Trintellix, also sold under the name Vortioxetine (generic) and formerly marketed as Brintellix, is an antidepressant medication prescribed to treat major depressive disorder. Although many individuals find that Trintellix sufficiently reverses depressive symptoms, others might find the medication ineffective or challenging to tolerate (due to side effects). Persons who don’t find Trintellix useful may end up discontinuing the medication whereby they might experience Trintellix withdrawal symptoms.
What causes Trintellix withdrawal symptoms?
Symptoms of Trintellix withdrawal are hypothesized to emerge as a result of neurochemical changes throughout the brain following discontinuation. It is known that whenever a person initiates Trintellix treatment, the brain and CNS require time to adapt themselves to the medication’s effect – this usually takes 2 to 8 weeks. After the brain and CNS have adapted to Trintellix, they might end up becoming reliant upon its consistent presence to maintain stable neurotransmitter levels and neural activation.
How Trintellix alters brain activity
- Serotonin transporter (SERT)
- 5-HT3 receptors
- 5-HT7 receptors
- 5-HT1A receptors
- 5-HT1B receptors
- 5-HT1D receptors
- Beta-1 adrenergic receptors
If Trintellix is discontinued after regular use, the brain and CNS will need time to revert from being Trintellix-adapted to functioning without the presence of Trintellix. As the brain and CNS revert back to pre-Trintellix functioning, it is thought that fluctuations in neurotransmitters and receptors – particularly within the serotonin system – cause former Trintellix users to experience withdrawal symptoms. Until neurotransmitter levels and receptor densities stabilize or normalize, the withdrawal symptoms are likely to persist.
Trintellix Withdrawal Symptoms (Extensive List)
When Trintellix is discontinued, there’s a good chance that withdrawal symptoms will occur – especially among long-term and/or high-dose users. Nevertheless, the exact withdrawal symptoms that end up occurring, as well as the severities of those symptoms – will vary depending on the specific person who withdraws. For this reason, the Trintellix withdrawal symptoms that you experience might be much different than those documented by others.
Below is a list of the most common Trintellix withdrawal symptoms that occur after discontinuation. Realize that not all of the symptoms are documented in formalized medical literature. If you have questions about any particular withdrawal symptom that emerges after Trintellix is discontinued – consult a medical doctor.
- Agitation & restlessness: When you discontinue Trintellix, you might experience a combination of agitation and restlessness. The agitation may be best described as an internal nervousness, uncomfortable inner excitement, or stomach churning. As a result of feeling agitated, individuals may also become more restless or fidgety than usual.
- Anxiety or panic attacks: During Trintellix withdrawal, you may feel extremely anxious, nervous, or experience panic attacks as a result of heightened stress. The anxiety that occurs during Trintellix withdrawal may be related to fluctuations in serotonin signaling, as well as increased activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Daily stress reduction techniques, medications, and/or exercise may prove helpful for some individuals with anxiety during withdrawal.
- Body weight changes: Persons who gained weight as a result of using Trintellix may lose some weight during withdrawal, and individuals who lost weight while using Trintellix may gain some weight during withdrawal. If Trintellix was responsible for aiding in body weight change throughout treatment, then withdrawal may cause the body to shift back to its pre-Trintellix weight.
- Brain fog & cognitive impairment: After discontinuing Trintellix, you may experience brain fog (clouded or unclear thinking) and cognitive impairment (e.g. difficulty paying attention; poor memory; inability to think critically; etc.). The brain fog and cognitive impairment usually go hand-in-hand and are probably caused by a combination of neurotransmitter fluctuations, high stress, and/or poor sleep. A combination of daily stress reduction and regular exercise may help reverse the brain fog and cognitive impairments.
- Brain zaps or jolts: A subset of individuals who discontinue Trintellix may experience brain zaps or unpredictable jolts of electricity-like sensations throughout the head or brain – during withdrawal. These brain zaps can be painful, distracting, and/or emotionally-distressing for some individuals. Brain zaps are thought to be caused by changes in serotonin signaling throughout withdrawal – and may be exacerbated by high stress.
- Depression: When quitting Trintellix, you may become extremely or severely depressed. The severe depression that occurs in withdrawal could simply be a resurgence of major depressive disorder, especially if you were prescribed Trintellix specifically to treat depression. However, depression in withdrawal could also be caused in part by changes in serotonin levels, high stress, and poor sleep.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness: In the early days of Trintellix withdrawal, you might endure a combination of dizziness and lightheadedness. The dizziness and lightheadedness may be related to shifts in cerebral blood flow, changes in blood pressure, neurochemical imbalances, or an overactive stress response. To be on the safe side, it is recommended to have a professional check your blood pressure to ensure low blood pressure isn’t the cause – as this could lead to fainting.
- Fatigue or lethargy: Throughout Trintellix withdrawal, some individuals may report feeling extreme fatigue and lethargy. Fatigue and lethargy can be caused by things like: an overactive sympathetic nervous system, lack of quality sleep, and/or changes in serotonin concentrations within the brain. A combination of light exercise, natural light exposure (from the sun), and stress reduction may help improve energy levels during withdrawal.
