Trintellix: A Guide On The Antidepressant And How CBD Could Replace It
If you are diagnosed with major depression disorder, you may be prescribed to use Trintellix for treatment. An antidepressant in the SSRI category of drugs! If these terms don’t sound familiar, there are simple explanations for each in this article!
You may have also heard about CBD, CBD oil, hemp oil, and similar products. CBD is a natural compound from hemp plant with several medical benefits including reduction of anxiety and increasing serotonin levels which means CBD could be a natural alternative to Trintellix for treatment of depression.
Read on to know more about Trintellix, SSRI drugs, MDD symptoms and more importantly about CBD and its medical benefits and how it could be a replacement for Trintellix.
What is Trintellix?
Trintellix is an antidepressant prescription drug that is recommended for the treatment of major depression disorder (MDD). Trintellix along with Brintellix are the brand names for the generic drug; Vortioxetine with the chemical formula of C18H22N2S. Trintellix is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and a serotonin receptor modulator.
As you will read from the rest of the article, Trintellix is not an easily accessible drug, it is not cheap and it has side effects!
SSRI Class of Drugs
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are among the top recommended antidepressants to treat moderate to severe depression. One of the advantages of SSRIs over other antidepressants is their fewer side effects. As the name suggests, SSRIs increase levels of serotonin in the brain.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, a chemical product of nerve cells which sends signals between them. Serotonin which contributes to feelings of well-being is an amino acid (5-hydroxytryptamine) produced from tryptophan which enters the body through our diet.
Cheese, red meat, nuts, pineapples, and salmon are among the tryptophan-containing foods which eventually boost the levels of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is believed to be the mood stabilizer and leads to better sleeping patterns. Tryptophan deficiency which results in lower serotonin levels may lead to mood disorders, anxiety or eventually depression.
As mentioned earlier, SSRIs leads to higher serotonin levels in the brain but not by producing serotonin but by blocking the reuptake or reabsorption of serotonin in the brain which makes serotonin more available.
SSRIs primarily affect serotonin and not other neurotransmitters and therefore they are called selective! Trintellix is an effective SSRI.
Who Manufactures Trintellix
Takeda, a Tokyo based pharmaceutical company manufactures Trintellix in 5, 10 and 20 mg tablets.
Takeda is the largest Asian pharmaceutical company by revenue! Brintellix which is an equivalent of Trintellix (both contain Vortioxetine as the active ingredient) is manufactured by Lundbeck which is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Based on drugs.com, the cost for 30 tablets of 5 mg Trintellix is about $400 without insurance. Thirty tablets (5 mg) of Brintellix cost around $300 late last year. Similar to other pharmaceutical companies, Takeda has a patient assistance program for their drugs by which you can get a discount for Trintellix.
You must meet certain conditions though to use that program. For example, you should not have any coverage via your insurance for this specific drug, you must be US resident, etc. You can apply for this program here.
Trintellix is one of the many prescription drugs used to treat medium to severe depression conditions. Trintellix may lead to better mood, better sleep pattern, normal appetite, and it may raise your energy level by increasing the availability of serotonin.
If your doctor diagnoses you with MDD, he/she may prescribe you Trintellix!
Another possible usage of Trintellix is to improve different aspects of cognitive abilities in people with depression. Cognitive abilities include learning, perception, and memory. Cognitive disorder (CD), is a category of mental health disorder that primarily affect cognitive abilities.
There has been pressure from manufacturers of Trintellix and Brintellix for FDA to approve usage of Trintellix and Brintellix not only for MDD treatment but also for treating CD.
Although FDA had meetings in 2016 about this topic, due to lack of evidence for improving cognitive ability in healthy adults, the application is still pending though it appears that Trintellix and Brintellix improve some aspects of cognitive function in people with depression!
Both drug makers Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Lundbeck have been counting on this approval to create new demand for their drugs and at the same time new evidence and justification to convince insurance companies to cover the costs.
As mentioned above these drugs are expensive. It costs from $ 300-400 for a one month supply! At the same time, there are many generic antidepressants that are way cheaper.
The price difference has caused insurance companies to require extensive documentation from health care providers to show that prescription of Trintellix is absolutely required for them to cover it. In that regard, some insurance companies require doctors to try several of the generic drugs first and then prescribe the brands if needed!
For treatment of depression, both medications and psychotherapy could be effective for most patients. Medication is useful to relieve symptoms. Seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist would beneficial as well. Medications for the treatment of depression include but not limited to the following:
Tricyclic antidepressants such as Tofranil, Pamelor, Surmontil, and Vivactil. Tricyclics are very potent but they have more and severe side effects. There are other types of antidepressants such as Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) which are very effective but need very strict diet regimens due to possible drug-food interactions!
Before thinking about treating depression though, one has to make sure that the diagnosis is right! A little feeling of sadness or lack of motive to do what you often enjoyed doing here and there might be completely normal. However, if depression symptoms last and only worsen, it’s time to seek advice from a health care provider as quickly as possible.
Diagnosing depression depends on various tests by the doctors.
These include but not limited to physical exams, lab tests such as complete blood count or thyroid function, psychiatric evaluations such as feelings, and behavior patterns and finally using the guidance published by the APA (American Psychiatric Association) called Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (DSM-5).
