If you’re looking at treatment options for major depressive disorder, your doctor might suggest Trintellix (vortioxetine) for you.

Trintellix is a prescription medication that’s used to treat depression in adults. The drug comes as a tablet that’s taken by mouth. If Trintellix works to treat your condition, you’ll likely take it long term.

For more information about Trintellix, see this in-depth article on the drug.

Like other drugs, Trintellix can cause mild or serious side effects. Keep reading to learn more. You can also talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of using Trintellix.

Some people may experience mild or serious side effects during their Trintellix treatment. Examples of a few of Trintellix’s commonly reported side effects include:

For more information on side effects that Trintellix may cause, see the sections below.

Some people may experience mild side effects while taking Trintellix. Examples of mild side effects that have been reported with this drug include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see “Side effects explained” below.

In most cases, these side effects should be temporary. And some may be easily managed, too. But if you have any symptoms that are ongoing or that bother you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. And don’t stop using Trintellix unless your doctor recommends it.

Trintellix may cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. See the Trintellix medication guide for details.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Trintellix, visit MedWatch.

Although rare, serious side effects are possible from taking Trintellix. Serious side effects that have been reported with Trintellix include:

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

Note: To help lower the risk of withdrawal from Trintellix, your doctor may slowly decrease your dosage of the drug if you’re stopping it.

* 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 effects explained” section below.

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

Risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and young adults

Trintellix has a boxed warning for the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and young adults (ages 24 years and younger). A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Antidepressant drugs, including Trintellix, can raise the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and young adults. This risk is highest within the first few months of taking Trintellix or when your dose is changed.

Although this side effect is rare, you and your family should know the symptoms to watch for. That way, you can tell your doctor right away if you experience them. Examples of these symptoms include:

  • thoughts or attempts to take your life
  • feeling agitated, angry, or irritable
  • acting on dangerous impulses or thoughts
  • new or worsening depression or panic attacks
  • other changes in mood or behavior

It’s important to note that Trintellix is only FDA-approved for use in adults.

What might help

If you experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor may recommend changing your medication or your dose.

In some cases, it may be necessary to visit a hospital or call 911 (or your local emergency number) if you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions.

Suicide prevention

If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
  • Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Weight gain

In rare cases, Trintellix may cause weight gain. But it’s important to note that weight gain was not a side effect reported during studies of Trintellix.

There have been reports of weight gain in people using Trintellix after the drug was released onto the market. But it’s unclear how often this has happened or if Trintellix was the cause.

If you’re concerned about weight gain during your Trintellix treatment, talk with your doctor.

What might help

If you experience weight gain during your Trintellix treatment that’s concerning to you, talk with your doctor. They may be able to help determine if Trintellix may be the cause of the weight gain. If so, they may recommend a different medication to treat your condition.

Itching

In rare cases, some people may experience itchy skin while taking Trintellix. In studies, this side effect was reported in a small amount of people taking Trintellix.

What might help

If you have itchy skin that bothers you or doesn’t go away, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to reduce this side effect.

Sexual side effects

Trintellix may cause sexual side effects to occur in some people. In studies, this was a common side effect seen in both males* and females* taking Trintellix.

Sexual side effects are more likely with higher doses of Trintellix. Examples of sexual side effects that may occur include erectile dysfunction or a decrease in libido (sex drive).

* In this article, we use the terms “male” and “female” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.

What might help

If you’re concerned about sexual side effects during your Trintellix treatment, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend other medications to reduce these side effects.

If the sexual side effects are extremely bothersome, your doctor may recommend a different drug to treat your depression.

Headache

In rare cases, Trintellix may cause headaches. But it’s important to note that headache was not a side effect reported in studies of Trintellix. There have been reports of headaches occurring in people using Trintellix after it was released onto the market. But it’s unclear how often this has happened or if Trintellix was the cause.

Some people have also reported having headaches after suddenly stopping their Trintellix treatment. Missing one dose of Trintellix shouldn’t cause any specific side effects. But stopping the drug suddenly may cause side effects, including headaches.

