All about Brintellix, the new FDA-approved antidepressant

web-WELL_Antidepres_1009

Nearly 15 million Americans suffer from major depressive disorder, the leading cause of disability for adults between 18 and 44 years old, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Worldwide, fewer than half get the treatment they need.

But a new kid on the serotonin block offers hope for an effective treatment: Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Brintellix (vortioxetine), a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, for the treatment of major depression.

Major depressive disorder is characterized by symptoms – such as low mood, loss of interest, fatigue, insomnia, difficulty concentrating and changes in appetite – that persist every day for at least two weeks, says Dr. Michael Thase, professor of psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and one of the consultants who advised on the study of Brintellix by developers Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda) and H. Lundbeck A/S (Lundbeck).

SSRIs lessen depression by altering naturally occurring chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, which are used to communicate between brain cells.

“It’s a complex process,” Thase explains. “It’s like putting a key into a lock: Once reuptake of serotonin is inhibited and more neurotransmitter is available in the synapse [an area that permits neurons to pass signals to other cells], changes happen in inside the neurons and in genes that affect the stress response, which in turn can improve mood and other related symptoms.”

All antidepressants have that potential, but what’s different about Brintellix, Thase says, is that it has three other effects on other aspects of serotonin transmission, which might broaden its profile of response or lessen certain side effects – such as fewer sexual side effects — than currently available medications.

One study showed Brintellix might also help improve cognitive symptoms of depression, such as concentration, Thase says. But more studies are needed before the FDA will allow the company to advertise these potential secondary benefits.

Because major depression is so multifaceted, it’s helpful for doctors to have a variety of options for treatment, Thase says.

“Although Brintellix primarily affects serotonin, like other widely used antidepressants, its particular profile is different than anything else we have,” he says. “But what you can’t tell yet on the basis of the double blind studies is if these differences will be really important for our patients or if they’ll be trivial in terms of extra benefits. It’ll take some time to ascertain the extent these differences could make for patients.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sister of accused Boston Marathon bombers arrested for…

The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was arrested in New York City for threatening a woman over the phone, saying she could "put a bomb on you," police…

Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…