Prozac

Generic Name: Fluoxetine

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Prozac is a medicine called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It is used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, bulimia (an eating disorder), and panic disorder. Prozac is also used in combination with another medicine called olanzapine to treat depression associated with bipolar disorder and treatment-resistant depression (depression that has not improved after taking two other medicines). Prozac is also available in capsules called Prozac Weekly that are taken once a week. Prozac Weekly is used to treat major depressive disorder.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Prozac is thought to work by increasing the activity of a chemical in your brain called serotonin. By increasing serotonin, Prozac may help improve your symptoms.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What:

    Major Depressive Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Prozac has been shown to relieve symptoms associated with these conditions, as measured by appropriate symptom rating scales that are commonly used by healthcare providers to evaluate the effectiveness of the medicine in people with these conditions.

    Bulimia: Prozac has been shown to reduce the number of binge-eating and vomiting episodes per week.

    Panic Disorder: Prozac may reduce the number of panic attacks you experience.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Prozac exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed, even if you do not feel better right away.

    How do I know it is working?

    Your healthcare provider may ask you a series of questions from time to time that will help assess how well your symptoms are controlled with treatment.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Prozac can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, teenagers, and young adults. Your healthcare provider will monitor you closely for clinical worsening and suicidal or unusual behavior after you start taking Prozac or start a new dose of Prozac. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you experience anxiety, hostility, sleeplessness, restlessness, impulsive or dangerous behavior, or thoughts about suicide or dying; or if you have new symptoms or seem to be feeling worse.

    More common side effects may include: unusual dreams, sexual problems, loss of appetite, anxiety, weakness, diarrhea, dry mouth, upset stomach, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, nausea, nervousness, sore throat, rash, sinus pain and congestion, drowsiness, sweating, shaking, hot flashes, yawning.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Serotonin syndrome (a potentially life-threatening drug reaction that causes the body to have too much serotonin, a chemical produced by the nerve cells) with symptoms such as mental status changes (such as agitation or hallucinations); a fast heartbeat; high or low blood pressure; coordination problems or muscle twitching; muscle stiffness; dizziness; flushing; tremor; seizures; or nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

    Severe allergic reactions with symptoms such as rash, hives, or blisters, alone or with fever or joint pain; trouble breathing; or swelling of your face, tongue, eyes, or mouth.

    Abnormal bleeding or bruising, especially if you also take blood thinners (such as warfarin), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), or aspirin.

    Manic episodes with symptoms such as greatly increased energy, severe trouble sleeping, racing thoughts, reckless behavior, excessive happiness or irritability, or talking more or faster than usual.

    Low blood sodium (salt) levels with symptoms such as headache, weakness, an unsteady feeling, confusion, problems concentrating or thinking, or memory problems.

    Seizures or changes in appetite or weight.

    Changes in the electrical activity of your heart, with symptoms such as fast, slow, or abnormal heartbeat; shortness of breath; and dizziness or fainting.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Prozac if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    Do not take Prozac if you take another medicine called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (such as phenelzine, selegiline, or linezolid), a class of medications used to treat depression and other conditions. Do not start taking Prozac if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 2 weeks, unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider. Also, do not take an MAOI within 5 weeks of stopping Prozac, unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider.

    Do not take Prozac if you take pimozide or thioridazine.

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Prozac. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have heart, liver, or kidney problems; diabetes; high blood pressure; bipolar disorder or mania; low sodium levels in your blood; glaucoma (high pressure in the eye); a history of stroke, bleeding problems, or seizures; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Major Depressive Disorder (Prozac)

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 20 milligrams (mg) once a day, in the morning.

    Children and adolescents 8-18 years: The recommended starting dose is 10 or 20 mg once a day.

    Major Depressive Disorder (Prozac Weekly)

    Adults: The recommended dose is one capsule once a week starting 7 days after your last daily dose of Prozac 20 mg.

    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 20 mg once a day, in the morning.

    Children and adolescents 7-17 years: The recommended starting dose is 10 mg once a day.

    Bulimia

    Adults: The recommended dose is 60 mg once a day, in the morning.

    Panic Disorder

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 10 mg once a day.

    Depression Associated with Bipolar Disorder (In Combination with Olanzapine)

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 20 mg of Prozac and 5 mg of olanzapine once a day, in the evening.

    Children and adolescents 10-17 years: The recommended starting dose is 20 mg of Prozac and 2.5 mg of olanzapine once a day, in the evening.

    Treatment Resistant Depression (In Combination with Olanzapine)

    Adults: The recommended starting dose is 20 mg of Prozac and 5 mg of olanzapine once a day, in the evening.

    Your healthcare provider may increase your or your child's dose as needed until the desired effect is achieved.

    If you are elderly or have liver impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

    It is important that you do not stop taking this medication abruptly. If you need to change or stop taking this medication, it is important that you only do this with the guidance of your healthcare provider.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Prozac exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Prozac without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Take Prozac once a day, either in the morning or in the evening as directed. Take it with or without food.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how Prozac affects you.

    Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Prozac.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Prozac is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Prozac may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Prozac may harm your newborn baby if you take it during the last few months of your pregnancy. Prozac can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Prozac. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Prozac, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature. Protect from light.

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