We should talk about Brintellix: Antidepressants and Suicide

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March 9, 2015 | 29 Comments

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  1. So tragic to hear. As readers here may well know, Brintellix is being heavily promoted by the drug company and is being touted as a potential blockbuster (i.e. one that generates annual sales of at least $1 billion) drug. What’s more, it seems that the elderly are specifically being targeted. See here, for example, from PharmaTimes:
    “Brintellix is expected to be one of the most successful new agents in the unipolar depression markets…because of its potential for positive effects on cognition and its reasonably tolerable side effect profile demonstrated to date…The study expects Lundbeck and Takeda to position Brintellix (vortioxetine) as a first-line option for elderly patients with depression and as a second-line therapy in patients who fail a generic selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).”
    Source: http://www.pharmatimes.com/article/13-08-07/Antidepressant_Brintellix_tipped_as_blockbuster.aspx

  2. But.. Wait… I thought Prozac, Zoloft were the most successful in the treatment of unipolar depression??? I was also told that it has positive effects on cognition, libido, malaise, stomach ailments, you wont need AA anymore with this stuff I was told. Virtually no side effects. The air has more he told me. I actually have not heard of this medicine. Sounds like a quit smoking agent. Now just exactly what is this next miracle drug supposed to do???? We need another antidepressant like we need a new opiate on the market. Will they ever learn???

  3. Lundbeck & Takeda actually got this “good for cognition” claim onto the label in the EU I hear … and they’ll get it in the US soon enough. It’s a load of crap, I suspect. What they have been doing is running trials against Cymbalta (duloxetine). Now a significant minority of people have truly terrible experiences on Cymbalta, but I think a majority would tell you it makes them kind of drowsy and dopey. (And heaven help you if you get put on the 120 mg dose!)

    So, maybe Brintellix doesn’t dope you up as much as Cymbalta. From there they try and paint it as something that can dispel the fatigue and trouble concentrating you may experience when depressed. They did the same thing with Wellbutrin … the only halfway honest claim they could make was “this pill won’t actively screw up your sex life like Paxil.” But they started actively passing around the rumor that Wellbutrin would actually enhance your sex life. That’s one of the things that GSK paid their little ol’ $3 billion fine for. Too little too late in my opinion.

  4. This story as I bet many more like this is extremely very unfortunate at every level. The fact that the doctor had samples in his office, while the pharmacy didn’t have supplies I believe would only mean that pharmaceutical officials provided the doctor with them. Secondly, once the symptoms of paranoia of patient (which don’t seem were present before brintellix was prescribed) were brought up to doctors attention, and failed to take action seems also very strange. I believe that would be one of most striking red flags I would take in to consideration. I also wonder where are the doctors now with patient’s care, or did they disappear. And how would pharmaceutical company react to such story. Thankfully his father survived to tell the tale, which many don’t. I am also curios if his father is currently taking any medication or not. If not, and is doing fine, I wonder if this could had been misdiagnosis which many do with painkiller addicts, and instead of refer patients to rehabs they refer them to psychiatrists for depression. Wish the best of luck to the father and son.

  5. I’m beginning to Think this is all we wanna do, write some Words in a blog. Most of us on these blogs really know how hazardous these drugs are, but not even Another story makes any change.

    “all drugs have sideeffects – but no one is ever openly attributed to be having a sideeffect”

    “doctors prescribe medicines irresponsibly – but no one ever walks up to their GP with a camcorder and asks him if he can help you get rid of the sideeffects you attracted”

    “randomized controlled trials in psychopharmacology are flawed, fraudulant and ghostwritten – which of course is not a crime, but openly accepted”

    Even I sit here, doing nothing. My sadness is like a cloud hanging over me.
    I dislike what happened to the man in the story above, but I’m sad because it happened to me too.

  6. Doctors are way to fast to prescribe these drugs. They are preyed upon by pharmaceutical giants while still in medical school, being given free gifts and various other gratuities (pharmageddon, 2013). They are bribed and eventually brainwashed by the greedy giants. Honestly, for anyone suffering from depression or an anxiety disorder I would recommend something like SAMe or St.Johns Wart.

    Now we have a whole group of innocent people like this man and many others who are adversly effected by these drugs, and we have many that took them while young and developed Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction Syndrome (PSSD). I hope this man makes a full recovery.

