Trintellix vs Effexor

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For individuals dealing with major depressive disorder (MDD) or other types of depression, certain medications that modify the concentrations of compounds in the brain related to mood, known as neurotransmitters, can assist in managing symptoms and stabilizing emotional lows. Trintellix and Effexor are two such prescribed drugs for depression. They each affect different neurotransmitters within the brain but share an ability to stabilize mood in patients suffering from depression. Trintellix is a serotonin modulator and stimulator (SMS), influencing levels of serotonin on multiple pathways. Conversely, Effexor is categorized as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), primarily affecting levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine.

What is Trintellix?

Vortioxetine (the generic name for Trintellix) is a newer class of antidepressants known as serotonin modulators and stimulators (SMS). It was first approved by the FDA in 2013. Trintellix works by directly influencing serotonin receptors and inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, making more of this chemical available in the brain - much like how Prozac functions. However, Trintellix not only increases levels of free serotonin but also affects other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, dopamine, histamine, and acetylcholine which can lead to a broader range of effects.

On the other hand, Venlafaxine (Effexor), an older drug first approved by FDA in 1993 belongs to another class called SNRI or Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors. Effexor works primarily on two chemicals -- serotonin and norepinephrine – increasing their levels in the brain which helps elevate mood.

Both medications are prescribed for major depressive disorder but they have different side effect profiles due to their influence on various neurotransmitters. Comparatively speaking, Trintellix might result in fewer side effects than Effexor as it has a selective influence mainly on the serotonin pathway.

What conditions is Trintellix approved to treat?

Trintellix is approved for the treatment of different types of depression, including:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD), a severe and persistent form of depression
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable worry about everyday events. It's also used off-label for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD).

How does Trintellix help with these illnesses?

Trintellix assists in managing depression by enhancing the levels of serotonin available in the brain's synapses. It achieves this by not only inhibiting its reabsorption into neurons, similar to Prozac, but also by directly stimulating the neural transmission over certain serotonin pathways. Serotonin is a crucial neurotransmitter that plays important roles in various bodily functions such as mood regulation, cognitive function, memory, sleep patterns and appetite among others. In individuals with depression, it's generally thought that their serotonin levels are relatively lower than normal. Thus, Trintellix works to elevate these levels which can help mitigate depressive symptoms and aid patients in managing their condition more effectively while stabilizing their mood.

What is Effexor?

Effexor, a brand name for venlafaxine, is another type of antidepressant known as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). This means it increases the levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain by reducing their reabsorption. It also slightly inhibits dopamine reuptake. Effexor was first approved by the FDA in 1993. Unlike Trintellix - which has direct effects on various different types of serotonin receptors - Effexor primarily works through increasing available levels of neurotransmitters. Its side-effect profile can be more favorable for some patients; it does not cause significant weight gain or sexual dysfunction that are common to many SSRIs like Prozac and could potentially offer benefits over Trintellix depending on individual patient profiles.

What conditions is Effexor approved to treat?

Effexor is a medication that has received approval for the treatment of:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder

It's worth noting that Effexor can address a wider range of conditions compared to some other antidepressants, which may make it more versatile in certain circumstances.

How does Effexor help with these illnesses?

Venlafaxine, known by the brand name Effexor, is a medication that increases levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. These are neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation and cognitive function. Just like norepinephrine's role in wakefulness, memory recall, focus and attention, it also plays a significant part in the body's stress response. Low levels of these neurotransmitters have been associated with depression. Unlike Trintellix which primarily targets serotonin receptors to alleviate depressive symptoms, Effexor works on multiple pathways by boosting both serotonin and norepinephrine availability within the brain’s chemical synapses. This dual action can sometimes make Effexor a more suitable choice for patients who don't respond well to standard SSRIs or even other types of antidepressants.

How effective are both Trintellix and Effexor?

Both vortioxetine (Trintellix) and venlafaxine (Effexor) have shown effectiveness in treating major depressive disorder, but they act on different neurotransmitters and are thus prescribed under varying circumstances. Trintellix was approved by the FDA in 2013, while Effexor received approval much earlier, in 1993. The two drugs were directly compared in a double-blind clinical trial conducted in 2018; both exhibited similar efficacy at alleviating depression symptoms and had comparable safety profiles.

