Fluoxetine is an effective treatment option for several mental health conditions, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, certain eating disorders, and panic attacks. It works by regulating the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a crucial role in regulating mood.
The medication is also used to alleviate symptoms associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder, such as mood swings, irritability, bloating, and breast tenderness. Fluoxetine, in combination with olanzapine, is used to treat depression that is resistant to other medications, and episodes of depression in individuals with bipolar I disorder.
Fluoxetine belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain to help maintain mental balance.
Uses and Dosage
Fluoxetine should be taken orally as directed by your physician. Typically, it is administered once daily in the morning. If a twice-daily regimen is required, your doctor may instruct you to take the medication in the morning and at noon.
In the case of treatment for premenstrual problems, your physician may advise you to take fluoxetine every day of the month or only during the two weeks preceding your period, through the first full day of your period. To aid in remembering the schedule, mark it on a calendar.
If you are taking the liquid form of fluoxetine, measure the dose accurately using a special measuring device or spoon.
The dosage of fluoxetine is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To minimize the risk of adverse effects, your doctor may start you on a low dose and gradually increase it. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions closely. To ensure maximum benefit from the medication, it should be taken regularly at the same time each day.
Continue taking fluoxetine even if you are feeling well. Do not discontinue the medication without first consulting your doctor, as some conditions may worsen if the drug is abruptly stopped. Your doctor may advise a gradual reduction in the dose if cessation is necessary.
You may expect to see improvement in your condition within one to two weeks, although it may take up to four to five weeks to experience the full benefits of fluoxetine. If your condition does not improve or worsens, inform your doctor.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- trouble sleeping
- loss of appetite
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- unusual or severe mental/mood changes (such as agitation, unusual high energy/excitement, thoughts of suicide)
- easy bruising/bleeding
- muscle weakness/spasm
- shakiness (tremor)
- decreased interest in sex
- changes in sexual ability
- unusual weight loss
Prior to taking fluoxetine, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any allergies, specifically an allergy to the medication. The product may contain inactive ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or other issues.
When using this medication, it is important to share your medical history with your doctor or pharmacist, particularly in regards to personal or family history of bipolar/manic-depressive disorder or personal or family history of suicide attempts.
This drug may cause dizziness or drowsiness, and consuming alcohol or marijuana may enhance these effects. Do not engage in activities that require alertness, such as driving or operating machinery, until you are able to safely do so.
The liquid form of this medication contains alcohol, and caution is advised for those with diabetes, alcohol dependence, or liver disease. Certain medications, such as metronidazole and disulfiram, can cause a serious reaction when taken with alcohol, consult your doctor or pharmacist before using the product.
Children may be more susceptible to the side effects of this drug, particularly weight loss. Monitor the weight and height of children taking this medication.
Older adults may also be more susceptible to the side effects of this drug, particularly bleeding and loss of coordination. The loss of coordination can increase the risk of falls, and older adults may also be at a higher risk of developing low sodium in the blood when taking diuretics.
Use this medication during pregnancy only when necessary, as it may harm an unborn baby. In rare cases, babies born to mothers who used this drug in the last three months of pregnancy may develop withdrawal symptoms, such as feeding and breathing difficulties, seizures, muscle stiffness, or constant crying. If these symptoms are observed in a newborn, it is important to inform the doctor immediately. Untreated mental or mood issues, such as depression, panic attacks, or obsessive compulsive disorder, can be serious. Before planning a pregnancy, discuss the benefits and risks of using this medication with your doctor.
This medication can pass into breast milk and may have negative effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Form and Strength
Prozac is available in the following forms and strengths:
How does Prozac make you feel?
Within the first one to two weeks, most people feel lower levels of anxiety, restlessness or tiredness with Prozac treatment. Your sleep, energy and appetite may improve over the first month and you may have a better focus on daily tasks. A depressed mood can take up to 8 weeks to fully respond.
Does Prozac suppress appetite?
Prozac can cause weight loss and/or decreased appetite in some patients but many find that it has little or no effect on their weight long-term.