    • Don’t recommend something you can’t even spell. St John’s Wort is also a powerful drug. It too can induce anxiety, insomnia, sexual dysfunction and mania. It should not remain available OTC in the UK.

  7. My experience as a registered psychiatric RN is that even well-known hospitals do not report adverse events to the FDA. It’s like the patient’s death or near-death never happened, and if there is an inquest, the patient is always found to have a “pre-existing condition that contributed to the death. Psychiatrists are trained to write prescriptions; so are we all surprised that it’s what they do?

  8. Gx – Well do I understand.
    Too long a story to tell about my withdrawal from psych. drugs….suffice to say, no one was injured, lost a few friends and family members, was convinced numerous disasters would ensue momentarily, and got the FBI involved. After a period of time in which I was incarcerated while my story was checked out, I was free to go….verdict only that I withdrew too quickly from psych. drugs which were never necessary in the first place.
    Glad that you are here to tell your tale as well…

  9. My psychiatric nurse at our local Mental Health facility praised how wonderful this new drug – Bintellix was to me during my appointment with her. So I went home and researched what I could find on this new miracle drug. This is what I discovered: PubMed Pharmacokinetic evaluation of vortioxetine for the treatment of major depressive disorder. Expert Opinion: Despite the fact that industry-sponsored studies are more likely than other clinical trials to support efficacy of the experimental drug, results have been MIXED. Some studies supported that vortioxetine is superior to placebe in the treatment of MDD and some do NOT. Two studies supported the efficacy of vortioxetine in the treatment of generalized anxiety Disorder and two did NOT. The incidence of sexual dysfunction has varied considerably in different studies, but cardiac effects and psychomotor impairment seem minimal (we have yet to see this). Advantages of vortioxetine over existing antidepressants are NOT yet clear. Another: Mechanism of action: NOT FULLY UNDERSTOOD, but is THOUGHT to be due to it’s enhancement of inhibition of the reuptake of serotonin (5-HT). (They are promoting this toxic chemical drug into our brains by a ‘thought’.) Vortioxetine (Brintellix): A New Serotonergic Antidepressant P T. 2015 Jan;40(1): 36-40. posted in the ‘A Peer-Reviewed Journal for Managed Care and Hospital Formulary Management’ Under Mechanism of Action: Vortioxetine’s mechanism of action is NOT fully understood. It has NOT been determined whether the antidepressant effects of votioxetine are related to it’s binding at various 5-HT receptors. Although VALID pharmacological studies have YET to prove additional benefits for additional serotonin modulation by Vortioxetine. Agonist and partial agonist activity at these two receptors (5-HT1a and 5-HT1b) can lead to further serotonin release and could THEORETICALLY cause additional antidepressant activity. (Now, they’re prescribing a toxic drug for our brains on a theory.) The next sentence ‘hypothesized’ again. And lastly, many interneurons in the brain are regulated by 5-HT3 receptors and when blocked CAN lead to increases in Serotonin, Dopamine, Norephinephrine, acetylcholine, and histamine. Addition in vivo testing is necessary to determine whether this multimodal action produces additional clinical benefit. So what in God’s name are the Withdrawals going to be since most doctors NEVER cover this main important ingredient when prescribing them to unsuspecting, naive patients such as myself. Numerous personal stories include severe nausea but most particularly extreme ‘irritability’ which can easily for most, including myself, quickly turn into violence. Period. And do we need more violence considering the psych drugs already out there that trigger, induce or cause (what ever word you care to use) not only suicide but anger, rage and violence, often very extreme. I don’t think so. I know after 35 years on Psych drugs – I’ve had enough.

  10. Help. My less the competent PA put me on Brintellix 3 weeks ago. Starting yesterday I want to kill myself and I am having significantly violent thoughts. I am in control now but how to I stop the meds safely? Any info is appreciated. If I feel this way tomorrow AM I’m simply going to the ER before I hurt myself or someone else

  11. Is it me or does it seem like everyone now a days is being diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder. A disorder that years ago was considered rare. It seems as if someone has sadness in the same day as laughter that it’s somehow abnormal and needs to be medicated. Am I wrong Or misinformed?? I usually get my info from Kay Redfield Jamison. Co Author of the text book Manic-Depressive Illness. It’s a great text.

