What Is Fluoxetine and Which Are the Fluoxetine Side Effects

What Is Fluoxetine

fluoxetine side effectsFluoxetine, commonly known as Prozac, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), an anti-depressive drug, prescribed usually to treat and manage major depression.

Fluoxetine is also used to treat panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and various eating disorders like bulimia nervosa, or binge-eating disorder. Fluoxetine is sometimes prescribed off-label to treat chronic alcoholism and obesity.

Fluoxetine Side Effects

Just like most of the SSRI drugs, fluoxetine comes with a wide range of adverse effects. Sexual dysfunction is an adverse effect associated with the intake of SSRI drugs, and fluoxetine doesn’t make an exception. Patients may experience the following fluoxetine side effects of sexual nature: decreased libido, minimal or no response to sexual stimuli, anorgasmia, ejaculatory anhedonia, genital anesthesia. Most of the fluoxetine side effects of sexual nature are usually reversible. However, they may persist for up to moths or even years after the treatment with this drug, or with any SSRI drug in general, was ceased.

Other common fluoxetine side effects may be: nausea, somnolence or insomnia, nervousness and irritability, anxiety, malaise, low muscle tone, dizziness, fatigue and tremor.

One of the common fluoxetine side effects is akathisia. This condition is characterized by inner restlessness, and the inability to remain still. This adverse effect usually begins with the first session of fluoxetine administration, or with the increase of dosage. Movement disorders like dystonia (involuntary muscle contractions that cause body twisting or abnormal postures) or tardive dyskinesia (involuntary and repetitive body movements) have also been reported, but specially in cases of chronic use of fluoxetine.

Of course, just like for many other drugs, fluoxetine side effects may be of allergic nature. Allergic adverse effects to this drug include, skin rashes and breathing problems, or facial edema.

There also were a few isolated cases of fluoxetine side effects which included lupus-like syndrome and vasculitis. Death was also reported in most of these cases. However, cases like these are very rare.

Fluoxetine Withdrawal Effects

In general, a slow and gradual discontinuation process for SSRI drugs is recommended to avoid or minimize the withdrawal effects. However, the fluoxetine withdrawal effects, even in case of abrupt cessation are uncommon and mild compared with other antidepressants. Some of the withdrawal effects can also be found on the list of fluoxetine side effects. Patients that discontinue treatment with this drug may experience: dizziness, fatigue, somnolence, nausea.

Fluoxetine Interactions

Fluoxetine is a drug commercialized with a black box warning. Just like most antidepressants, it may cause suicidal behavior, and it’s not recommended to patients that have a history with suicidal behavior, especially in teenagers and young adults up to the age of 25.

Fluoxetine is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), and inhibits some of the enzymes that play a crucial role in the metabolism of various drugs. That’s why it is important to be administered under the recommendation of a physician. Otherwise it may lead to an increased blood level of other drugs taken by the patients, leading to a high risk of toxicity.

Fluoxetine is not recommended in case of pregnancy and for breastfeeding mothers because it passes into milk. It may have an impact on the neonatal adaptation.

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