Fluoxetine is an anti-depressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. It is
prescribed to mitigate severe chemical imbalances in the brain, which can lead to depression,
panic, bipolar disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, cataplexy, obesity, severe
alcohol dependence, bulimia nervosa, binge eating and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It may
take up to four weeks before a patient begins to feel the effects of the drug.
Despite the wide variety of anti-depressants, Fluoxetine is extremely popular in the U.S. and
the third most prescribed anti-depressant after sertaline and escitalopram. It is sometimes used
in conjunction with olanzapine (the combination drug is also known as Symbyax) to treat
depression caused by biopolar disorder (or manic depression). Some well known brands of
Fluoxetine are Prozac, Fontex Sarafem and Selfemra.
Although you should inform your physician of all medications you are on, Fluoxetine is notably
dangerous when taken with pimozide, pimozide, thioridzaine or any monoamine oxidase
inhibitor. Also, it has a particularly adverse effect on patients suffering from cirrhosis of the
liver, kidney disease, diabetes, seizures or epilepsy, bipolar disorder, history of drug abuse and
suicidal thoughts. Let your physician know if you suffer from any of these conditions and dosage
will be adjusted accordingly.
Fluoxetine side effects are varied. A common side effect of Fluoxetine is thoughts of suicide, particularly in
patients who are under the age of 24. All patients should check in regularly with their physician
during the first several weeks of taking Fluoxetine.
Other common side effects of Fluoxetine are minor and tolerable, but should be reported if they
persist or increase in severity. They are:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Cold like symptoms
- Decreased sex drive, impotence or inability to achieve orgasm
- Dry mouth
- Nausea, upset stomach and/or constipation
- Changes in weight
Less common but more severe Fluoxetine side effects should be reported immediately and
- Allergic reactions
- Aggression, agitation or hostility
- Blood pressure changes
- Dramatic shifts in mood and behavior
- Further depression
- Muscle stiffness
Use of Fluoxetine during the third trimester of a pregnancy can have adverse effects on the fetus. Fluoxetine should not be used when nursing as it can be passed to the baby through breast milk. You should consult your physician before taking Fluoxetine to avoid any side effects that can occur.