body weight.
  • However, some reports of weight gain have been received since the product was first approved.
  • Trintellix is far less likely to cause weight gain than some other antidepressants, such as tricyclic antidepressants, MAOIs, or SSRI’s.

Trials report Trintellix had no significant effect on body weight. Most trials were of 6 to 8 weeks duration, and one trial was for six months.

However some reports of weight gain have been reported since the product was first approved, outside of a clinical trial setting. Weight gain with Trintellix may be due to Trintellix increasing appetite (or reversing a poor appetite that is the result of untreated major depressive disorder), or because Trintellix has slightly altered a person’s hormones and metabolism. Weight gain may also be due to bloating, constipation, social eating, or fatigue.

Reports of weight gain are much less common with Trintellix, than they are with tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and doxepin; monoamine oxidase inhibitors, such as phenelzine and isocarboxasid, and SSRI antidepressants; and SSRIs such as paroxetine and sertraline.

Some Blog posts have also reported weight loss as a side effect on Trintellix. Weight loss with Trintellix may be due to nausea, appetite reduction, diarrhea, or healthier food choices.

Using both trial results and post-approval side effect surveys, experts estimate less than 1.3% of users experience significant body weight changes during the first 6 to 8 weeks of Trintellix use, and these changes amount to -0.1 kg to +0.1 kg body weight, regardless of the dose (so a fluctuation of around 0.22 lbs). In the long-term (52 weeks), clinically significant weight gain may occur in 11-13% and weight loss in 7.7% of users. The average weight increase was 1.54 lbs. to 1.76 lbs.

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 its 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 these actions also contribute 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. It 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 levels to stabilize in the body.

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