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Fluoxetine (Prozac): uses, precautions and side effects

Fluoxetine (Prozac): uses, precautions and side effects

September 30, 2022

In 1974, the research team of the company Eli Lilly and Co. presented the first type of SSRI antidepressant: fluoxetine . This drug ended up becoming the most used antidepressant due to its effectiveness and a few bearable adverse effects.

In this article we will discuss its different uses, its form of administration, as well as its possible side effects and the precautions that should be taken into account by those patients who consume it.

  • Related article: "Types of antidepressants: characteristics and effects"

What is fluoxetine?

Fluoxetine is an antidepressant popularly known as Prozac . This drug is categorized within the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and its main effect in the organism is to increase serotonin levels. This substance, produced naturally, facilitates the maintenance of mental balance.


Unlike other antidepressants, fluoxetine is distinguished by changes in its chemical structure (it is not a tricyclic or tetracyclic antidepressant) and by notable differences in its mechanism of action .

The success of fluoxetine, which led him to be the reference drug in the treatment of all these conditions, lies in its high efficiency and quite tolerable side effects .

Furthermore, due to its selective serotonergic action, it does not cause sedative or cardiovascular adverse effects, its most important consequences being dry mouth, weight loss or feelings of anxiety and alteration.


  • You may be interested: "SSRI: types, functioning and effects of this antidepressant"

In what disorders is it used?

As discussed above, fluoxetine has been highly effective in a wide variety of psychological conditions such as:

  • Depressive disorders.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Eating Disorders .

Also, in some cases it has proven to be really effective in the treatment of:

  • Alcoholism .
  • Attention deficit.
  • Alterations of the dream .
  • Chronic headaches
  • Obesity .
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Sexual dysfunctions .

A little-known use of fluoxetine is one that aims to reduce the symptoms of the controversial premenstrual dysphoric disorder. This symptomatology includes:


  • Alterations in the mood.
  • Irritability .
  • Breast sensitivity.
  • Abdominal distension .

Regarding physical diseases, fluoxetine It has been proposed as a treatment for diseases caused by enterovirus , such as meningitis or polio, since a possible antiviral property was recently discovered.

Finally, recent investigations with rodents have shown a neurogenerative effect of fluoxetine. This means that it promotes the creation and development of new neurons in the brain.

How is it administered?

Fluoxetine is available for consumption both in capsules and tablets and in liquid solution, all to be administered orally. In any case, we must bear in mind that its use and the way of use should be indicated by the doctor . What follows are generic indications that tend to be carried out.

Usually, a progressive start of the treatment is recommended; starting with small doses of the drug and distanced in time that gradually increase .

Depending on the type of specific presentation of the drug, it should be taken once a day, every day at the same approximate time or once a week. However, it is essential to follow the instructions of the healthcare professional, which will adjust the dose to the needs of the patient as the treatment progresses.

In any case, the patient you should not take doses higher or lower than those recommended , as well as changing the frequency of consumption. Since this can have serious consequences on the health of patients such as tolerance, addiction or withdrawal syndrome.

In the event that the patient alters or changes the doses indicated by the doctor, he may experience the following symptoms:

  • Humor changes .
  • Irritability.
  • Restlessness.
  • Vertigos .
  • Numbness of hands or feet
  • Sensation of anxiety .
  • Confusion.
  • Headaches .
  • Fatigue.
  • Sleeping problems.

In cases where it is necessary to stop treatment, it will be done gradually and with the constant supervision of a medical professional.

Side effects

Due to its effects as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, fluoxetine can cause various adverse effects in the person.It is recommended that if the patient perceives that if these appear frequently or lengthen in time inform your doctor to adjust or change the medication.

The list of most common side effects includes:

  • Drowsiness .
  • Motor problems.
  • Oral dryness .
  • Visual problems: blurred vision or sensitivity to light.
  • Pupillary dilation
  • Urinary problems .
  • Constipation.
  • Lack of concentration.
  • Memory problems short term.

However, there are a number of less frequent but more damaging consequences for the person, among which are:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Sexual dysfunctions as delayed ejaculation or erectile dysfunction.
  • Skin problems such as rash, hives or blisters.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Fainting .
  • Spasms or excessive muscle stiffness.
  • Seizures .
  • Bleeding or abnormal contusions

After a long period of treatment, fluoxetine can cause hypertension due to its vasoconstrictive action. In addition, on exceptional occasions it can increase the risk of suffering a cardiovascular accident or a myocardial infarction, so Patients with a history or cardiac problems should follow a strict follow-up of your health status.

Regarding the specific side effects in children, fluoxetine could significantly reduce the child's appetite, causing serious weight loss. In these cases, the relevant specialist doctor must establish a very tight control of the child's evolution.

What precautions should be taken with their consumption?

As in a large part of drugs, the patient should inform his doctor of any special condition in which he is.

It is necessary that the medical professional has knowledge of any allergy of the person, as well as whether he or she is taking any other type of medication or dietary or vitamin supplement such as tryptophan. In addition, you must also report if you consume any natural herbal compound as is the case of the herb of San Juan. Very commonly used as a remedy for depression and anxiety.

In cases of anticipation of pregnancy, pregnancy or lactation should also be reported, since fluoxetine can cause problems in the child once born. Especially if it is administered during the last months of pregnancy.

Finally, due to the sedative effects of fluoxetine, those people who usually drive or that your daily routine involves handling heavy machinery they should take special precaution or avoid these activities.


Fluoxetine capsule/ tablet 10mg/ 20mg use and detail in hindi ALL ABOUT MEDICINE (September 2022).


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