Fluoxetine (Prozac): Everything You Need to Know

Fluoxetine (Prozac): Everything You Need to Know

Fluoxetine (Prozac) is a prescription drug that is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, and bulimia nervosa. It is in a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and works by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. Prozac was first approved by the FDA in 1987 and has become one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the United States. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about Prozac, including its uses, side effects, and dosage information.

What Does Fluoxetine (Prozac) Mean?

What Does Fluoxetine (Prozac) Mean?Fluoxetine (Prozac) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which is a type of antidepressant. SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressant. The medication is available as a pill and is typically taken once a day.

Fluoxetine is believed to improve symptoms of depression by increasing levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood. It is very effective in treating depression and can help improve mood, sleep, appetite, and energy. Moreover, it is used to treat the following:

  • Major depressive disorder.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Bulimia Nervosa.
  • Panic disorder.
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

Fluoxetine is also sometimes used to treat behavior problems in children and adolescents. It is widely used off-label for conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders, and aggression.

How Does Fluoxetine Work?

SSRIs work by blocking the reabsorption, or uptake, of serotonin in the brain. This helps to increase the amount of serotonin available in the brain, which can improve moods. SSRI antidepressants usually take several weeks to start working.

It also works by altering the balance of certain chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with depression. It is believed that fluoxetine helps by restoring the balance of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the brain. And, these three chemicals are known as neurotransmitters.

Dosage Information

The dosage of fluoxetine is usually prescribed by a doctor, and it is important that you take the medication as prescribed. The dosage will vary depending on the condition being treated.

  • Fluoxetine is available in tablet and liquid forms. It is so because it is a water-soluble drug. The tablets are available in strengths of 20 mg, 40 mg, and 60 mg.
  • Fluoxetine should be taken with food to avoid nausea.
  • The usual dosage for the treatment of depression is 20 mg once a day.
  • For obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the usual dosage is 20 mg to 60 mg per day administered in divided doses.
  • For bulimia nervosa, the recommended starting dose is 40 mg/day given in divided doses. The maximum daily dose for bulimia nervosa should not exceed 80mg/day.
  • The recommended starting dose for panic disorder is 20mg/day given as a single dose in the morning or evening. Dosages can be increased gradually to a maximum of 60 mg/day if needed.
  • The recommended starting dose for the premenstrual dysphoric disorder is 20 mg/day, taken during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. The dosage can be increased to a maximum of 60 mg/day if needed.
  • For children aged eight to 18 years, the usual dose ranges from 0.25 mg/kg to 0.50 mg/kg per day, given in two or three divided doses.
  • Liquid fluoxetine can be given using an oral syringe or dosing spoon provided with the medicine.

If you are elderly, have liver problems, or are taking other medicines. Or, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should speak to your doctor before taking fluoxetine. They will guide you in a better way.

How Does Fluoxetine Help In Recovery?

Things To Avoid While Taking FluoxetineThere are various ways that fluoxetine helps in addiction recovery.

One way is by decreasing anxiety and cravings. Fluoxetine can also help to improve mood and increase motivation, which can be helpful in staying clean and sober. Additionally, fluoxetine may help to improve cognitive function and reduce impulsivity.

In fact, it is believed that fluoxetine is one of the most effective medications for treating addiction. It helps in recovery from depression and anxiety by stabilizing the serotonin levels in the brain. As, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for mood, appetite, and sleep. It helps to increase serotonin levels in order to maintain brain functioning.

Fluoxetine has also been shown to be effective in treating other mental health disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). And eating disorders such as binge eating disorder (BED).

So if you are struggling with addiction and also suffer from depression or anxiety, fluoxetine may be a good medication option for you. It can help to improve your mood, decrease cravings, and improve cognitive function.

However, it is important to speak with a doctor before starting fluoxetine, as it may not be appropriate for everyone. If you are interested in trying, make sure to discuss this with your doctor or therapist.

Risks In Sudden Withdrawal

There are some possible risks associated with sudden withdrawal from fluoxetine (Prozac). These risks can include seizures, dizziness, and an increase in anxiety or agitation.

Even so, there are some withdrawal symptoms that are considered more severe, such as:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Mania
  • Severe confusion
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical help right away. Withdrawal from fluoxetine should always be done under the supervision of a doctor. Symptoms typically improve within one to two weeks after stopping the medication, but it is important to stay in close contact with your doctor during this time.

Risks in sudden withdrawal should not dissuade you from stopping the medication. If it is no longer needed or if you are experiencing negative side effects. Talk to your doctor about a plan for slowly tapering off fluoxetine to avoid any potential risks.

Side Effects Of Fluoxetine Drug

Side Effects Of Fluoxetine Drug

The fluoxetine medication comes with a number of potential side effects. Some are more common than others and can vary depending on the person taking the medication.