If you’ll be stopping your Trintellix treatment, your doctor may recommend slowly decreasing your dose. This is to help prevent headaches or other side effects when stopping your treatment.

A headache may also be a symptom of low sodium levels, which is another side effect of Trintellix.

What might help

If you’re experiencing headaches during your Trintellix treatment, talk with your doctor. They may recommend a blood test to check your sodium levels to see if that could be causing your headaches. They may also be able to recommend ways to help prevent or treat headaches.

If you wish to stop your Trintellix treatment, talk with your doctor first. You should not change your dose of Trintellix or stop taking the drug unless your doctor recommends it.

If you’ll be stopping your Trintellix treatment, your doctor may recommend slowly decreasing your dose. This is to help prevent headaches or other side effects when stopping your treatment.

Allergic reaction

Like most drugs, Trintellix can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

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

What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest an over-the-counter oral antihistamine, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine), or topical product, such as hydrocortisone cream, to manage your symptoms.

If your doctor confirms you had a mild allergic reaction to Trintellix, they’ll decide if you should continue using it.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your doctor confirms you had a serious allergic reaction to Trintellix, they may have you switch to a different treatment.

Keeping track of side effects

During your Trintellix treatment, consider keeping notes on any side effects you’re having. Then, you can share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful to do when you first start taking new drugs or using a combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things such as:

  • what dose of drug you were taking when you had the side effect
  • how soon after starting that dose you had the side effect
  • what your symptoms were from the side effect
  • how it affected your daily activities
  • what other medications you were also taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Keeping notes and sharing them with your doctor will help them learn more about how the drug affects you. And your doctor can use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Trintellix’s side effects.

Can Trintellix cause drowsiness?

No, Trintellix shouldn’t cause you to feel drowsy or tired. Drowsiness was not a side effect reported in studies of the drug. Fatigue (lack of energy) wasn’t reported in people taking Trintellix, either.

But other medications taken for depression or mood disorders may cause you to feel drowsy. Examples of antidepressants that may cause drowsiness include amitriptyline, Lexapro (escitalopram), or trazodone.

If you experience drowsiness during your Trintellix treatment, talk with your doctor. They can help determine if Trintellix is the cause, or if you’re taking any other medications that may make you feel drowsy. They may also be able to recommend ways to reduce this side effect.

How long do side effects from Trintellix last?

It depends on what side effects you’re experiencing. Some side effects may last only a week or two, but others may last longer. For example, in studies, nausea was most common during the first week of treatment. But after about 2 weeks, nausea generally went away in most people taking Trintellix.

But other side effects, such as sexual side effects, may last throughout your Trintellix treatment.

If you’re experiencing side effects that don’t go away or that bother you, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to decrease these side effects.

Does using Trintellix cause sweating?

Trintellix isn’t likely to cause sweating. Sweating was not a side effect seen during studies of the drug. But there have been reports of this side effect occurring in people using Trintellix after it was released onto the market. At this time, it’s unclear how often people taking Trintellix may experience sweating or if Trintellix was the cause.

Other medications used to treat depression may also cause sweating. Examples of these drugs include Wellbutrin SR or XL (bupropion) or Effexor XR (venlafaxine).

If you experience sweating during your Trintellix treatment that bothers you, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to decrease this side effect.

Could Trintellix cause vision problems?

Yes, Trintellix may cause vision problems. Specifically, Trintellix may cause closed-angle glaucoma in people who have other eye conditions.

If you have a narrow angle in your eye, you have a higher risk for an angle closure attack. This is when the iris (the colored part of your eye) swells and prevents fluid in your eye from circulating. This causes the pressure in your eye to increase. If you’re also taking Trintellix, your risk for eye problems may be even higher.

Other drugs used to treat depression may also cause vision problems, such as blurry vision or double vision. Examples of these medications include Zoloft (sertraline) and Lexapro (escitalopram).

