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Current and Future Perspectives on the Major Depressive Disorder: Focus on the New Multimodal Antidepressant Vortioxetine

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 1 ]


Laura Orsolini, Carmine Tomasetti, Alessandro Valchera, Felice Iasevoli, Elisabetta Filomena Buonaguro, Michele Fornaro, Annastasia L.C. Fiengo, Giovanni Martinotti, Federica Vellante, Ilaria Matarazzo, Roberta Vecchiotti, Giampaolo Perna, Marco Di Nicola, Alessandro Carano, Andrea de Bartolomeis, Massimo Di Giannantonio and Domenico De Berardis   Pages 65 - 92 ( 28 )


Background: Vortioxetine (VRX) is a multimodal antidepressant that acts as serotonin (5HT) transporter inhibitor as well as 5HT3A and 5HT7 receptors antagonist, 5HT1A and 5HT1B receptors partial agonist. It was recently approved in the US and the EU for the treatment of adult patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

Objective: The present article aims at systematically reviewing findings of the published and unpublished research on the pharmacological properties, efficacy, safety and tolerability of oral VRX in the treatment of MDD.

Method: A systematic review, in accordance with the Cochrane Collaboration and the PRISMA guidelines, was conducted searching the electronic databases MEDLINE, by combining the following keyterms: ((vortioxetine OR LU AA21004 OR brintellix) AND (antidepressant OR depression OR major depressive disorder), without language/time restrictions. Further studies were retrieved from reference listing of relevant articles or manual search. Preclinical and clinical studies (RCT and open label trials) were here retrieved.

Results: Several placebo-controlled and active-treatment studies demonstrated the antidepressant efficacy and tolerability of VRX in adult patients affected with MDD. In addition, VRX seems to own procognitive activity. VRX seems generally well tolerated, without significant cardiovascular or weight gain effects. The most common adverse events reported included nausea, vomiting, hyperhidrosis, headache, dizziness, somnolence, diarrhoea and dry mouth.

Conclusion: Overall, placebo controlled and active treatment trials support that VRX is effective and well tolerated in MDD. Its combined serotonin reuptake inhibition with agonism, partial agonism and antagonism of a number of receptors might provide a broader spectrum of antidepressant activity than currently available agents.


Antidepressant, brintellix, depression, Lu AA21004, major depressive disorder, multimodal, vortioxetine.


National Health Service, Department of Mental Health, Psychiatric Service of Diagnosis and Treatment, “G. Mazzini” Hospital, p.zza Italia 1, 64100 Teramo

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