Trintellix vs Prozac

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For patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) or other forms of depression, certain medications can help manage symptoms by altering the concentrations of neurotransmitters—compounds in the brain that are linked to mood. Trintellix and Prozac are two such drugs commonly prescribed for these conditions. Each impacts different neurotransmitters in the brain but both have been shown to stabilize mood in patients with depression. Trintellix is classified as a serotonin modulator and stimulator, impacting several types of serotonin receptors while inhibiting reuptake, thus affecting levels of this key neurotransmitter more broadly than selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). On the other hand, Prozac falls under the category of SSRIs–it primarily affects levels of serotonin by preventing its reabsorption into presynaptic cells which increases its availability within synaptic clefts where it can impact post-synaptic neuron activity.

What is Trintellix?

Vortioxetine (the generic name for Trintellix) is a novel antidepressant that belongs to the class of serotonin modulator and stimulators. It represents an evolution in the development of antidepressants beyond selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs like Fluoxetine (Prozac). Approved by the FDA in 2013, Trintellix works not just by increasing levels of free serotonin but also by directly affecting other specific types of serotonin receptors. This mechanism can lead to more balanced effects on mood and cognition and may help patients who don't respond adequately to traditional SSRIs. However, it's important to note that this additional action at different sites can potentially result in different side effect profiles as compared with Prozac.

What conditions is Trintellix approved to treat?

Trintellix is approved for the treatment of various forms of depression:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD), a significant mental health condition characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and disinterest in activities
  • It's also utilized as an adjunctive therapy, meaning it can be used alongside other treatments if initial therapy does not provide adequate symptom relief. However, unlike Prozac, Trintellix is not specifically approved for use in treating bipolar disorder or treatment-resistant depression.

How does Trintellix help with these illnesses?

Trintellix, like Prozac, is used to manage depression. However, its actions in the brain are more diverse. Trintellix not only increases levels of serotonin available in the synapses by blocking its reuptake into neurons but also modulates certain other neurotransmitter receptors directly. It acts as an agonist at some types of serotonin receptor and an antagonist at others, meaning it can both increase and decrease their activity depending on the specific type. Serotonin plays a critical role in mood regulation amongst other things such as cognition, memory, sleep patterns etc., so having optimal levels is crucial for well-being. By affecting these multiple pathways related to serotonin signaling in different ways simultaneously, Trintellix potentially provides a more comprehensive approach to managing depression symptoms compared to drugs that act only through one mechanism.

What is Prozac?

Prozac is a brand name for fluoxetine, which is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), meaning it increases the levels of serotonin in the brain by reducing its reabsorption. It does not act on norepinephrine or dopamine. Prozac was one of the first SSRIs to be approved by the FDA back in 1987 and has since become a common treatment option for depression and other mental health conditions. Because Prozac is an SSRI antidepressant, its side-effect profile differs from that of non-SSRIs. Notably, it can cause sedation and may lead to weight gain and sexual dysfunction - these are typical side effects associated with SSRIs like Prozac. However, increased levels of serotonin can be beneficial in treating depression, particularly in patients who do not respond optimally to drugs that target multiple neurotransmitters such as Trintellix.

What conditions is Prozac approved to treat?

Prozac is approved for the treatment of a variety of mental health conditions, including:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Panic disorders

It's also used in combination with psychotherapy to treat other conditions such as body dysmorphic disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Prozac is known for its efficacy and broad range of therapeutic uses.

How does Prozac help with these illnesses?

Serotonin, a neurotransmitter which also acts as a hormone, plays vital roles in various functions of the body such as mood regulation, sleep cycle control and digestive processes. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression. Prozac works by increasing the availability of serotonin in the brain; it achieves this by inhibiting its reuptake into nerve cells thereby helping to alleviate some symptoms of depression. It is one among the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Its effect on maintaining higher levels of serotonin has made it an effective antidepressant for many patients over years. In contrast, if patients do not respond well to SSRIs like Prozac or experience undesirable side effects, they may be prescribed other types of antidepressants such as Trintellix that influence different neurotransmitters or work through varied mechanisms.

How effective are both Trintellix and Prozac?

Both fluoxetine (Prozac) and vortioxetine (Trintellix) are effective in treating patients with depression, though they act on different neurotransmitters and thus may be prescribed under varying circumstances. Fluoxetine was initially approved by the FDA in 1987 while Trintellix received approval more recently, in 2013. The effectiveness of fluoxetine and vortioxetine has been studied separately, but direct comparisons of their efficacy have not yet been conducted.