A review of meta-analysis reports on Trintellix shows its effectiveness begins from the first week of treatment, with a favorable side effect profile when compared to many other antidepressants. It also appears to be well-tolerated across varied patient populations including elderly groups. While it's not as widely-prescribed as some other antidepressants due to being newer on the market, there is substantial evidence supporting its use for managing depression.

A comprehensive review done in 2020 indicates that Effexor seems more potent than placebo treatments for depression and holds up well against most common antidepressants concerning efficacy. However, Effexor may cause higher rates of nausea or sexual dysfunction compared to some SSRIs or SNRIs. Despite this fact, because of its unique pharmacology acting upon both serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibition - it can be an optimal choice for patients who did not respond well to SSRIs alone or those desiring additional benefits such as anxiety reduction.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Trintellix typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Trintellix range from 5-20 mg/day, but studies have shown that a daily intake of 10 mg is enough to treat major depressive disorder in most individuals. Although it's not typically prescribed for children and adolescents, if used, they may start with a lower dose. The dosage can be increased after several weeks if there is no improvement seen in the patient’s symptoms. However, under no circumstances should the maximum dosage exceed 20 mg/day.

At what dose is Effexor typically prescribed?

Effexor treatment typically commences at a dosage of 75 mg/day, taken in single or divided doses. Depending on the patient's response and tolerance, the dose can be increased up to a maximum of 225 mg/day. The dosage increase should not exceed an increment of 75 mg within a week. For individuals who do not respond adequately to initial therapy, higher dosages may be necessary but should only be used after careful consideration due to increased risk of side effects. The highest recommended dose is 375mg/day divided into three doses spaced roughly eight hours apart for patients with severe depression that does not respond to lower dosages.

What are the most common side effects for Trintellix?

Common side effects of Trintellix may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Increased sweating
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Decreased libido (sex drive)

Meanwhile, some frequent side effects associated with Effexor are:

  • Nervousness and anxiety
  • Insomnia or other sleep issues including abnormal dreams
  • Somnolence (sleepiness/drowsiness)
  • Asthenia (general weakness and fatigue)
  • Tremors (unintentional trembling or shaking)
  • Anorexia as well as weight loss due to decreased appetite
  • Digestive problems like nausea, dyspepsia (burning discomfort or pain in the digestive tract), diarrhea
  • Vasodilation which can cause hot flashes
    And sexual dysfunction symptoms such as:
    • Abnormal ejaculation,
    • Impotence.

Additionally, there might be increased risks of having a rash, pharyngitis(inflammation in the back of the throat), sinusitis(inflammation of sinus cavities in head), yawning excessively and flu syndrome(experiencing symptoms similar to influenza). If you experience any severe form these side effects while taking either Trintellix or Effexor, consult your doctor immediately.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Trintellix?

While Trintellix is typically well-tolerated, there can be severe side effects in rare instances. Some of the serious side effects include:

  • Increased suicidal thoughts or tendencies; particularly in individuals under 25 years old.
  • Allergic reactions such as difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat, hives, fever and sore throat. There may also be skin complications like burning eyes, severe skin pain and a red or purple rash that blisters and peels.
  • Potential vision problems including blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling and seeing halos around lights.
  • Cardiovascular issues such as fast/pounding heartbeats, fluttering chest sensations accompanied by shortness of breath which could lead to sudden dizziness (feeling faint).
  • Hyponatremia - low sodium levels within the body resulting in headaches, confusion slurred speech extreme weakness vomiting loss of coordination unsteady feelings
  • Neurological disorders - rigid muscles high fever sweating confusion fast uneven heartbeats tremors feeling you might pass out Any symptoms associated with serotonin syndrome: agitation hallucinations fever sweating shivering rapid heart rate muscle stiffness twitching loss coordination nausea vomiting diarrhea

If you experience any signs of these potential risks while taking Trintellix it's imperative to seek immediate medical attention.

What are the most common side effects for Effexor?

