Trintellix (vortioxetine) is a prescription brand-name medication. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults. MDD is sometimes called clinical depression.

Trintellix is typically taken long term, as long as you and your doctor determine that the drug is effective for you.

Here are some fast facts on Trintellix:

  • Active ingredient: vortioxetine
  • Drug class: atypical antidepressant
  • Drug form: oral tablet

As with other drugs, Trintellix can cause side effects. Read on to learn about potential common, mild, and serious side effects, so you can compare the pros and cons of using this medication. For a general overview of Trintellix, see this article.

Trintellix can cause certain side effects, some of which are more common than others. These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days or weeks. But if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

These are just a few of the more common side effects reported by people who took Trintellix in clinical trials:

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dry mouth
  • nausea (see “Side effect specifics” below)
  • vomiting

Mild side effects can occur with Trintellix use. This list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects of the drug. For more information, refer to Trintellix’s medication guide.

Mild side effects that have been reported with Trintellix include:

  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dry mouth
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • nausea*
  • itching*
  • sexual side effects*

* For more information on this side effect, see “Side effect specifics” below.

These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days or weeks. But if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking Trintellix and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.

Trintellix may cause serious side effects, although this is rare. The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of the drug. For more information, including how long Trintellix side effects last, you can refer to Trintellix’s medication guide.

If you develop serious side effects while taking Trintellix, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Note: A missed dose of Trintellix isn’t likely to cause serious side effects. However, you should not stop taking the drug without first talking with your doctor. Suddenly stopping Trintellix can cause serious side effects, including nausea, confusion, and tiredness.

Serious side effects and their symptoms

Serious side effects of Trintellix, as well as their symptoms, may include:

  • Serotonin syndrome (having too much of the chemical serotonin in your body). Symptoms can include:
    • anxiety
    • confusion
    • diarrhea
    • irritability
    • increased blood pressure
    • muscle spasms (involuntary muscle tightening) or tremors (shaking that you can’t control)
  • Serious bleeding. Symptoms can include:
    • coughing up blood
    • severe or uncontrollable bleeding
    • stools that look black or red
    • urine that’s red, pink, or brown
    • vomiting blood, which may look similar to coffee grounds
  • Hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels). Symptoms can include:
    • confusion
    • trouble concentrating
    • weakness
  • Risk of suicidal thoughts in children and young adults.*
  • Withdrawal symptoms.†
  • Allergic reaction.†

* Trintellix has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see the “Side effect specifics” section below.
† For more information on this side effect, see the “Side effect specifics” section below.

Trintellix may cause several side effects. Here are some frequently asked questions about the drug’s side effects and their answers.

Does Trintellix cause weight gain?

It isn’t likely. In clinical trials of Trintellix, weight gain wasn’t reported as a side effect. Weight gain has been reported by people taking Trintellix since the drug was approved. However, it’s not clear whether Trintellix caused this weight gain.

If you’re concerned about weight gain while taking Trintellix, talk with your doctor. They can suggest ways to maintain a weight that’s healthy for you.

Is drowsiness a side effect of Trintellix?

Probably not. Drowsiness wasn’t a side effect of Trintellix in trials. The drug also wasn’t reported to cause tiredness or fatigue (lack of energy). There have been reports of sleepiness in some people taking Trintellix since the drug was approved. It’s not known if Trintellix was the cause of this sleepiness.

If you’re concerned about drowsiness while taking Trintellix, talk with your doctor.

Should I expect a headache when using Trintellix?

No, headaches aren’t likely. In clinical studies, people who took Trintellix didn’t report this side effect. Since Trintellix was approved, people have reported headaches while taking it. But it’s not clear whether Trintellix caused this side effect.

If you’re concerned about headaches while taking Trintellix, talk with your doctor. They can recommend ways to treat this side effect, which may include using over-the-counter pain relievers.

Can using Trintellix cause sweating?

It’s unlikely. Sweating wasn’t reported by people who took Trintellix in clinical studies. But sweating can be a side effect of several other drugs used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD), which Trintellix also treats.

Sweating could be a withdrawal* symptom if you were to suddenly stop taking Trintellix. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions for decreasing your dosage gradually if you stop taking this drug. Doing this can help you avoid withdrawal.

Talk with your doctor if you’re concerned about sweating while taking Trintellix.

* Withdrawal occurs when you suddenly stop taking a drug that your body is dependent upon. See the “Side effect specifics” section for more information about Trintellix withdrawal symptoms.

Does Trintellix cause any vision-related side effects?

It’s possible, if you already have certain other eye conditions. But in people without existing eye conditions, Trintellix hasn’t been shown to cause vision-related side effects in clinical trials.

Specifically, in people with narrow angles in their eye, antidepressants such as Trintellix can trigger a condition called angle-closure glaucoma. This condition may also be called closed-angle glaucoma. Symptoms can include:

  • changes in vision
  • eye pain
  • redness or swelling in or around the eye

Angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency. If you develop the above symptoms, get medical attention right away. Go to your nearest emergency room or hospital, or talk with your eye doctor as soon as possible.

Before you begin taking Trintellix, your doctor may recommend an eye exam to check if you’re at risk for angle-closure glaucoma. If you’re at risk for this condition, your doctor may prescribe treatment to prevent it from developing while you’re taking Trintellix.

If you notice other vision or eye-related side effects while taking Trintellix, call your doctor. They can help determine what could be causing these effects.

Note: Other drugs used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) may cause blurry vision, such as Zoloft (sertraline).

Learn more about some of the side effects that Trintellix may cause.

Itching

Trintellix may cause generalized itching, which could affect any part of your skin. This was rare during clinical trials.