Fluoxetine's long-established safety profile and its effectiveness at alleviating symptoms of depression starting from the first week of treatment have made it one of the most widely prescribed antidepressant drugs worldwide. It is well-tolerated across diverse populations including elderly individuals and pregnant women. Optimal efficacy for fluoxetine is typically seen at a dosage around 20 mg/day, with studies indicating that it can also help to reduce suicidal ideation alongside depressive symptoms.

As a newer medication on market compared to Prozac, Vortioxetine (Trintellix), which is considered an SSRI-class drug like Prozac but actually has multiple mechanisms involving several serotonin receptors as well as serotonin re-uptake inhibition functionality - therefore sometimes referred to as multi-modal action – still lacks robust data confirming its stand-alone efficacy compared to SSRIs such as Prozac or other first-line treatments used for depression. However, given its unique pharmacology where it acts upon various components involved with serotonin regulation rather than focusing solely on preventing reabsorption like typical SSRIs do; this could potentially make Trintellix an optimal choice for those who did not respond sufficiently to conventional antidepressants due to these additional modes of action.

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 research suggests that a daily dose of 10 mg is often enough to manage major depressive disorder in most adults. Adolescents may be started on a lower dosage under the guidance of their healthcare provider. If there's no observed improvement after several weeks, the dosage can potentially be increased. However, it is important not to exceed the maximum recommended dosage of 20 mg/day under any circumstances.

At what dose is Prozac typically prescribed?

Prozac therapy typically commences at a dosage of 20 mg/day taken orally once in the morning. The dose can then be gradually increased by your doctor, if necessary, up to a maximum of 80 mg/day. This is often divided into smaller doses that are taken several times throughout the day or given as a single dose with the weekly form of Prozac. If there is no sufficient response to treatment at 20-40 mg/day after multiple weeks, an increase in dosage may be considered under medical supervision. As always, any changes in medication should only be made following consultation with your healthcare provider.

What are the most common side effects for Trintellix?

Common side effects of Trintellix can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue (general weakness and tiredness)
  • Increased sweating
  • Sexual dysfunction such as decreased libido (sex drive), abnormal ejaculation, impotence
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea -Loss of appetite

While taking Trintellix, some people may experience insomnia or sleep disturbances, anxiety or restlessness. It's also possible to have an unusual urge to move the muscles in your arms and legs. These side effects often decrease over time but if they persist or worsen, getting medical help is necessary.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Trintellix?

When comparing Trintellix to Prozac, it's important to note that while both are used in the treatment of depression, they may cause different side effects. For Trintellix some potential serious side effects include:

  • Increased thoughts about suicide or self-harm
  • Signs of allergic reaction: hives, difficulty breathing, swelling in your face or throat
  • Abnormal bleeding or bruising under the skin
  • Severe nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Easy bruising or unusual bleeding (nosebleeds)
  • Low sodium levels - symptoms can include headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness and unsteadiness
  • Eye pain/swelling/redness/seeing halos around lights indicating possible angle closure glaucoma
  • Serotonin syndrome symptoms: agitation/restlessness/hallucinations/fast heartbeat/high fever/excessive sweating/shivering/twitching/unable to walk properly

If any of these occur after starting Trintellix usage consult with your healthcare provider promptly.

What are the most common side effects for Prozac?

Prozac is a commonly prescribed antidepressant but like every medication, it has potential side effects. These can include:

  • Dry mouth and an unusual taste in the mouth
  • Sweating and hot flashes
  • Mild nausea, upset stomach or diarrhea
  • Weight changes – loss or gain
  • Sleep disturbances such as insomnia, strange dreams
  • Symptoms of nervousness including feeling anxious or jittery
  • Possible skin reactions such as rash or itching
  • Blurred vision, dizziness, headaches
  • Increased urination due to fluid imbalance -Fatigue and weakness could also be experienced.

It's important to note that while these side effects are possible with Prozac use, not everyone who uses this medication will experience them. If you're considering starting on Prozac for your condition, discuss these potential side effects with your healthcare provider so you can make an informed decision about your treatment options.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Prozac?

