Brand Names: Prozac,
Drug Class: Selective
serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant
Available in: Capsules,
Available OTC? No
As Generic? Yes
shaking, difficulty breathing, rash, hives, itching, joint
or muscle pain, chills or fever. If such symptoms occur, call
your doctor immediately.
drowsiness, anxiety, insomnia, headache, diarrhea, excessive
sweating, nausea, decreased appetite, decreased initiative.
Less Common: Nasal
congestion, unusual or vivid dreams, cough, increased appetite,
chest pain, constipation, vision disturbances, abdominal pain,
stomach gas, constipation,
vomiting, frequent urination, difficulty concentrating, sexual dysfunction,
heartbeat irregularities, trembling, fatigue, dizziness, change in taste,
flushing of the skin on the face and neck, dry mouth, menstrual pain.
To treat major depression, obsessive-compulsive
disorder, panic disorder, chronic pain, and premenstrual dysphoric
How the Drug Works
Fluoxetine affects levels of serotonin, a brain
chemical that is thought to be linked to mood, emotions, and
To start, 20 mg a day, taken in the morning. Your
doctor may increase the dose gradually to a maximum of 80 mg
a day. Older adults: To start, 10 to 20 mg a day. It may be increased
gradually by your doctor to a maximum of 40 to 60 mg a day.
Onset of Effect
1 to 4 weeks.
Duration of Action
Taking the drug with liquid or food can lessen
stomach irritation. Capsules may be opened and mixed with food
or juice if the patient has difficulty swallowing them.
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat,
moisture, and direct light. Keep the liquid form refrigerated,
but do not allow it to freeze.
If You Miss a Dose
Take it as soon as you remember. If it is near
the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your
regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.
Stopping the Drug
Take it as prescribed for the full treatment period,
even if you begin to feel better before the scheduled end of
therapy. Discontinuing the drug abruptly may produce unpleasant
withdrawal symptoms. Dosage should be reduced gradually according
to your doctor's instructions.
The usual course of therapy lasts 6 months to 1
year; some patients benefit from additional therapy. The usual
course of therapy for obsessive-compulsive disorder lasts 1 year
Over 60: Adverse reactions
may be more likely and more severe in older patients, since their
metabolism is slower. A lower dose may be warranted.
Driving and Hazardous Work: Use
caution when driving or engaging in hazardous work until you
determine how the medicine affects you.
Alcohol: Avoid alcohol.
should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit
justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Before you take this
medicine, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become
Breast Feeding: Fluoxetine
may pass into breast milk; caution is advised. Consult your doctor
for specific advice.
Infants and Children: Not
recommended for use by children under age 12.
Special Concerns: Take
it at least 6 hours before bedtime to prevent insomnia, unless
the drug causes drowsiness.
excitement, severe nausea and vomiting, seizures.
What to Do: Call your
doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison
control center immediately.
Fluoxetine should not be used within 5 weeks of
taking MAO inhibitors or thioridazine. The following drugs may
interact with fluoxetine. Consult your doctor for specific advice
if you are taking nortriptyline, caffeine, oral anticoagulants,
central nervous system depressants, digitalis preparations, lithium,
loratadine, dextromethorphan, ketorolac, buspirone, phenytoin,
trazodone, tryptophan, sumatriptan, naratriptan, or zolmitriptan.
No known food interactions.
Use of fluoxetine may cause complications in patients
with liver or kidney disease, since these organs work together
to remove the medication from the body. Use of the drug may make
diabetes or seizures worse.
From The Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs. You
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