Fluoxetine (Prozac)

What is Fluoxetine

Fluoxetine is an antidepressant that is used to treat depression. It belongs to a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).It can sometimes be used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder and bulimia. It is believed to have less unwanted side effects than older antidepressants. It takes between 4 to 6 weeks and sometimes longer for fluoxetine to work. Prozac is the brand name for Fluoxetine. It can be taken by adults and children who are aged 8 years and over for depression and by adults only for obsessive compulsive disorder and bulimia.

Fluoxetine HCL

Fluoxetine and Fluoxetine HCL are the same thing. The suffix “HCl” is hydrochloric acid. Pure drugs are usually treated with a dilute HCl to make water soluble salt so it can interact better with the body.

How to take Fluoxetine

Fluoxetine is usually taken once a day. It is advised that you take it at the same time of day every day. Fluoxetine can be taken with or without food

How do I take Fluoxetine?

Take Fluoxetine as directed by your doctor. Do not stop taking it even if you feel better.

What is the dose of Fluoxetine?

The usual dose of fluoxetine is 20mg a day in adults and 10mg in children. However, adults can have up to a maximum of 60mg a day while children can have up to 20mg a day.

What if I forget to take it?

If you miss your daily dose of fluoxetine, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is closer to the time of your next dose. Take your next day dose at your usual. Do not take a double dose to make up for a dose that you forgot to take.

What if I take too much?

See your doctor immediately if you take too much.


Side effects of Fluoxetine

These side effects of fluoxetine are usually mild and would usually go away within two weeks. Ensure you inform your doctor if these side effects persist.

  • Feeling very tired
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Agitation
  • Suicidal and having thoughts of harming themselves.

Rare/serious side effects

  • Low sodium blood levels (Hyponatremia)
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Increased the risk of bleeding events.

Serious allergic reaction

Anaphylaxis ( rare)

Who is Fluoxetine not suitable for?

Fluoxetine may not be suitable drug for some people. Let you healthcare professional know if you  

  • have had an allergic reaction to fluoxetine in the past
  • have epilepsy, or any other illnesses that cause seizures. This is because Fluoxetine can increase their risk of having seizures.
  • are taking carbamazepine or phenytoin
  • have heart disease. This is because Fluoxetine can make your heartbeat faster.
  • have diabetes. This is because Fluoxetine can make it more difficult to maintain a stable blood sugar levels.  
  • have a history of stomach ulcers
  • have Glaucoma. This is because Fluoxetine can increase the pressure in your eyes.
  • are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • have a kidney or liver disease.
  • are having medicines for migraine.
  • taking St John’s wort

Taking Fluoxetine while Pregnancy

Fluoxetine has been associated with a small increased risk of problems for unborn babies. However, they could be problems too if your depression is not treated while pregnant. You doctor will weigh the risk vs benefit and decide if fluoxetine is appropriate for you while pregnant. If you get pregnant while taking Fluoxetine, do not stop immediately, let your doctor know as soon as possible.

Taking Fluoxetine while breastfeeding

Fluoxetine can be used during breastfeeding. Many breastfeeding mothers have used Fluoxetine without any problems. A small amount of Fluoxetine passes into breast milk and  has been linked to side effects in a few babies.

Fluoxetine for anxiety

Fluoxetine can be used to treat anxiety. Click here to read reviews of people who are currently take fluoxetine for anxiety.

Fluoxetine with alcohol

While you can drink alcohol while taking fluoxetine, manufacturers advice that you avoid alcohol while taking fluoxetine as it may make you feel drowsy. Alcohol can also make your depression worse.

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