Fluoxetine Side Effects: A Complete Guide

    Fluoxetine Side Effects: A Complete Guide
    Mary Lucas, RN
    Medically reviewed by Mary Lucas, RN Written by Our Editorial Team Last updated 7/23/2020

    Getting help for depression can be hard. When you’re depressed, everything is hard. Getting out of bed can seem insurmountable. 

    But reaching out to a health care provider is perhaps the most impactful step you can take. 

    Millions of people fight depression — you don’t have to be ashamed. 

    Just like your healthcare provider acts with the utmost professionalism when you consult them with a potentially embarrassing physical symptom, you can expect the same when you talk with them about depression. 

    There are effective treatment options available for depression. Prozac® (fluoxetine) is one. You don’t have to continue suffering. 

    What is Fluoxetine? 

    Fluoxetine is an antidepressant, also sold under the brand name ProzacGeneric drugs have comparable effectiveness and safety to their brand name counterparts, but generally at a lower price.

    Prozac was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1987, as the first antidepressant drug of it’s kind — an SSRI or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. SSRIs work to improve mood by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.

    Why is Fluoxetine Prescribed? 

    Fluoxetine is approved to treat several conditions, including: major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bulimia nervosa, and panic disorder (characterized by panic attacks). When used in conjunction with other drugs, it may also be used to treat bipolar disorder and treatment-resistant depression.

    All of these conditions must be diagnosed by a healthcare professional after reviewing your symptoms and consulting with diagnostic requirements. 

    In other words, your healthcare provider won’t give you fluoxetine unless they have evidence you’re suffering from depression or one of the other conditions it’s approved to treat. That said, discussing your symptoms with a professional is the first step towards getting help. 

    You shouldn’t be intimidated or embarrassed to explain how you’re feeling to a medical professional. As many as 17.3 million American adults are affected by major depressive disorder; that’s about seven percent of the population.

    Fluoxetine Side Effects 

    All prescription drugs come with potential side effects, and fluoxetine is no different. Knowing what may happen when you take it can help you prepare should you experience them. However, not all side effects are experienced by everyone who takes fluoxetine. The most common side effects occur in five percent or more of people, and include: 

    • Strange dreams 
    • Changes in appetite or eating habits
    • Anxiety
    • Diarrhea
    • Dry mouth 
    • Insomnia
    • Decreased sex drive 
    • Nervousness
    • Nausea
    • Skin rash
    • Fatigue, sleepiness or tiredness
    • Sweating 
    • Tremors
    • Yawning
    • Weakness
    • Indigestion

    Other Fluoxetine Risks 

    Other medications or medical conditions can cause increased risk of adverse events when taking fluoxetine. 

    For this reason, it’s crucial you tell your healthcare provider about all medications you’re on — including over-the-counter drugs and supplements — as well as your medical history. 

    Less common side effects and risks include: increased suicide risk, allergic reaction, mania, seizures, abnormal bleeding, cognitive impairment, anxiety, and serotonin syndrome. 

    Drugs that can increase these risks and drug interactions when taken in conjunction with fluoxetine include other antidepressant medications including monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), drugs that act on your central nervous system, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, tryptophan, St. John’s wort, and others.

    If you experience strange or serious side effects when taking fluoxetine, contact your healthcare provider right away to rule out a serious adverse reaction. 

    This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.