- What is fluoxetine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for fluoxetine?
- Is fluoxetine available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for fluoxetine?
- What are the side effects of fluoxetine?
- What is the dosage for fluoxetine?
- Is fluoxetine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about fluoxetine?
What is fluoxetine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Fluoxetine is an oral drug that is used primarily for treating depression. It is in a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class that includes citalopram (Celexa), paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft). Fluoxetine affects neurotransmitters, the chemicals that nerves within the brain use to communicate with each other. Neurotransmitters are manufactured and released by nerves and then travel and attach to nearby nerves. Thus, neurotransmitters can be thought of as the communication system of the brain. Serotonin is one neurotransmitter that is released by nerves in the brain. The serotonin either travels across the space between nerves and attaches to receptors on the surface of nearby nerves or it attaches to receptors on the surface of the nerve that produced it, to be taken up by the nerve and released again (a process referred to as re-uptake). Many experts believe that an imbalance among neurotransmitters is the cause of depression. Fluoxetine works by preventing the reuptake of one neurotransmitter, serotonin, by nerve cells after it has been released. Since uptake is an important mechanism for removing released neurotransmitters and terminating their actions on adjacent nerves, the reduced uptake caused by fluoxetine increases free serotonin that stimulates nerve cells in the brain. The FDA approved Fluoxetine in December 1987.
What are the side effects of fluoxetine?
Fluoxetine, as with most antidepressants, can cause nausea, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, drowsiness, and loss of appetite. Fluoxetine has been implicated in serious skin rashes and vasculitis (inflammation of small blood vessels). Increased blood pressure can occur, and blood pressure should be monitored. Seizures have been reported as has sexual dysfunction. Some patients may experience withdrawal reactions upon stopping fluoxetine. Symptoms of withdrawal include anxiety, nausea, nervousness, and insomnia. The dose of fluoxetine should be gradually reduced when therapy is discontinued. Fluoxetine and other antidepressants have been associated with angle closure attacks in people with narrow angle glaucoma.
Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in short-term studies in children and adolescents with depression and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of fluoxetine or any other antidepressant in a child or adolescent must balance this risk of suicide with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidal thoughts, or unusual changes in behavior.
What is the dosage for fluoxetine?
: Depression in adults is treated with 20-80 mg of fluoxetine daily. The recommended dose for treating depression in children is 10-20 mg daily. After 13 weeks of daily administration, 90 mg once weekly may be effective in some patients.
Is fluoxetine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Fluoxetine is excreted in breast milk. Therefore, use of fluoxetine while nursing is not recommended.
What else should I know about fluoxetine?
What preparations of fluoxetine are available?
Capsules: 10, 20 and 40 mg. Capsules (delayed release): 90 mg. Tablets: 10, 20 and 60 mg. Oral suspension: 20 mg/5ml
How should I keep fluoxetine stored?
Fluoxetine should be stored at room temperature 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).
Quick GuidePhysical Symptoms of Depression in Pictures
Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Prozac Weekly) is a drug prescribed for the treatemnt of depression, bulimia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). It is also prescribed in combination with olanzapine (Zyprexa) to treat resistant depression and depression associated with bipolar disorder. Side effects, multiple drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Bipolar Disorder (Mania) Quiz: Test Your Emotional Wellness IQ
Who is at risk for developing bipolar disorder? Are you? Take this Bipolar Disorder Quiz to learn more about bipolar disorder, if...
Depression Quiz: Signs & Symptoms
Many people do not recognize the symptoms and warning signs of depression and depressive disorders in children and adults. With...
Fibromyalgia Quiz: What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia could be the reason for your constant, deep bodily pain. Learn more about this painful condition with the...
Picture of Trichotillomania
Compulsive hair pulling. See a picture of Trichotillomania and learn more about the health topic....
Fibromyalgia Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment
What is fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain and stiffness of the tendons, muscles, and joints....
What's Your Biggest Fear? Phobias
Learn about phobias such as agoraphobia, claustrophobia, arachnophobia, zoophobia, and more. Discover some of the symptoms and...
Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment
What is schizophrenia? Learn about schizophrenia symptoms, signs, and treatment. Read about schizophrenia types such as paranoid...
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Track and Prevent Symptoms
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) can cause from mood swings, munchies, and more. Learn about the symptoms, causes and treatments of...
Related Disease Conditions
Childhood ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children)
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) causes the following symptoms in children: excessive activity, problems...
People with bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder that involves episodes of bingeing and purging, experience symptoms and signs...
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one...
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and tender points. Stress...
Huntington's disease is the result of degeneration of neurons in areas of the brain. Huntington's disease is an inherited...
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of physical and emotional disturbances that occur after a woman ovulates and ends...
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue. It is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in...
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension) Causes, Symptoms, Signs, Readings, and Treatments
Low blood pressure, also referred to as hypotension, is blood pressure that is so low that it causes symptoms or signs due to the...
Tourette syndrome is disorder, which symptoms include involuntary facial tics, motor tics, and vocal tics. The cause of Tourette...
Menstrual Cramps and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Medication Guide
Menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include abdominal cramping, bloating, a feeling of fullness, abdominal...
Holiday Depression, Anxiety, and Stress
Though the holidays are a fun time for most, for others, they're a sad, lonely and anxiety-filled time. Get tips on how to avoid...
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that tends to occur as the days grow shorter in the fall and winter. Symptoms...
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition, can develop after any catastrophic life event. Symptoms include...
Narcolepsy (Definition, Symptoms, Treatment, Medication)
Causes of narcolepsy, a chronic disease of the central nervous system, have not been fully determined. Some theories include...
Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a mental illness characterized by depression, mania, and severe mood swings. Treatment...
Suicide is the process of intentionally ending one's own life. Approximately 1 million people worldwide commit suicide each year,...
Agoraphobia is a fear of being outside or of being in a situation from which escape would be impossible. Symptoms include...
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to suffer repeated obsessions and compulsions....
Separation anxiety disorder is a common childhood anxiety disorder that has many causes. Infants, children, older kids and adults...
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs within a year after delivery. It is thought that rapid hormone changes...
Mental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under...
Depression in Children
Childhood depression can interfere with social activities, interests, schoolwork and family life. Symptoms and signs include...
Depression in teenagers may be caused by many factors. Symptoms of teen depression include apathy, irresponsible behavior,...
Emotional eating can be detrimental to one's efforts at weight loss. Learning to identify the situations and emotions that...
The term sex addiction describes the behavior of someone who has an unusually strong sex drive or sexual obsession. Sex and...
Paraphilias are characterized by sexual fantasies, urges, and behaviors involving unusual objects or activities. Exhibitionism,...
Psychotic disorders are a group of serious illnesses that affect the mind. Different types of psychotic disorders include...
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems,...
Sick Building Syndrome
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or also referred to as sick building syndrome or environmental illness is the name given by...
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an illness where a person is overly preoccupied with some minor or imaginary flaw. People with...
Dysthymia is a less severe form of chronic depression. Symptoms and signs include insomnia, suicidal thoughts, guilt, empty...
Fragile X Syndrome
Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited form of mental retardation. It's caused by a mutation on the X chromosome. People...
Head and Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancer is cancer of the oral cavity, salivary glands, paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, or lymph...
Phobias are unrelenting fears of activities (social phobias), situations (agoraphobia), and specific items (arachnophobia). There...
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is considered a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMDD has also been referred to...
Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens
Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, is a disorder that causes unusual and extreme mood changes. Symptoms of bipolar...
IBS Triggers (Prevention)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disease that can affect the quality of those who suffer from this condition....
PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated With Streptococcal Infections)
PANDAS is in part caused by an autoimmune response to a strep infection. Symptoms mimic those of OCD, ADHD, and include motor and...
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by odd behaviors, feelings, perceptions, and ways of relating to others that...
Multiple Sclerosis Early Symptoms and Signs (Early, Body Areas Affected)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms vary from person to person, and can last for days to months without periods of remission....
Misophonia is defined as the hatred of sound. Symptoms of this condition include a negative emotional response to certain trigger...
Bipolar Disorder vs. Schizophrenia
Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are mental illnesses that share some risk factors and treatments. Symptoms of bipolar disorder...