What you can do

If you experience itching while taking Trintellix, let your doctor know. They may recommend a treatment for this side effect. Or they may have you stop taking Trintellix and try a different medication for your condition.

Sexual side effects

Like other drugs used to treat major depressive disorder, Trintellix can cause sexual side effects. These may include:

However, sexual side effects were rarely reported in clinical trials of Trintellix.

What you can do

If you experience sexual side effects while taking Trintellix, tell your doctor. They may recommend a treatment to help with this side effect. Or they may recommend that you stop taking Trintellix and try a different medication for your condition.

Nausea

Mild or moderate nausea was the most common side effect of Trintellix in clinical trials.

Nausea is most common during the first week of taking Trintellix, especially during the first day or two of treatment. On average, nausea from Trintellix tends to last about 2 weeks. Very rarely, people have reported nausea that persisted after 6 to 8 weeks of taking Trintellix.

Also, nausea was found to be more common in females* than males* in clinical trials. It isn’t known why these differences occurred.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. Use of the terms “female” and “male” in this article refer to sex assigned at birth.

What you can do

If you experience nausea while taking Trintellix, your doctor may recommend a treatment for this side effect. Or they may decide to have you stop taking Trintellix and try a different medication.

Risk of suicidal thoughts

Trintellix has a boxed warning about risk of suicidal thoughts in children and young adults. This is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Boxed warnings alert patients and doctors about potentially dangerous drug effects.

Antidepressants, including Trintellix, can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts in children and young adults. It’s important to note that Trintellix is not approved for use in children. It’s only approved for use in adults ages 18 years and older.

The risk of suicidal thoughts is higher when people first start taking Trintellix, and whenever their Trintellix dosage is adjusted.

What you can do

While taking Trintellix, people should try to be aware of any changes in their thoughts and behaviors. Caregivers and people they spend time with should also watch for any changes. This is especially important when they first start taking the medication, and whenever the dosage is adjusted.

Tell your doctor about any changes in your thinking or behaviors while taking Trintellix. And if you have thoughts about suicide, get help right away.

Withdrawal symptoms

It’s possible to have withdrawal symptoms if you abruptly stop taking Trintellix. Withdrawal occurs if you suddenly stop taking a drug that your body has become dependent upon. Withdrawal symptoms caused by suddenly stopping Trintellix can include:

What you can do

Talk with your doctor before you stop taking Trintellix. If you and your doctor agree that it’s best for you to stop treatment with Trintellix, they’ll instruct you how to decrease your dosage over time. This lowers your risk for withdrawal symptoms.

People taking 15 milligrams (mg) or 20 mg of Trintellix per day may be at higher risk for withdrawal than people taking lower dosages. For this reason, your doctor may lower your dosage to 10 mg per day for one week before having you completely stop Trintellix.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, Trintellix can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • rash
  • itching
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your lips, eyelids, feet, or hands
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What you can do

For mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away. They may recommend ways to ease your symptoms and determine whether you should keep taking Trintellix. But if your symptoms are serious and you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Below are precautions to consider before taking Trintellix.

Boxed warning: Risk of suicidal thoughts

Trintellix has a boxed warning about risk of suicidal thoughts in children and young adults. This is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For details, see the “Side effect specifics” section above.

Other precautions

Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Trintellix. This drug may not be the right treatment for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. The conditions and factors to consider include:

Bipolar disorder. Treatment with Trintellix may cause a manic or mixed episode in someone with bipolar disorder. You should tell your doctor if you or members of your family currently have bipolar disorder or mania, or have experienced this in the past. If this applies to you, your doctor may monitor you more closely than usual during Trintellix treatment. They may also recommend a different medication to treat your condition.

Bleeding disorder. Trintellix can increase your risk for bleeding. People with an existing bleeding disorder, such as factor VII deficiency, may have an even higher risk of bleeding with Trintellix. Be sure to discuss any bleeding disorders you may have with your doctor before you start taking Trintellix.

Certain eye problems. Rarely, antidepressants such as Trintellix can cause a condition called angle-closure glaucoma (also called closed-angle glaucoma) in people with narrow angles in their eye. Angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency.

Before you begin taking Trintellix, your doctor may recommend an eye exam to check if you’re at risk for angle-closure glaucoma. If you have narrow angles in your eye, your doctor may prescribe treatment to prevent angle-closure glaucoma while you’re taking Trintellix.

Allergic reaction. You should not take Trintellix if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to Trintellix or any of its ingredients. Talk with your doctor about other treatments that might be better choices for you.

Alcohol use with Trintellix

There aren’t known interactions between Trintellix and alcohol.

However, drinking alcohol may make certain side effects of Trintellix worse, including:

For this reason, talk with your doctor about how much alcohol is safe for you to drink while taking Trintellix.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Trintellix

It’s not known if Trintellix is safe to take during pregnancy. Your doctor can discuss the risks and benefits of Trintellix use during pregnancy with you. If you use Trintellix while pregnant, there is a pregnancy registry that collects information about antidepressant use during pregnancy. Your doctor can provide more information about this registry.

It’s also not known whether it’s safe to breastfeed while taking Trintellix. This is because it isn’t known whether the drug may pass into breast milk. Talk with your doctor about safe ways to feed your child while taking Trintellix.

Although you may experience side effects while taking Trintellix, they’re not common, and are usually mild. Most mild side effects of the drug go away with time and don’t require medical attention.

You should talk with your doctor if you experience symptoms of serious side effects, including:

These side effects could be serious and require medical attention. You should also talk with your doctor if you become pregnant while taking Trintellix.

If you’d like to learn more about Trintellix, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about side effects from taking the drug.

Note: For more information on major depressive disorder, see our mental health hub and our list of depression articles.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.