- Headaches: Headaches are considered one of the most common Trintellix withdrawal symptoms. After discontinuing Trintellix, headaches may occur for a variety of reasons, including: anxiety or stress overload; cerebral blood flow changes; electrolyte imbalances; serotonin fluctuations; inadequate hydration; and poor sleep. If headaches seem unmanageable, some individuals may want to consider using over-the-counter headache relief medication.
- Insomnia & sleep difficulties: While some people will have no problem sleeping during Trintellix withdrawal, others might struggle to get a sufficient amount of quality sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping in withdrawal, you may want to reflect upon your stress level and circadian rhythm. Lowering your stress and normalizing your circadian rhythm by getting natural light exposure throughout the day (plus avoiding artificial light at night) – may help counteract some of the sleep issues that you encounter in withdrawal.
- Irritability & anger: Discontinuation of Trintellix can cause individuals to become very irritable or angry. The irritability and anger are generally related to high stress hormone secretion; serotonin fluctuations; mental anxiety or depression; and/or insufficient sleep during withdrawal. If you’re feeling irritable or angry, think of healthy ways to cope with these symptoms such as by exercising or meditating.
- Nausea with vomiting: Nausea or the internal sensation that you’re on the verge of vomiting, may occur after Trintellix treatment is discontinued. Nausea is most likely to occur in the early stages of withdrawal when your brain and CNS are scrambling to revert back to functioning without the influence of Trintellix. If the nausea becomes intense, there’s a chance that it may even result in some vomiting.
- Racing heart or palpitations: Your heart rate may seem to be increased or racing after discontinuing Trintellix. This racing heart rate might be accompanied by heart rhythm abnormalities or palpitations. Palpitations are described as fluttering-type sensations, skipped heartbeats, and/or heartbeats that seem much stronger or louder than usual. Always have a doctor check your heart to verify that nothing serious is occurring after you’ve discontinued Trintellix.
- Reduced appetite: In withdrawal, it is fairly common to experience reduced appetite or appetite loss. Reduced appetite in withdrawal may be caused by high anxiety and/or severe depression. Additionally, various Trintellix withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and lightheadedness can directly interfere with appetite.
- Sensitive sensory processing: While withdrawing from Trintellix, you may experience increased sensitivity of senses. This may cause sounds to be perceived as louder than usual – or visuals to be perceived as much brighter than usual. The increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli such as lights and sounds may exacerbate anxiety and stress. For this reason, it’s best to avoid any environments with loud noises and/or bright lights during withdrawal.
- Suicidal thinking: A symptom of Trintellix withdrawal that a subset of persons may experience is suicidal thinking. Suicidal thinking during withdrawal can be caused by a relapse of depressive symptoms in conjunction with the neurotransmitter fluctuations and high stresses of withdrawal. If you experience suicidal thoughts after quitting Trintellix, it is recommended to seek emergency psychiatric or medical attention.
- Vivid or frequent dreams: It is believed that discontinuation of medications like Trintellix can alter sleep cycles and the circadian rhythm. Altered sleep cycles and circadian biology can trigger particularly vivid dreams – or more frequent dreaming than usual during withdrawal.
Note: The Trintellix withdrawal symptoms listed above may be partial or incomplete. If you’re aware of other withdrawal symptoms associated with Trintellix that weren’t listed above – share them in the comments.
What determines the severity of Trintellix withdrawal symptoms?
The severities of Trintellix withdrawal symptoms that you endure will probably be influenced by a myriad of variables. Experts that are well-versed in Trintellix withdrawal suspect that variables, including: length of Trintellix use; Trintellix dosage; speed of Trintellix withdrawal; lifestyle of the former Trintellix user; and genetic expression – might affect the severities of withdrawal symptoms.
- Length of Trintellix use: The total duration over which you administered Trintellix may influence how severe your withdrawal symptoms end up. Long-term Trintellix users are thought to be at increased risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms – than short-term users.
- Trintellix dosing: What dosage of Trintellix did you use throughout your treatment? Individuals who used high doses of Trintellix are thought to experience withdrawal symptoms of greater severities than persons who used low doses.
- Speed of Trintellix discontinuation: The rate at which you tapered off of Trintellix or discontinued its administration may impact your withdrawal severity. Quitting Trintellix “cold turkey” is thought to increase odds of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms – compared to slowly tapering off of the medication under psychiatric guidance.
- Use of other substances: It is thought that using medications and/or supplements (other substances) while discontinuing Trintellix often helps mitigate or lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, persons who use other substances during withdrawal will probably have less severe withdrawal symptoms (in most cases) than those who aren’t using anything.
- Former user’s lifestyle & genetics: The former Trintellix user’s lifestyle habits, as well as his/her genetic and epigenetic expression may influence withdrawal severity. Someone who lives a healthy lifestyle should have an easier time coping with discontinuation symptoms than someone who lives unhealthily. Moreover, expressing certain genes might make withdrawal easier (or more difficult) compared to if you express others.
Best supplements for Trintellix withdrawal symptoms
Many former Trintellix users believe that supplements can help decrease the severities of Trintellix withdrawal symptoms and promote healing. Included below is a list of supplements that some may find beneficial while withdrawing from Trintellix. All that said, you should know that not everyone is guaranteed to benefit from using supplements during Trintellix withdrawal.