Compulsive Overeating vs. Binge Eating Disorder
Compulsive overeating is eating more than needed. Binge eating disorder involves recurrent episodes of compulsive eating, even...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Indigestion (Dyspepsia, Upset Stomach)
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
- Bipolar Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Poor Hygiene
- Unusual Behavior
- Inability to Regulate Emotions
- Mood Swings
- Postpartum Depression
- Depression FAQs
- Fibromyalgia FAQs
- Bipolar Disorder Mania FAQs
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - Treatment
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Fibromyalgia Treatment...Methods Using Available Medicines
- Antidepressants Banned for UK Kids
- FDA Knew Antidepressant Danger to Kids
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), More Common Than You Think
- Herbs: Toxicities and Drug Interactions
- Catherine Zeta-Jones: A Case of Bipolar II Disorder
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
- fluvoxamine (Luvox and Luvox CR have been discontinued)
- paroxetine, Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- citalopram, Celexa
- Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your Drugs
- Drug Interactions
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Antidepressants (Depression Medications)
- Anxiolytics (for Anxiety) Drug Class Side Effects
- Buspar vs. Zoloft (Differences between Side Effects and Uses)
- Lexapro vs. Wellbutrin: Differences between Side Effects and Uses
Prevention & Wellness
- 'Off-Label' Antidepressants Common, But Where's the Evidence?
- Many Women With Eating Disorders Do Recover, Study Finds
- 1 in 6 U.S. Adults Takes a Psychiatric Drug: Study
- Study Questions Use of Antidepressants for Children, Teens
- Fridge-Sized Machine Makes Prescription Drugs 'On Demand'
- Study Finds No Heart Risk From SSRI Antidepressants
- Did Studies Lack Key Data on Link Between Antidepressants, Youth Suicides?
- Certain Antidepressants May Be Linked to Bipolar Disorder: Study
- Antidepressants in Pregnancy May Raise Autism Risk, Study Suggests
- Antidepressants During Pregnancy Have Benefits, Risks: Study
- Taking St. John's Wort for Depression Carries Risks: Study
- Another Study Sees Link Between Antidepressants and Birth Defects
- Common Antidepressants Linked to Higher Fracture Odds in Menopausal Women
- Risk to Baby From Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy Is Small, Study Says
- Depression During Pregnancy Linked to Child's Asthma Risk
- Recalled Supplements Linger on U.S. Store Shelves, Study Finds
- Study Questions Link Between Antidepressants, Miscarriage
- Weight Gain From Antidepressants Is Minimal, Study Suggests
- Antidepressants in Pregnancy Tied to Slight Risk of Lung Disorder in Babies
- Experts Lay Out Options for Menopause Symptoms
- Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy Not Linked to Autism
- Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy May Not Raise Autism Risk
- Psychotherapy a Powerful Tool to Fight Depression, Studies Show
- Some Antidepressants May Raise Risk for Gastro Infection
- Some Antidepressants Linked to Bleeding Risk With Surgery
- Antipsychotic Meds Not That Helpful for Depression: Study
- Bright Light at Night Could Up Depression Risk, Mouse Study Suggests
- Common Antidepressants Too Risky During Pregnancy, Researchers Say
- Some Antidepressants May Raise Stroke Risk
- Antidepressants May Raise Risk for Pregnancy Complication
- Prescription Meds Can Put on Unwanted Pounds
- Antidepressants May Not Raise Suicide Risk in Youth: Study
- Newer Antidepressants Work Equally Well, Study Finds
- Treatment Shows Promise for Premature Ejaculation
- Prozac May Lessen Autism Symptom in Adults
- Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy: Autism Risk?
- Depression Rising, but Psychotherapy Declines
- Depression: The Link Between Depression and Other Mental Illnesses
- Depression: Major Depression
- Psychotic Depression
- Depression Caused by Chronic Illnesses
- Depression Risk Assessment Tool
- Diagnosing Depression
- Drug Name Confusion: Preventing Medication Errors
- Bipolar Disorder
- Sleep and Depression
- Kids on Antidepressants Suicide Alert
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.