Post-Marketing Safety Profile of Vortioxetine Using a Cluster Analysis and a Disproportionality Analysis of Global Adverse Event Reports

Corine Ekhart*, Florence van Hunsel, Eugène van Puijenbroek, Rebecca Chandler, Eva-Lisa Meldau, Henric Taavola, G Niklas Norén

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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INTRODUCTION: Vortioxetine, a multimodal serotonergic drug, is widely used as treatment for major depressive disorder. Although on the market since late 2013, the data of the relative safety of vortioxetine, especially compared to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are still scarce.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to explore the adverse event reporting pattern of vortioxetine through a cluster analysis. Furthermore, to compare the adverse event reporting pattern for vortioxetine with that of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

METHODS: Individual case safety reports for vortioxetine in VigiBase up to 1 November, 2019 were subjected to consensus clustering, to identify and describe natural groupings of reports based on their reported adverse events. A vigiPoint exploratory analysis compared vortioxetine to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in terms of relative frequencies for a wide range of covariates, including patient sex and age, reported drugs and adverse events, and reporting country. Important differences were identified using odds ratios with adaptive statistical shrinkage.

RESULTS: Thirty-six clusters containing at least five reports were identified and analysed. The two largest clusters included 48% of the vortioxetine reports and appeared to represent gastrointestinal adverse events and hypersensitivity adverse events. Other distinct clusters were related to, respectively, fatigue, aggression/suicidality, convulsion, medication errors, arthralgia/myalgia, increased weight, paraesthesia and anticholinergic effects. Some of these clusters are not labelled for vortioxetine, such as arthralgia/myalgia and paraesthesia, but are known adverse events for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. A vigiPoint analysis revealed a higher proportion of reports from consumers and non-health professionals for vortioxetine as well as higher relative reporting rates of gastrointestinal symptoms, pruritus and mood-related symptoms, consistent with the cluster analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: A pattern of co-reported adverse events that is consistent with labelled adverse events for vortioxetine and the safety profile for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in general was revealed. Clusters of unlabelled adverse events were identified that reflect clinical entities that might represent signals of previously unknown adverse events. More extensive analyses of spontaneous reports may help to further understand the reporting pattern of adverse events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-153
JournalDrug Safety
Issue number2
Early online date12-Jan-2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2022

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