The last version available is edition 5! There are criteria for depression that are listed in this tool for doctors to follow! To know some of these symptoms, doctors may ask you to fill out a questionnaire!
If you are told by your doctor that you suffer from MDD, here is what you need to know.
MDD, also known as clinical depression, is a major medical condition affecting life in many ways on a daily basis. Some of the signs and symptoms that may suggest MDD situation are as follows:
Having feelings of sadness almost every day, sudden change in appetite in either direction, losing or gaining a lot of weight in a short period of time, thoughts of committing suicide, difficulties with concentrating on activities, not being able to make decisions, and showing less and less interest in doing things once you enjoyed doing.
There are various types of depression that you may hear from your doctor. Anxious distress,
mixed features, melancholic features, atypical features, psychotic features, Catatonia, peripartum onset, and seasonal pattern. You can read more about each of these here.
Other than these, Bipolar I and II disorders including mood swings that range from highs (mania) to lows (depression), cyclothymic disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, and persistent depressive disorder are among the terms that you may here link to depression as well.
Trintellix Risks and Side Effects
Antidepressant drugs often have side effects associated with them. Type of side effects, severity, and length of them depend on the type of antidepressant, genetics of the patient and other variables. Trintellix is an SSRI drug and fortunately, their side effects are not as much as other antidepressants such as MAOIs. Some of the common side effects are listed below.
Common Side Effects
Common side effects associated with Trintellix and other SSRIs include but not limited to the list below.
- Passing gas
- Decreased interest in sex
- Dry mouth
- Change in taste
- Spinning sensation
- Blurred vision
- Decreased interest in sex
If any of the side effects worsen or last long, you have to immediately call your healthcare provider.
Youth Suicide Warning
Based on American Society for Suicide Prevention (ASFP), roughly around 45,000 suicides occur in the US each year which costs $69 billion dollars annually. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24 based on CDC. Depression is a very common cause of suicidal thoughts.
Although antidepressant drugs are supposed to ease depression symptoms including thoughts of suicide, there have been indications and concerns that the use of antidepressant may induce suicidal behavior, especially in youths. Antidepressants increased the risk of suicide in children, adolescents, and young adults when compared to placebo in short-term studies.
Their effects were not seen in adults beyond age 24. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued public warnings years ago about the increased risk of suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents treated with SSRI antidepressant drugs!
Risk of Withdrawal
The good news is that antidepressants are not like opioids. They are not habit forming or addictive so withdrawal effects are not as severe as withdrawing an opioid. Sudden withdrawal of Trintellix may lead in one or more of the following symptoms:
- A headache
Alternatives to Trintellix
There are several SSRI drugs which could be considered as Trintellix alternatives. Namely, Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, Pexeva, Zoloft, and Viibryd are all SSRIs. Two of the common SSRIs prescribed relatively frequently in the US are Prozac and Lexapro. Read more to learn about them.
Prozac is the brand name for the generic drug Fluoxetine which is used to treat depression. Unlike Trintellix, Prozac is used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) as well.
Similar to Trintellix, Prozac may improve your mood, sleep, and appetite, and in many cases the energy level due to increasing levels of serotonin. Prozac is offered in 10, 20 and 40 mg tablets.
Lexapro is the brand name for Citalopram (namely escitalopram, which means it’s only the S-enantiomer). Lexapro is an antidepressant that may have less adverse effects compared to other SSRIs and it is prescribed for anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, and MDD. It comes in 5, 10 and 20 mg tablets.
Though there are a variety of chemical medication alternatives for Trintellix, most are expensive, they come with similar if not worse side effects and they all need a prescription. After all, they are all chemicals!
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, one of the natural compounds that recently gained popularity is CBD! You have heard of it but don’t quite know what it is? Read on!
CBD: The All Natural Alternative
CBD is a natural constituent of the herbs cannabis and hemp. Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species grown specifically for industrial use of its derived products such as CBD. One of the other constituents of hemp which is more well-known is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Inhalation of THC gives you the feeling of well-being, happiness and “high” per se.
Marijuana contains large amounts of THC. Hemp has much more CBD than THC. CBD is not psychoactive, meaning that it does not make you high though it has several medical benefits and that’s the major difference between CBD and THC.
CBD pronounces the effect of serotonin in the body and therefore it can be used as a natural alternative to SSRIs such as Trintellix. CBD helps relieve pain and anxiety, and it betters the mood.
CBD is available in different forms and different types of products such as tinctures, tropicals, oils, vape pens, transdermal patches, and even infused edibles!
CBD: A Natural Trintellix Alternative for Depression Treatment
You may ask yourself why one should consider CBD as an alternative to Trintellix or other SSRIs. Well, studies have shown that CBD improves depressive symptoms and it is indeed effective in the treatment of anxiety and depression. CBD is natural, it is not habit-forming and it doesn’t come with side effects!
Though Trintellix is a powerful antidepressant drug, with many chemical alternative medications, it still shows side effects, it is not cheap, and it needs a prescription! CBD is a natural alternative to treat depression which is available through online stores.
As always, it is very important that you take caution when deciding to take any medication, or natural compound to treat your disease symptoms.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for information purpose only. It is not a substitute for professional advice. For medical conditions related to depression, you must consult with your health care provider. Never try a prescription medicine without consulting with your doctor.