If you have concerns about vision problems during your Trintellix treatment, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Does Trintellix cause joint pain?

No, joint pain is not a side effect of Trintellix. Joint pain wasn’t reported in studies of the drug. But other medications that are used to treat depression, such as Celexa (citalopram), may cause joint pain.

If you’re experiencing joint pain while taking Trintellix, talk with your doctor. They may be able to help determine what’s causing the pain and the best ways to treat it.

Trintellix comes with several warnings.

Boxed warning: Risk of suicidal thoughts in children and young adults

Trintellix has a boxed warning for the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and young adults (ages 24 years and younger). A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

To learn more, see the “Side effects explained” section above.

Other warnings

Trintellix may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Trintellix. The list below includes factors to consider.

Bipolar disorder. Trintellix may cause mania or hypomania to occur. These are changes in your mood that are also symptoms of bipolar disorder. You may have a higher risk for mania or hypomania if you have bipolar disorder. If you have a history of bipolar disorder, tell your doctor before taking Trintellix. They may recommend a different treatment option for you.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Trintellix or any of its ingredients, you should not take Trintellix. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.

Glaucoma. If you have glaucoma or narrow angles in your eyes, taking Trintellix may make your condition worse. This is because Trintellix may cause your pupils to dilate (get bigger), which can make your condition worse. If you have glaucoma, be sure to tell your doctor before starting Trintellix. They may monitor your eyes more closely during your Trintellix treatment, or they may recommend a different medication for you.

Bleeding disorders. Trintellix may increase your risk for bleeding.If you have any bleeding disorder, your risk may be even higher. Depending on your condition or other drugs you may be taking, your doctor may monitor you more closely during your treatment. This way they can make sure you’re not experiencing any bleeding. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a different medication to treat your condition.

Use of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). You should not take Trintellix if you’re taking an MAOI to treat a mental health condition. And if you’re taking the MAOI antibiotic Zyvox (linezolid) you should not take Trintellix. Also, if you’re receiving the MAOI methylene blue as an intravenous (IV) injection you should not take Trintellix. Before starting Trintellix, tell your doctor about all the drugs you’re taking, including any MAOIs.

Alcohol use and Trintellix

You should not drink alcohol while taking Trintellix. Alcohol may cause some side effects of Trintellix to be worse. For example, Trintellix may cause nausea and vomiting or headache. These side effects may be worse with alcohol use.

If you have concerns about avoiding alcohol during your Trintellix treatment, talk with your doctor.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Trintellix

Below are details about Trintellix’s use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Pregnancy

It’s not known if Trintellix is safe to take during pregnancy. Animal studies show that Trintellix may cause harm to a fetus. But animal studies don’t always predict what will happen in humans.

If you take Trintellix during your third trimester of pregnancy, your baby may experience withdrawal symptoms when they’re born. In addition, taking Trintellix during your third trimester may also raise the risk for your child being born with lung problems.

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before using Trintellix. They may recommend a different medication to treat your condition.

If you do use Trintellix during pregnancy, consider participating in the National Pregnancy Registry for Antidepressants. This registry collects information about the safety of antidepressants (such as Trintellix) when used during pregnancy. You or your doctor can sign you up for the registry by calling 844-405-6185 or by visiting the registry’s website.

Breastfeeding

It’s not known if Trintellix is safe to take while breastfeeding. No studies have determined if Trintellix passes into breast milk or what effects the drug may have on a child who is breastfed.

If you’re currently breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, talk with your doctor before taking Trintellix. They may recommend a different medication for you.

Trintellix is an effective medication to treat depression in adults. But some people may experience side effects from this drug. Most of these side effects may be mild, but in some cases they can be severe.

If you have questions about side effects that can occur with Trintellix, talk with your doctor. Below are examples of some questions you may want to ask:

  • What can happen if I become pregnant while taking Trintellix?
  • How should I manage side effects that I experience from Trintellix?
  • Do my other health conditions raise my risk for side effects from Trintellix?

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Disclaimer: Healthline 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 another 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.