Brintellix/trintellix Long Term Side Effects

Claire from Clare Says:

I have struggled with depression for most of my life, and am always in search of the perfect antidepressant. I work with a psych doctor who is always willing to try new things. 10 months ago I started 5 mg of Brintellix daily, within a week my mood was significantly elevated, I was sleeping better, waking up much earlier and was more motivated to do things in the morning. I went up to 10mg daily However the nausea was dreadful! I pushed through for a couple of weeks, changed to taking the brintellix at night and after a while it subsided. My mood got better and better, I had recently turned 50, and had gained a little weight, so with my new found morning energy I started working out 2times a week with a trainer, and then walking most other mornings! The walking then changed gradually to running, and after 6-7 months I was running 3-4 miles a few times a week and going to the gym twice a week. I was loving life, getting really into good shape and felt better than I had in years! Then I started getting pain in my shoulders and neck, I went for PT and it didn't help, the pain would move from shoulder to neck and down my traps, always changing. Then I started getting foot pain, which my doc said was Plantar Fasciatis from running, and extremely stiff muscles especially in the mornings. I stretched and stretched but to no avail, the foot pain turned to numbness and tingling in my lower legs, and still intermittent with the foot pain. I started backing off on exercise a bit, but nothing changed, I have been to a rheumatologist and infectious disease specialist and tested for everything but they don't know. Currently am undergoing tests for diabetes and ms and other neurological disorders, but the neurologist doesn't think it's that, and wants to blame my depression, or hormonal imbalance. Funny thing is I wasn't at all depressed when this started 3 months ago! now I am not able to even take a ten minute walk without some kind of pain. I tapered off Brintellix because I am terrified it's that, but of course I now have terrible depression and anxiety. I am starting cymbalta for depression today. My question is for anyone who has been on Brintellix did you start experiencing any of these problems after being on it for at least 6 months or more? Shoulder pain, joint pain, muscle cramping and stiffness, bottom of foot pain, numbness, coldness and tingling in feet and legs below knees, dreadfully stiff neck and neck pain. All of these symptoms change daily for me, they are intermittent, but there is never a time now when I am pain free or not stiff. I have been off Brintellix for 3 weeks now.

49 Replies (3 Pages)

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N Joy Says:

I'm so sorry you are having those issues. I have also been on Brintellix (Trintellix) for about 6 months now (I was prescribed it for panic attacks, believe it or not) and it has worked wonders.
Although I am not having the muscle pain or other issues you are describing, I have developed an almost constant headache and am wondering if it could be from the medication. I have never been prone to headaches before, and now I have them all the time. I am a 44 year old woman, so I am not sure if it could be hormonal as well. I feel so good on the Brintellix that I really don't want to have to stop.
Have headaches been an issue for you?
Hope you feel better soon.

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Claire from Clare Says:

Hi Joy,

Thanks for responding. I have not had headaches. Like you I loved Brintellix, felt so good on it, but I am so desperate to find a reason why I am feeling so bad, that I am scared to go back on it!

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David Says:


Although few and far between, there are reports of headache being listed as a possible side effect of Vortioxetine (Brintellix), so I would probably be suspicious about it as well. I noticed that many drug pamphlets often only represent a partial list of adverse effects versus what I find here; which also includes reviews from other patients. In order to determine if Brintellix does turn out to be the culprit, I question if you'd have to pause treatment until further notice in a process of elimination...? Either way I hope you get around to feeling better soon too!


Are you still experiencing the symptoms mentioned in your original post or have they started to subside in recent days?

From what I could gather, this drug has a fairly long half life (est. 66 hours) which over the course of months of treatment might've accumulated & overlapped itself; hence why it may be taking so long for pestering side effects to subside... Just one theory I suppose. Nausea seemed to be the most common side effect as reported by NIH; however I find odd that they don't display a full scope of symptoms for this particular drug, like they typically have for other more commonly known/marketed antidepressants... Many of the symptoms you described such as muscle cramping and joint pain are categorized under Vortioxetine as "incident unknown" -essentially stating that they have no idea if Vortioxetine is the cause or not...(or maybe they do know it's the cause and use that category as a scape goat to get let off the hook in case of legal trials... who knows?) But one thing's for sure and that is time will eventually heal all.

