Can Trintellix Cause Serotonin Syndrome?

In our latest question and answer, that pharmacist discusses whether or not Trintellix is associated with serotonin syndrome.

Apr 25, 2018

Bailey asked

I am taking Trintellix for anxiety. I want to know the chances of serotonin syndrome.


Trintellix (vortioxetine) is an antidepressant with a unique mechanism that affects serotonin levels differently than other currently available antidepressants. Not only does it act like a SSRI by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, it also antagonizes (i.e. blocks) certain serotonin receptors, such as the 5-HT3 receptor. It is purported that this may help it be better tolerated in terms of GI side effects.

Trintellix is indicated for the treatment of major depression. Common side effects associated with taking Trintellix include, but are not limited to:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Dizziness
  • Flatulence

Potential more severe/less frequently occurring side effects include, but are not limited to:

  • Seizures
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Irritability
  • Rash
  • Serotonin syndrome
Trintellix And Serotonin Syndrome

As Trintellix alters serotonin levels, there is a potential risk of serotonin syndrome.

Serotonin syndrome is the name given to a certain group of symptoms that can occur with the use of serotonergic drugs. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Hyperthermia/heavy sweating
  • Shaking/tremors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Delirium
  • Confusion
  • Rapid heart rate

The exact incidence that serotonin syndrome may occur while taking Trintellix is not known. Genetic factors may increase your risk for serotonin syndrome, as well as taking any additional serotonergic medications.

Other common serotoneric medications that may increase your risk for developing serotonin syndrome if taken concurrently with Trintellix include:

  • Citalopram
  • Fluoxetine
  • Paroxetine
  • Duloxetine
  • Venlafaxine
  • Trazodone
  • Methadone
  • Cyclobenzaprine
  • Buspirone
  • Dextromethorphan

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