Disclaimer: It is recommended that you never take any supplement without consent from a medical doctor. Medical consent is needed to ensure that the supplement you’re going to use is safe based on your medical status.
Affiliate disclosure: The supplements listed below contain affiliate links which help this site earn money. That said, the links are to products that we think are high quality, reasonably-priced, and potentially beneficial while quitting Trintellix.
- Magnesium: A supplement that you may want to consider trying during Trintellix withdrawal is magnesium. Many find magnesium helpful for anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, and headaches throughout withdrawal.
- L-Tryptophan: Trintellix is known to interact with many serotonin receptors and processes. During withdrawal, supplementing with L-tryptophan may help restore or increase serotonin levels within the brain.
- Krill oil: Krill oil is a supplement that might decrease inflammation and eradicate brain fog or cognitive impairment while withdrawing from Trintellix.
- Melatonin: Anyone dealing with insomnia or other sleep disturbances may want to consider using melatonin before bed during Trintellix withdrawal.
- Electrolytes: Electrolyte imbalances may emerge during Trintellix withdrawal and could exacerbate withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, you may want to supplement with an electrolyte formula.
- Vitamin B complex: Using B-vitamins may be beneficial if you have severe anxiety, agitation, or insomnia after discontinuing Trintellix.
- Lemon balm: If no supplement seems to be effective in reducing your anxiety, you may want to consider giving lemon balm a test.
- Multivitamin: Multivitamins can help prevent vitamin deficiencies that might occur in certain individuals while withdrawing from Trintellix.
- Probiotics: If Trintellix damaged your gut flora, supplementing with a probiotic may help repopulate healthy gut bacteria in withdrawal.
- Curcumin: A supplement that many find helpful for both inflammation and depression is curcumin.
- Rhodiola rosea: If you have severe fatigue during withdrawal from Trintellix, Rhodiola is something to consider using.
- L-Tyrosine: Though Trintellix doesn’t primarily affect dopamine levels, stressors of withdrawal could cause dopamine changes. Supplementing with L-tyrosine may help replenish dopamine stores in the brain.
- NAC: High levels of oxidative stress are linked to anxiety and depression. Supplementing with NAC, a powerful antioxidant, may be of benefit during withdrawal.
How to withdraw from Trintellix safely (Recommendations)
In the event that you’ve decided to quit taking Trintellix, there are some recommendations that you should keep in mind for your personal safety during Trintellix withdrawal. General recommendations for persons dealing with Trintellix discontinuation, include: working with a psychiatrist; tapering off of Trintellix gradually; living healthily; and administering medications and/or supplements that are recommended by a psychiatrist.
- Work with a psychiatrist: Trintellix withdrawal should only be conducted under supervision of a psychiatrist or medical doctor. A psychiatrist will be able to treat any relapse of psychiatric symptoms throughout withdrawal, as well as give you some suggestions that might help you cope with discontinuation symptoms.
- Slowly taper off of Trintellix: Never quit Trintellix cold turkey or suddenly, as this can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. Instead, it is recommended that you slowly taper off of Trintellix with the help of a medical doctor. Some sources recommend tapering down the dosage by 10% per month if you want to minimize withdrawals as much as possible.
- Healthy habits: Ensure that you’re living as healthily as possible throughout withdrawal. Healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and staying socially active may increase your ability to cope with discontinuation symptoms.
- Use other substances: Using substances such as supplements and/or pharmaceutical medications can help alleviate symptoms of Trintellix withdrawal in many persons. A medical doctor should be able to recommend or prescribe substances that will ease the severity of Trintellix withdrawal.
How long does Trintellix withdrawal last? (Duration)
The total duration that it takes to fully overcome Trintellix withdrawal symptoms can vary substantially among former Trintellix users. Not everyone will recover at the exact same pace – some might recover within a few weeks, whereas others might recover in a few months. Because withdrawal is individualized, it’s generally not recommended to compare your Trintellix withdrawal – to the withdrawal of another former Trintellix user.
That said, as a general rule of thumb, most individuals should notice significant improvements in Trintellix withdrawal symptoms within 2 weeks to 3 months after their final dose. Keep in mind that withdrawal symptom improvement does not necessarily indicate complete recovery from withdrawal symptoms. Nevertheless, if you want to maximize your chances of recovering from discontinuation symptoms as quickly as possible, work with a psychiatrist or medical doctor.
Have you experienced Trintellix withdrawal symptoms?
If you’re a former Trintellix user and are currently undergoing withdrawal or already completed your withdrawal – share a comment below with details of your experience. Sharing a comment about your Trintellix withdrawal may be helpful to someone else who feels completely alone in the process. Additional questions are listed below for you to answer if you’d like to be as thorough as possible in your commenting.
- What was the total length of your Trintellix treatment?
- What was the dosage of Trintellix that you used?
- How quickly did you withdraw from Trintellix?
- What was the reason that you ended up quitting Trintellix?
- In your experience, were the most challenging Trintellix withdrawal symptoms?