Be well and best regards!

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FedUp Says:

I've been on Trintellix for seven months and I've decided to stop taking it. I had an instant weight gain of 25 pounds which I can't seem to lose. I decided the weight gain was worth it because the medication was so helpful for my severe depression. Now the depression has returned and I don't think the meds are worth it anymore. My hands and feet are swollen all the time, I have muscle spasms, a stiff back, and I've had a headache every day for a month. I can't say for sure that these symptoms are from Trintellix, but at this point I'm afraid if I don't get this extra 25 pounds off, I'm going to be facing diabetes or worse. I absolutely cannot lose weight on this medication.

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Claire from Clare Says:

Hi David

Thanks for your comments, you were right, the symptoms are finally starting to subside, 6 weeks after I stopped taking Brintellix! All test results came back negative, thank goodness. So the neurologist put me on a muscle relaxer to help the muscle spasms, and it's working. My feet and legs were already feeling better, and now thanks to the muscle relaxer my neck and shoulders are improving too. Hopefully I will keep improving and be able to get back to exercising soon. This was a very frightening experience for me, there were times when I felt so bad I literally thought I was going to die. I hope nobody else ever has to go through this.

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Debbie Says:

The doctor started me on Trintellex today. Which they changed the name from a B to a T because pharmacist were confusing it with a heart medication. Unfortunately, I will probably never experience what you've gone through. I have degenerative bone disease, osteoarthritis, have had right knee replaced twice, right hip replaced once, right shoulder replaced twice and left shoulder repaired. I have compromised immune deficiency disorder, I have insipidus diabetes, Major Depressive Disorder, severe insomnia, severe anxiety-and much more. I've had depression since I was a little child, I'm only 55 as of this month. I was taking Trazadone for depression but I was having horrible, very vivid nightmares. They would carry over for days even while I was awake. I was waking my husband up throughout the night or calling my son at 3:00 in the morning because I was so scared. I wouldn't look out the window, open the door. I was out and out Paranoid. I'm hoping this new medicine works. I've been on so many. He started me out at 5mg a day for 7 days and then to 10mg for 7 days, back to see him on the 8th of March. Hope your doing better prayers.

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Ree Says:

I have struggled with depression all of my adult life and have been on many different antidepressants over the years. Desperate to feel better, my doctor and I decided that Trintillex was right for me. We could not have been more wrong. I have a history of migraines, and cluster headaches. I was on the Trintillex for 3 weeks and had to stop because the headaches were horrible not to mention, this medication interacts with almost everything. Literally. Especially migraine medications. So I had a terrible reaction called seratonin syndrome. The headaches and nausea became even worse after I stopped the medicine. It has been a week and the Trintillex is still not out of my system. I hope you feel better soon.

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pmbourque Says:

Clair, I'm 51, been premenopausal since I was 24. I also had Fibromyalgia for 15 years. If you continue to hurt, please research it.

I've only just started the trintellix, so I've got nothing to help you or the others with - But for the nausea, Motion sickness tablets work wonders for nausea. Equate brand is cheap.

So far I'm just dizzy and feeling a little dopey.

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Lori Says:

I started out on 5 mg trintillex in April 2017. I have been on 20 mg trintillex since mid May 2017. This medication has been great for treating my depression. However, I feel emotionally numb. I am having constant numbness, tingling, stiffness, muscular and foot pain in both feet. I have arthritis in both of my thumbs. My hands have been really sore and hurting more since I started this medication. I have had my B12, A1C, and potassium checked, and it was normal.