Prozac is a widely prescribed medication, but it's important to be aware of potential side effects that may require medical attention. These can include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat.
  • Unusual mood swings or behavior changes such as agitation, hostility, aggression, restlessness.
  • A noticeable increase in suicidal thoughts and feelings especially among young adults during the initial stages of treatment.
  • Symptoms related to serotonin syndrome: hallucinations, fast heartbeat, fever, severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea and muscle stiffness/twitching.
  • An unexplained rash or itching on the skin
  • Visual disturbances like blurred vision and seeing halos around lights
  • Abnormal heart rhythms which might give rise to chest discomfort or palpitations If you experience any of these issues while taking Prozac make sure to contact your healthcare provider immediately for further advice.

Contraindications for Trintellix and Prozac?

Both Trintellix and Prozac, along with many other antidepressant medications, may exacerbate symptoms of depression in certain individuals. If you notice an increase in feelings of sadness or apathy, a shift in mood or behavior, or any suicidal thoughts crop up during your treatment period, it's crucial that you seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Trintellix nor Prozac should be taken if you are currently taking (or have recently stopped taking) monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). It is vital to inform your doctor about all the medications you are on; MAOIs will need approximately 5 weeks to fully clear out from your system before Trintellix or Prozac can be safely administered. This precaution prevents potentially dangerous drug interactions between these substances.

How much do Trintellix and Prozac cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for 30 tablets of Trintellix (10 mg) averages around $450, which works out to about $15/day.
  • The cost for 30 capsules of Prozac (20 mg), on average, is approximately $570, translating to roughly $19/day.

Therefore, if you're taking the standard dose for each medication (Trintellix: 5 to 20mg per day; Prozac: 20 to 60mg per day), then brand-name Prozac may be more expensive on a per-day treatment basis. However, it must be emphasized that cost should not be your primary consideration in determining which drug suits your needs better.

As far as generic equivalents are concerned:

  • As yet there's no generic version available for Trintellix.
  • Generic fluoxetine is considerably less expensive than its brand-name counterpart. It comes in packs ranging from 15 up to a whopping count of 1000 capsules (with strengths varying between 10 and 40 mg). Your daily expense could start from an appealingly low rate of just over $0.05/day — provided you opt for purchasing the largest pack upfront — and generally shouldn't exceed about $0.90/day even in other scenarios.

Popularity of Trintellix and Prozac

Vortioxetine, also known by its brand name Trintellix, was prescribed to approximately 1.4 million people in the USA in 2020. This newer antidepressant medication accounts for around 3% of overall prescriptions within its drug class (serotonin modulator and stimulator). Although it's still less common than many other options, vortioxetine has been steadily growing in popularity since being introduced into the market in 2013.

Fluoxetine, commonly recognized under the brand name Prozac, remains a staple choice among healthcare providers with about 4.7 million prescriptions filled in the U.S during 2020. Fluoxetine represents just below 20% of all SSRI prescriptions and nearly one-tenth of total antidepressant prescriptions across America. Over the past decade, fluoxetine usage rates have remained stable as it continues to be an effective treatment option for depression.


Trintellix (vortioxetine) and Prozac (fluoxetine) are both commonly prescribed for depression, backed by substantial clinical research indicating their effectiveness compared to placebo treatments. Both might be used in combination under the guidance of a physician, although there could also be contraindications between them that need careful evaluation. Owing to their different mechanisms of action, with Trintellix acting on multiple serotonin receptors along with inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin and Prozac primarily increasing synaptic levels of serotonin by inhibiting its reuptake into presynaptic cells, they may be selected under differing circumstances.

Prozac is typically seen as a first-line treatment option due to its proven efficacy and safety profile over several decades. On the other hand, Trintellix can provide an alternative for patients who do not respond well to first-line SSRIs like Prozac or those needing to avoid typical SSRI-related side effects such as sexual dysfunction or weight gain.

Both drugs come in generic form providing significant cost savings especially for patients paying out-of-pocket. However, it's important noting that these medications require time before full therapeutic effects manifest.

The side effect profiles for both drugs bear similarities; generally speaking they're well tolerated but differ slightly regarding common side effects: While Prozac is often associated with weight gain and sexual dysfunction, Trintellix seems less likely to cause these issues but more prone causing nausea. Just like any antidepressant medication usage should include close mood monitoring particularly at therapy onset or if dosage modifications occur. If worsening depression symptoms or suicidal thoughts arise medical attention must be sought promptly.