According to Wikipedia, antidepressants can treat ADHD, not just depression. Can/In what way does Vortioxetine/Brintellix treat ADHD? How? It doesn't say anything like that on Wikipedia.

So far I know, ADHD is caused partly (primarily?) by a dopamine deficiency.

Vortioxetine/Brintellix is apparently a Serotonin modulator and stimulator. So what? How does this address the dopamine deficiency?

1 Answer 1


First, a correction. ADHD is NOT caused by a dopamine deficiency. It is way more complex than that, but i won't go into detail here. The best treatments for ADHD alter dopamine activity (and they are very effective), but that doesn't mean the cause for ADHD is a dopamine deficiency.

So the question is how vortioxetine can help in ADHD. Well, the short answer is that one major part of ADHD (the "look-a-squirrel-forget-what-you-were-doing part") is working memory. Vortioxetine has been shown to have positive effects on working memory, at least in depressed patients. It wouldn't be too far out to assume it could have similar effects for ADHD-patients.

The long answer is that different neurotransmitter systems are interconnected, so that increasing signaling in one can increase or decrease signaling in another. It gets even more complex when you add receptor subtypes to the picture. Serotonin has 14 receptor subtypes that we know of, with different roles and effects. Then add that the same neurotransmitter on the same receptor has different functions depending on where it is located in the body or brain. Now you have a nice, complex picture.

Vortioxetine activates 5-HT1A (serotonin 1A), which increases dopamine signaling in the prefrontal cortex and deactivates 5-HT1B, which also increases dopamine signaling in the PFC (same neurotransmitter, same location, different receptor, opposite effect). It also deactivates 5-HT3 and 5-HT7, both of which have effects that strengthen signaling in the PFC (through the serotonin, noradrenalin and glutamate systems). All of these effects could be relevant for improving ADHD-symptoms.

So that's how it could help in ADHD.

  • 4
    Hi there and welcome to Health.SE! This looks like it could be a really good reply, but here we require sources to back up medical statement, preferable links to peer-reviewed literature etc. Can you edit some in to support your answer? (As a new user, you can only add two links, but if you add them in comments someone else can edit for you, I think)
    – YviDe
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 8:42

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