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Lori Says:

Are you still taking Brintellix? If so, has your foot pain, joint pain, muscle cramping, stiffness, bottom of foot pain, numbness, coldness and tingling in feet gone away?

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Esther Says:

You might want to consider increasing your electrolyte intake. Brintellix can cause low sodium levels, which I didn't even know until I read the entire package insert (I don't think my psychiatrist knew either). I was dealing with diarrhea, stomach cramps, muscle weakness, and flu-like symptoms. The diarrhea and stomach issues were even worse after I exercised. I tried increasing my sodium intake, and all side effects stopped completely. I now feel completely fine on Brintellix 20mg daily, no discernible side effects at all.

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pmbourque Says:

So sorry I'm late getting back to this. 5mg, I felt fine. 2 days later we upped it to 10, and 2 days later i was stoned ,for lack of a better word. Shaking so bad I could not write, I couldn't remember how to spell my name let alone sign when I went back in on day 4 of 10mg. We cut it back to 5mg, and
I've been fine! More energy, I'm focused, thinking straighter.

I'm taking it with 300mg bupropion, 15mg buspar, and 100mg trazodone. It's just enough for it all to work.

And I'm losing wieght!

I will keep in mind to keep up my sodium levels

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Avery Says:

I have been on a laundry list of medications. None have worked for my depression. I took lexapeo for maybe 8 months and was able to continue losing all the weight I had gained from Wellbutrin and a failed marriage.

I think (although most days that's stretching it) that once I began trintellex I began swelling in feet and lower legs. Yes tingling. Sometimes numbness. Joint pain that by now is probably arthritis. Stiffness in joints.

Then all of a sudden I gained 20 lbs in less than 2 months. Although I'm 47 I'm
Not pre mentapauseal. I'm a yoga instructor so worked out everyday and ate healthy.

Dr.'s are so clueless. They have no answers and just pass me off to another one (who like the previous ones..,has no 6th sense. If it's not stated clearly in one of their dusty old medical textbooks, then it isn't happening.

I just switched back to lexapeo. I can tell you for certain my mental condition has been spiraling downward since about the time I Began the trintellex I feel damn near brain dead.

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pmbourque Says:

Re: pmbourque (# 8) Expand Referenced Message

Update. I've stopped taking it due to side effects of shaking and terrible memory loss.

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Shorty Says:

Re: pmbourque (# 8) Expand Referenced Message

I ended up being prescribed Pantoprazole to help with the GERD and nausea. It was the only way I could handle the trintellix.
I'm now a week off trintelix after tapering off over a month. My body, all my joints are achy, especially elbows, shoulders, hips and ankles. I also feel very stiff in my back and knees.
I am supposed to start Cipralex but I'm worried about how it will make me feel.
The nausea before was so miserable.
I'm eventually starting an ADD med but I need the depression under control first :(

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Jackie Says:

I just started taking trintelix 8 weeks ago and I have extreme joint pain in both my knees, and ankles and feet.... if I stop taking this will my symptoms go away?

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Esther Says:

I started experiencing aches and pains in my lower back about a month ago. Every time I get up from a sitting or lying position, I have to take a moment because of the pain. It's nothing unbearable, but it's annoying. I'm still taking the Brintellix, though. Emotionally, I feel better than ever. The last time I felt this good was before I had depression, and the aches and pains are worth it for me.

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Jackie Says:

Re: Esther (# 17) Expand Referenced Message

I have been off the trintilex for one week... the pain and stiffness are still there but in a scale of 1-10, it's a 4 when it was a 10+ every minute of the day while on it... down side... I feel big anxiety again... lashed out st my husband for a trivial matter... I felt the best ever while on it??

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pmbourque Says:

Re: pmbourque (# 8) Expand Referenced Message

I had to stop talking it after 3 months. The shaking, the complete loss of short term memory, and then the weeping, sadness.

No thank you

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Deb Says:

This drug can cause low sodium and potassium maybe you should have tried taking electrolytes before and after exercise the simptoms you describe could have been that

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