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About 3% of pregnant women are treated with antidepressant drugs during gestation. After delivery the number of treated women increases to 5 to 7%. Most prescribed antidepressants in pregnancy are selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors and/or serotonin and noradrenaline re-uptake inhibitors, such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, citalopram and venlafaxine (VENF). Despite the fact that VENF has been assigned to pregnancy category C by the FDA, experimental studies with this drug are rare. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the effect of prenatal administration of VENF on early postnatal development of rat offspring and selected biochemical variables at weaning of pups. Pregnant female Wistar rats were treated with VENF from day 15 to 20 of gestation at the doses of 7.5, 37.5 and 70 mg/kg. Females were allowed to spontaneously deliver their pups. After delivery the pups were inspected for viability, gross malformation and they were weighed on day 0, 4 and 21 post partum. On day 21 post partum, the pups were killed, brains were removed from the skulls and blood samples were collected for biochemical assay (proteins, glucose-GOD, glucose-HEX, lactate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and total antioxidant status). The study showed that prenatal VENF administration resulted in a mild maternal intoxication manifested by decreased body weight gain of pregnant females. There was no effect of the drug tested on the body and brain weights of offspring. No obvious morphological alterations were observed in the delivered pups. Similarly, there were no changes in the selected biochemical variables determined.


Vortioxetine is a novel antidepressant with two mechanisms of action – direct effect on several serotonin receptors and serotonin re-uptake inhibition. It shows antidepressant, anxiolytic and cognitive effects during the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this article was to summarize the use of vortioxetine in clinical studies and assess the efficacy and tolerability. Most of the studies reported a statistically significant efficacy for vortioxetine versus placebo. In addition, vortioxetine showed efficacy in patients with an inadequate response to selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) or serotonin-noradrenaline re-uptake inhibitors (SNRI) monotherapy and improved cognitive function in patients with MDD. In these studies, vortioxetine was well tolerated – most common observed adverse effect was nausea – and it was not associated with clinically important changes in laboratory test results or vital signs. Vortioxetine showed a relatively low incidence of sexual dysfunction.