The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has published draft guidelines supporting National Health Service use of Lundbeck’s Brintellix for treating major depressive episodes.

The recommendation follows Lundbeck’s submission of additional evidence on the drug’s use for adults who had not tolerated, or whose major depressive episode had not responded to two previous antidepressants, as requested by NICE in previous draft guidance. 

Based on this new data, the Committee concluded that Brintellix (vortioxetine) offers comparable efficacy to other third-line antidepressants, and so could be recommended as a cost-effective option in this setting.

In the UK it is estimated between 5% and 10% of people seen in primary care, 10% to 14% of medical inpatients and up to 15% of older people have major depressive disorder, according to NICE, which also noted that the risk of relapse is 50%, 70%, and 90% after the first, second, and third episodes, respectively. 

Brintellix is an inhibitor of serotonin (5-HT) reuptake and that is thought to be a mechanism of its action. However, it is also an agonist at 5-HT1A receptors, a partial agonist at 5-HT1B receptors and an antagonist at 5-HT3, 5-HT1D and 5-HT7 receptors.

The draft guidelines are now up for consultation until the end of this month.