Fluoxetine (Prozac)


Overview: Fluoxetine, known by the brand name Prozac, is an antidepressant of the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) class. Fluoxetine is used to treat depression and sometimes obsessive compulsive disorder. Fluoxetine has helped many people recover from depression. It doesn’t have many side effects compared to older antidepressants. Fluoxetine is only available on prescription.





Key Facts: It will take around four to six weeks for Fluoxetine to work, however minor improvements might be visible after around a week. There are a few side effects to Fluoxetine, as mentioned below. Fluoxetine should be used without interruption – you shouldn’t suddenly stop taking them. The medication should help jump start your mood, and slowly make you feel like your old self again.


How do they work?: Unfortunately, it isn’t entirely known how antidepressants work. The most widely accepted belief is that antidepressants work by increasing levels of a group of chemicals in the brain named neurotransmitters. Some of these neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, can help improve mood and emotion. How this process exactly works is unknown. It is recommended that Fluoxetine is used in conjunction with therapy.


Dosage: You should take Fluoxetine once a day. It doesn’t upset the stomach, and thus can be taken with or without food. You should take the tablet at the same time each day. The usual dose of Fluoxetine is 20mg a day in adults. Sometimes, a lower dose will be prescribed, especially at the beginning of treatment. The maximum dose per day is 60mg. It can take some time to find the correct dose. A typical treatment course of Fluoxetine is six months, though a longer treatment course is common.


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Side Effects

With each box of Fluoxetine, there will be an information leaflet enclosed. This will provide an exhaustive list of side effects. Side effects from Fluoxetine should only last a few days, and are relatively mild. It is natural to experience some side effects as your body gets used to the medication.


Common side effects of Fluoxetine include sickness, headaches, insomnia, and feeling tired. Sexual dysfunction, dry mouth and abnormal dreams are also ordinary.


Serious side effects include suicidal thinking, seizures, chest pain and psychosis. An overdose should be avoided, as it can cause the potentially fatal Serotonin Syndrome. You should contact your doctor if any of these serious side effects take place.




You should always read the information leaflet that comes with your medication as it will include important information there. You should tell your doctor if you are taking any other medication. It is important that you don’t use the herbal remedy St. Johns wort. You shouldn’t take any other antidepressant with Fluoxetine unless directed by your doctor. Some anticoagulants and steroids can also cause damage when taken with Fluoxetine.


Alcohol acts as a depressant, therefore it is recommended that anyone taking an antidepressant stays away from drinking alcohol. Combining Fluoxetine with  recreational drugs is also not recommended.


Fluoxetine is not recommended in pregnancy or the breastfeeding stage. The medicine has been linked to problems for an unborn baby or in early life.


Fluoxetine is one of the few antidepressants that can be prescribed to people under the age of 18. Antidepressants are generally not recommended for people under the age of 18. Instead, some form of psychotherapy is recommended. Younger people have been shown to be more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts when using antidepressants.


Other SSRI’s: