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Understanding Trintellix: What is it?

Tuesday 19 March 2024
5 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. What is Trintellix?

II. How Trintellix Works

III. Benefits of Trintellix

IV. Trintellix Side Effects

V. Trintellix Dosages

VI. Conclusion

Depression affects millions of Americans each year, making it one of the most common mental health conditions in the country. [1] While traumatic events and high stress levels can trigger depressive episodes, depression can also arise without an obvious catalyst. Regardless of the cause, depression takes a serious toll on a person's emotional, physical, and mental well-being.

The good news is that effective treatment options are available. The two primary treatment methods are psychotherapy and antidepressant medications, which are often used in combination. One of the newest antidepressants to hit the market is Trintellix.

In this article, we will take an in-depth look at what exactly Trintellix is, how it works in the brain, its benefits, potential side effects, and common dosages.

What is Trintellix?

Trintellix is a prescription antidepressant medication approved by the FDA to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults. [2] MDD is a type of clinical depression characterized by:

  • Depressed or irritable mood
  • Loss of interest in everyday activities
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Poor concentration
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Suicide attempts or plans [3]

Trintellix can start improving depressive symptoms within two weeks of beginning treatment. The full effects are usually seen around four weeks or later. [4]

Trintellix is classified as an atypical antidepressant. It may sometimes be referred to as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or serotonin modulator, though it has some differences from traditional SSRIs. [5]

How Trintellix Works

The brain is an incredibly complex organ, and mental health conditions like major depressive disorder (MDD) are not fully understood. However, experts believe that imbalances in certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters play a role in MDD. [6]

Neurotransmitters carry messages between brain cells. When their activity is disrupted, it can lead to symptoms of depression. An example of a neurotransmitter that is associated with mood and emotion is serotonin. [6]

Although its exact mechanisms are not fully understood, experts believe that Trintellix helps restore balance to neurotransmitter activity by enhancing serotonin activity. It does this by blocking serotonin's reabsorption (reuptake), leaving more serotonin free in the brain to bind to receptors and transmit messages between neurons. [6]

Trintellix belongs to a class of antidepressants known as atypical antidepressants. These work differently than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and other common categories of antidepressants. [7]

Atypical antidepressants are often prescribed when other medications haven't provided relief from depression. However, depending on a person's specific symptoms and medical history, they may also be used as an initial treatment. [7]

Benefits of Trintellix

a doctor researching medication

Trintellix has shown several key benefits in clinical trials, making it an effective option for treating major depressive disorder (MDD).

  • A large clinical trial specifically testing Trintellix for MDD found that after eight weeks of treatment, 39% of patients on a 20 mg daily dose experienced some level of symptom relief. Remarkably, 22% of patients achieved full remission of their depressive symptoms. [8]
  • An extensive meta-study compared the efficacy of Trintellix to other leading antidepressants. This comprehensive analysis revealed that Trintellix was equally effective in treating depression when compared to established and widely used alternatives. [9]
  • A study examining its safety and tolerability showed that Trintellix is less likely to cause weight gain and sexual side effects than other antidepressants in the SSRI class. [10]

Trintellix Side Effects

Certain side effects may occur when taking Trintellix. Many are mild and temporary, but some can be more serious. Being aware of the range of possible side effects can help you know what to expect and when to contact your doctor.

Mild side effects of Trintellix include:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Itching
  • Mild allergic reaction [11]

More serious but rare side effects are also possible with Trintellix. If you experience any of the following serious side effects, contact your doctor immediately or call your local emergency number if the symptoms seem life-threatening:

  • Serotonin syndrome: Symptoms may include anxiety, confusion, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, irritability, high blood pressure, and muscle spasms. This syndrome results from too much serotonin buildup in the body.
  • Severe bleeding: Coughing up blood, bloody stools, red urine, or vomiting blood can indicate internal bleeding.
  • Low sodium levels: Confusion, headaches, trouble concentrating, and weakness can signal dangerously low blood sodium.
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors: Trintellix may increase suicidal ideation, especially in children and young adults. Seek help immediately if suicidal thoughts occur. [11]

Trintellix Dosages

a pharmacist explaining medication dosage to a patient

When taking Trintellix for depression, finding the right dosage is important. Your doctor will start you at a low dose and gradually increase it over time until you reach the lowest dosage that improves your symptoms. When determining the right dosage for you, your doctor will consider factors such as: [5]

  • The severity and type of your depression
  • Your medical history
  • Other medications you’re taking [5]

Trintellix comes as a tablet that's taken by mouth. It's sold in three strengths:

  • 5 mg tablets
  • 10 mg tablets
  • 20 mg tablets [5]

For major depression, the typical starting dose is 10 mg once per day. Your doctor may increase your dose to 20 mg once daily if needed. If side effects become an issue, your doctor may lower your dose. [5]

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. But if it's almost time for your next scheduled dose, just take that one. Avoid taking two doses at the same time to make up for a missed one. [5]


Trintellix offers a new approach to treating major depressive disorder that is different from traditional antidepressants. Its unique mechanism of action may provide relief for those who have not found success with other medications. However, as with any treatment, it's essential to weigh the potential benefits against the risks and discuss any concerns with a healthcare provider.

To learn more about Trintellix, visit our Trintellix blog for more topics.

The content provided in this article is based on thorough research and in some cases, reviewed by a medical professional. Our goal for the information is to provide helpful, general health informational. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.