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
Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Movies

Review: 'Love is Strange' is not only a…

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina tie the knot in "Love is Strange," but the film winds up being more about living with people than an activist picture.

Movies

Frank Miller on writing 'Sin City'

Frank Miller's comics career is a long and storied one, with "Sin City" being one of his most individual creations. Here, in his own words,…

Movies

Interview: Jessica Alba is a stripper again in…

Jessica Alba has gotten used to vague phone calls from director Robert Rodriguez, the Austin-based auteur who has made a habit of putting Alba into…

Movies

Interview: Robert Rodriguez doesn't mind that Jessica Alba…

In making a Hollywood-friendly adaptation of Frank Miller's gritty "Sin City" graphic novel series, Robert Rodriguez learned that some things have to go — namely…

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

Sex

Big weddings may lead to longterm happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. A new…

Parenting

Fun family activity: Off-Broadway show for pre-teens

"The Love Note" is an off-Broadway musical your pre-teen won't roll his or her eyes at.

Parenting

Barnes & Noble partners with Samsung to release…

Barnes & Noble releases the first full android tablet optimized for reading.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.