  12. This is an interesting read. However, every medication comes with side effects and risks. I don’t think Brintellix is to blame; the prescriber is. I take Brintellix and it works well for me. Stories like this are very scary to people like me with anxiety. It should have been written that suicidal thoughts were a potential side effect, because I almost had a heart attack thinking that Brintellix was going to kill me while reading.

    • I’ve come to this site with hope that I can get through the sudden thoughts that hit me in rapid succession last night. I’ve only been taking the medication for one week! I was visualizing how & what my family would do in the matter of seconds. It is not me! It’s the drug! I’m almost 40, and have never experienced that. However, I’m smart enough to realize those weren’t my thoughts. I am hoping the drug ultimately helps. Meanwhile, I’m scared.

  13. I take brintilex and I have been having very bad suicide ideations I have PTSD depression social anitety I tried to kill myself last night and I have never tried before. I have decided to take myself off this drug and consult my doctor immediately

  14. Please don’t take this drug!!! My husband went to the doctor to take a blood test bc he was stressed and lost a lot of weight. The put him on this med and a week later he has lost all emotion!! He was angry, outraged, on edge, and now just straight up ice cold. He just stopped using it today so I am praying a week won’t have done any damage… On just 5mg!!! Took 10mg the last day he took it. He wasn’t like this before hand and now it’s a man Ive never seen before. Please please don’t take this drug… It’s NOT worth it!!!

  15. psychiatry is experimenting… to see what works and what doesn’t. Brintellix works pretty well for me. But the story sounds awful and it must’ve scared you a lot. always look at the side effects of a drug and watch for them. a sign of one side effect could mean more will follow or are being hidden. Always know the risks.

  16. I had excellent and immediate results from Brintellix. Other Rx in past were horrible in side effect & lack of antidepressant effects. We all have different body chemistries. The tragedy is doctors not staying on top of // acknowledging each individual patients reactions –to these and other medications — and making changes as soon as there’s any ill result 🙁

  17. Sorry about what happened to your father. I am glad he made it through that horrible ordeal. You are a great, loving. Your Dad and family must be very glad to have in the family. My best wishes to you and your family and I applaud your admirable efforts to
    spread awareness and your dad’s story as it relates to this drug. May peace and love reign forever in your life.

  18. I’m so sorry to hear about what happened to your father. That sounds extremely tragic and I’m sure it caused you a lot of emotional pain. In the past, I’ve been prescribed pretty much every antidepressant (SSRI’s) on the market and none of them worked for me. My psychiatrist finally decided that I should try Brintellix because it was a new drug and many of her patients had very good reactions to it. I did some research and discovered the drug was less than 2 years old. I’m extremely weary about taking anything less than 10 years old so this worried me a bit. About 2 weeks of taking this drug, I was lying on the bathroom floor with multiple self inflicted cuts to my arm. This drug did make me suicidal. I’ve read many horror stories about it too. Ironically, my psychiatrist recently prescribed me Luvox for OCD and it’s made me suicidal and it’s EVEN given me homicidal thoughts. I thought I was just going through a depressive phase because I have pretty bad bipolar disorder and I became so depressed and unmotivated to do anything to the point where I considered ECT therapy. It wasn’t until a couple of days ago my mind just popped and I related the depression and suicidal thoughts to this new drug. SSRI’s are very dangerous and if you notice anything wrong, STOP the drug IMMEDIANTLY. Even if your doctor decides to drop you for not listening to them. I’ve learned that over the years and I’m only 20 years old. It’s better to have a doctor drop you than end up in a grave.

  19. I am on my second week of taking Brintellix. I have been switching from Cymbalta to Brintellix. I called my Pyciatrists office today to tell them I feel more depressed and don’t feel like myself at all. I am very frightened after reading some of the posts here. I wasn’t doing that great on Cymbalta and asked if there was another treatment, my fault. My Pyciatrist told me to start taking 15 mg instead of the 10 I have been on for about a week. I took the 15mg today for the first time, but I am scarred. I am not sure how to stop it and just go back to Cymbalta for now.

  20. Brintellix was prescribed to me for anxiety. It will calm me down when I’m feeling overwhelmed but it makes me really depressed and distant from people. Definitely going to talk to my physiciatrist.