Common Side Effects Of Fluoxetine

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Sexual dysfunction (such as problems achieving orgasm or ejaculating)
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Irritability
  • Tingling sensations in the hands or feet.

These common side effects can be bothersome to some people. But are typically mild and tend to go away over time.

Serious Side Effects Of Fluoxetine

There are also a few more serious side effects that can occur with fluoxetine. If any of these occur, it is important to stop taking the medication and seek medical help right away. These serious side effects include:

  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Seizures
  • Manic episodes
  • Heart problems
  • Allergic reactions (such as rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, trouble breathing)

If you experience any of these serious side effects while taking fluoxetine. Then, it is important to seek medical help immediately. Because the side effects while taking any medication can vary from person to person.

It is important to be aware of the side effects that can occur while taking fluoxetine and to report any issues to your doctor. They will be able to help you manage any potential side effects.

Things To Avoid While Taking Fluoxetine

It is important to avoid certain things when you are on any medication. As it might interact with other things and caused possible side effects. So, there are some things that you should avoid while taking fluoxetine.

  • Do not drink alcohol while taking fluoxetine as it can increase the risk of side effects.
  • You must tell your doctor if you’re taking any other medications without talking to your doctor first. This includes over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements.
  • Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how fluoxetine affects you.
  • Do not stop taking fluoxetine without talking to your doctor first. Stopping suddenly can cause serious side effects.
  • One should avoid getting pregnant while taking fluoxetine and breastfeeding. However, there are no known risks to the baby if the mother takes fluoxetine while breastfeeding.

There are other things that you should avoid while taking fluoxetine. So be sure to talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. They can better help you understand how to take fluoxetine and what to avoid.

Also, you should pay attention to any changes in your mood or behavior and report them to your doctor. This is important, as these could be signs of a serious problem.

Are There Any Alternatives To Fluoxetine?

Are There Any AlternativesThere are some alternatives to fluoxetine, but they may not work as well for you. Some of these include other antidepressants, some therapies, and self-care techniques. Consult with your doctor then consider one out of the following;

Alternative Medication

Some alternatives medications to fluoxetine include other antidepressants.

These are some of the most common alternatives to fluoxetine. However, you should keep in mind that sometimes a combination of medications may be necessary for you to find relief. Or a combination of medication and therapy. Consult with your doctor before taking any decision.


There are numerous different types of therapies that have been shown very effective. In fact, you can work with a professional to choose a better therapy type for yourself in treating depression.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type that can help you change the way you think and behave. Interestingly, CBT works very well even without any medication.
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is another type of therapy that helps you understand your relationships and how they affect your moods. In fact, IPT works well in combination with antidepressant medication.
  • Psychodynamic therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on your past relationships. And experiences to help you understand how they might be affecting your current depression.

The therapies are numerous and there are many variations of these two types. If you do not feel comfortable with medication or if it is not working for you. Then, talk to your doctor about trying therapy.


Self-CareThere are some things that you can do on your own to help improve your mood and lessen the symptoms of depression. In fact, self-care can treat you better in some of the mildest cases of depression.

If these self-care techniques do not work well for you, then you should consider talking to your doctor about other options. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating depression. What works for one person may not work for other.

However, some self-care techniques that you may want to try to include the following:

  • Exercise has been very effective in reducing symptoms of depression.
  • Eating a healthy diet can also help regulate your moods.
  • Getting enough sleep is important, too. Most people need around eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Stress management techniques can also be helpful in managing depressive symptoms.
  • Some examples include yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.

If you’re concerned about the side effects of fluoxetine, consult your doctor. Because there are other options as well that may work best for you. However, keep in mind that it may take some trial and error to find the right treatment for you.

Remember, it’s important to be patient and to stick with your treatment plan. With time and patience, you will start to feel better. Also, fluoxetine is not the only option that can help treat depression. There are many other medications and therapies that can also be effective. Thus, talk to your doctor about what may be the best treatment for you.


Conclusively, fluoxetine (Prozac) is a drug that has been extensively studied. And eventually found to be both safe and effective for the treatment of various conditions, including depression, anxiety, OCD, and more. The medication is available in both tablet and liquid form.

While it may not be the right medication for everyone. But, it is an option worth considering if you are struggling with any of the conditions mentioned above.

However, if you want to know more about fluoxetine then reach out to a discussion with some professional. That whether this medication might be right for you or not. It would be really helpful for you to have a discussion about your specific situation. Thanks for reading!

A Word From Therapy Mantra

Your mental health — Your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.

At TherapyMantra, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, workplace Issues, addiction, relationship, OCD, LGBTQ, and PTSD. You can book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.