Fluoxetine, or prozac, is an antidepressant, one of the first to be classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) developed by Eli Lilly. Approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of major depression, bipolar depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa and panic disorder, prozac has been shown to be effective for children, adults and senior citizens.
Although no medication can cure depression, prozac has been known to be effective for many, and, to this day, fluoxetine is one of the more commonly prescribed medications for this condition with some 20 million or more Americans still using the prescription in the last year alone.
Prozac helps to restore the balance of serotonin in the brain and has been shown to improve mood, sleep, appetite and energy level. Some patients also notice a marked increase in interest in daily living. In addition, fluoxetine may decrease anxieties, fears, compulsions, obsessions, premenstrual syndrome, panic attacks and suicidal thoughts and urges, etc. However, it is also interesting to note that there are instances when patients report difficulties with suicidal ideation or attempts while on the medication.
IF YOU HAVE SUICIDAL THOUGHTS OR URGES, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SOMEONE IMMEDIATELY! DO NOT IGNORE THIS SYMPTOM! CONFIDE IN SOMOENE YOU TRUST, PREFERABLY A QUALIFIED MEDICAL OR MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL!
Before your doctor prescribes prozac for you, please let him/her know what other medications you are currently taking as fluoxetine can interact negatively with certain medications. For example, you should not take prozac if you are currently taking any monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as Marplan (isocarboxazid) or phenelzine (Nardil). You should be off of any such medications for at least two weeks before taking Prozack.
Fluoxetin will also cause difficulties when combined with certain other drugs such as tryptophan, St. John’s Wort, Demerol and Ultram, basically anything that increases serotonin levels in the brain. Finally, Prozac should NOT be combined with anything that affects bleeding as it could increase the likelihood of upper gastrointestinal bleeding. This includes Warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Naproxen.
Common side effects of Prozac include:
- And loss of appetite.
More serious side effects such as seizures, sexual dysfunction, increased blood pressure, skin rashes and vasculitis can also occur. If any of that does happen, it is advisable to contact your doctor immediately. You may need to come off the medication. Under no circumstances should you take yourself off of Prozac without doctor supervision.
Fluxetine is not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing. It can be excreted in breast milk and may be harmful to an unborn fetus and a breast-feeding newborn. If an overdose is suspected, please contact the National Poison Control Center immediately at 1-800-222-1222 or 9-1-1 to get Emergency Medical Assistance. If you skip a dose of medication, don’t double up. Wait until your next dose and take the appropriate amount.
Disclaimer: Please note – and this bears repeating – the information in this article is not meant to replace the advice of a qualified mental health provider or doctor. It is intended solely to educate and/or inform. Questions should be directed to your primary care doctor or therapist.