  21. I began taking Brintellix two weeks ago. I had previously been taking Cymbalta and lamictal for severe major depression. I had been on the Cymbalta for about 6 years and it has lost its effectiveness as far as depression is concerned. My psychiatrist started me on Brintellix and I am more depressed than I have ever been in my life. When I let her know how I am feeling, she just adjusted the dose and told me to stay on the Lamictal. I don’t know what my next move will be but I did request either ECT or Transcranial therapy at which my psychiatrist said she would refer me to either treatment after I give the Brintellix a chance. In the meantime, I am crying all the time, I’m super anxious and I can’t sleep. These new medications need more trials before they are launched into the mainstream. They may work for some patients but not for all. Doctors need to monitor more closely than they do at the present time. When I call to talk to my psychiatrist, she is either not at work or with a patient in crisis. Well, if I’m thinking suicide, am I not in a crisis situation? I hear magic mushrooms and ketamine work fast on depression. Mushrooms are still illegal but ketamine can be infused legally by an anesthesiologist but it is too expensive. Oh well, hopefully I can “hang in there” as I have been told.

  22. I don’t have time type a dissertation on Brintellix (or the name the FDA changed it to, Trintellix) however I did start taking it and, after a few days when it loaded, I was knocked out for a FULL 24hrs & obviously had a few issues with my employer after that. I have maintained a great & tenured work history & WILL continue to if I stay AWAY from Brintellix/Trintellix

  23. After trying a few other SSRI’s without any real improvement, I was put on Brintellix in early 2015. After two weeks, I wasn’t seeing any change in my depressive symptoms.

    But I began hearing a weird noise in my head. It grew louder by the day- a bit like a smoke alarm going off somewhere in the house. Insistent and irritating. Upon hearing this, my provider told me to taper off of Brintellix immediately, which I did. I am grateful he took it seriously.

    But even after going off Brintellix, the noise in my head continued. My provider told me to see an ENT specialist. That took a few weeks to arrange, while the noise grew louder. When I was finally seen, the ENT did a hearing test and found significant loss in both ears in the upper ranges. I am lucky that he reacted vigorously, putting me on a oral steroids immediately. (80mg tapering over two weeks.) By the end of that, the ringing had nearly vanished in one ear, but the other ear was, (and is), as awful as ever. (Later hearing tests confirmed improved hearing in one ear.) To me, this partial recovery after steroids is solid proof that Brintellix was severely ototoxic to me.

    Recently, I’ve discovered that I suffered vestibular damage as well, so my balance is unreliable. The tinnitus is as utterly maddening as ever, though I’ve recently been fitted with a hearing aid. The hope is that by “filling in” the sound in the damaged hearing range, the tinnitus may recede. It will be worth the few thousand $ if it helps.

    So: if you develop hearing or balance issues while taking any new medication, (especially an anti-depressant), see an ENT specialist *immediately* and inquire about steroids. Otherwise you may never enjoy silence again. Or ride a bike.

  24. For me Brillintex was the best thing that ever has happened to me. I have suffered from Attention disorder and depressions for 34 years and tried several medications that only made me carefree. Last year I started using Brillintex.
    I take 5mg per day, I had NO side effects, it has made me super effective, very optimistic and confident and I no longer have any social anxiety. It has totally changed my life, for better! But I also eat very healthy food and exercise daily.
    I believe that if you use a lot of different medications and smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day. Then it is not Brillintex that is the problem. ( That is a lot of toxins for your body if you smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day! )
    Brillintex + a healthy diet = Brilliant! 🙂
    ..But everyone is an individual so unfortunately the medicine isn’t probably good for everybody.

    Kind reagards,

    M

  25. Why do people take any of these snake oil drugs? It’s hard enough just eating healthy food, getting good sleep and exercising and remaining calm. Why would you add unproven chemicals to your body? Honestly, it is bad enough with Frankenfood, damaged oils, smokers, cereals, junk foods, even modern breads. We are not chemistry sets, we are living people with the need for a simple and clean life. The only doctors worth listening to are the surgeons and the anesthesiologists and generally those who deal with acute ailments. Most doctors who deal in chronic medicine are hopelessly lost, and the worst of these are the “trash can” psychiatrists and the oncologists. Leave these experimental chemicals on the shelf and stop believing in the illnesses people keep pretending you have. Trust yourself first.

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