Effexor, generically known as venlafaxine, can produce several side effects:

  • Dry mouth or an unusual taste in the mouth
  • Disturbances in vision such as blurred sight
  • Increased sweating and nervousness due to anxiety
  • Rapid heartbeat or palpitations may be experienced by some patients
  • Sleep disturbances including insomnia are common.
  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and constipation may occur along with loss of appetite.
  • Some individuals might experience weight changes either gain or loss.
  • Headache and dizziness, muscle stiffness or joint pain could also occur.
  • Ringing sensation in ears (tinnitus)

It's important to note that increased urination is not typically associated with Effexor use but if you do experience this symptom it should be reported to your doctor. Additionally confusion, agitation and hostility are serious side effects which require immediate medical attention.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Effexor?

Occasionally, Effexor (venlafaxine) can lead to serious side effects that warrant immediate medical attention. Some of these include:

  • Allergic reactions such as skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips or tongue
  • Changes in blood pressure leading to blurred vision and irregular heartbeat
  • Respiratory problems like shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Neurological issues including seizures, confusion and significant changes in mood or behavior
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pain along with constipation/diarrhea
  • Increased suicidal thoughts or self-harming tendencies
  • Indications of a manic episode exemplified by racing thoughts, abnormal increase in energy levels, reckless behavior and severe sleep disturbances.

If any of these symptoms are experienced while taking Effexor, it is essential to seek out immediate medical assistance.

Contraindications for Trintellix and Effexor?

Both Trintellix and Effexor, like many other antidepressant medications, may increase the symptoms of depression in certain individuals. If you notice your depression worsening, or if there's an escalation in suicidal ideation, thoughts or behavior, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Trintellix nor Effexor should be taken if you are currently taking or have recently stopped taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. It is crucial that your physician knows about all the medication you're on; as MAOIs need a clearance period of approximately 5 weeks to avoid harmful interactions with both Trintellix and Effexor.

How much do Trintellix and Effexor cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of 30 tablets of Trintellix (10 mg) averages around $450, which works out to approximately $15/day.
  • The price for 30 capsules of Effexor XR (75 mg) is about $250, working out to roughly $8.33/day.

Therefore, if you are in the higher dosage range for Trintellix (i.e., 20 mg/day), then brand-name Effexor is less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. However, it's crucial to remember that cost should not be the primary consideration in determining which drug is right for you.

The generic version Venlafaxine (the active ingredient in Effexor) significantly lowers costs:

  • Venlafaxine ER (75mg capsules) comes in packs from 15 up to several hundred with prices starting as low as about $0.16/day and can go up depending on your daily dosage.

As yet there is no generic equivalent available for Trintellix so its cost remains high relative to many other antidepressant medications.

Popularity of Trintellix and Effexor

Vortioxetine, better known by the brand name Trintellix, was prescribed to approximately 1.4 million people in the U.S. in 2020. Making up around 3% of SSRI prescriptions and just under 2% of overall antidepressant prescriptions, it is a relatively new player on the market as an atypical antidepressant with unique properties that distinguish it from SSRIs and other broad classes of antidepressants.

Venlafaxine, often recognized by its brand name Effexor, was prescribed to nearly 8 million people in the USA during the same year. It represents about 17% of SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) prescriptions and close to 9% of all antidepressant prescriptions nationwide. The prevalence of venlafaxine has been predominantly steady for more than a decade now; however, there seems to be a gradual increase due to its effectiveness in treating both depression and anxiety disorders.


Both Trintellix (vortioxetine) and Effexor (venlafaxine) have a well-established use in treating patients with depression, supported by numerous clinical studies indicating their greater efficacy compared to placebo treatments. There are instances where these medications may be used together, but this should only come after careful evaluation by a healthcare professional due to certain contraindications between them. Their mechanisms of action differ: Trintellix works on multiple neurotransmitter receptors and reuptake sites primarily involving serotonin, while Effexor predominantly affects the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine.

Trintellix is typically considered when first-line SSRI or SNRI antidepressants haven't provided adequate relief or if there's a need to circumvent some common side effects associated with these classes of medication such as sexual dysfunction. While both drugs can be found in generic form offering significant cost savings for self-paying patients, it's worth noting that vortioxetine is still under patent protection so it tends to be more expensive than venlafaxine.

Both Trintellix and Effexor require an adjustment period before full therapeutic benefits become apparent. The side effect profile is comparable between the two medications; however, vortioxetine has been shown in some cases to cause fewer sexual side effects than venlafaxine. Patients must monitor changes in mood closely during treatment initiation and seek immediate medical attention if depressive symptoms intensify or suicidal thoughts emerge.