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Generic Name: Fluoxetine Hydrochloride

Brand Names: Prozac, Rapiflux

Drug Class: SSRI, Anti-depressant

Similar Class Drugs: Citalopram, Escitalopram

Available dosage forms: Oral tablet and solution

Fluoxetine: Uses, Side Effects. Prozac, Rapiflux
Courtesy: Unsplash

What is Fluoxetine?

The first drug developed to selectively inhibit serotonin uptake was Fluoxetine. Serotonin plays a role in elevating the mood. It is responsible for managing various cognitive and emotional behaviors. This phenomenon of mood regulation explains the implication of serotonin in the treatment of depression. Appetite gain or loss can also be attributed to serotonin activity.

Fluoxetine is classified as a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor.1It inhibits the binding of 5HT protein to serotonin and thereby blocks the transportation of the neurotransmitter back into the pre-synaptic neuron. Consequently, serotonin levels stay elevated and cause enhanced mood.

New drugs with better efficacy and safety profiles have been approved, but Fluoxetine is still in use to treat the following psychotropic conditions.1

– Bulimia Nervosa

– Acute and maintenance treatment of MDD (major depressive disorder)

– Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

– In conjunction with Olanzapine to treat depressive episodes in bipolar disorder1

– Chronic panic attacks

– Premenstrual issues


How to use Fluoxetine?

The drug should be administered only after a doctor’s prescription. It is available as an oral tablet formulation and can be consumed with water. You can take your dosage with or without a meal, but it is advised to determine a fixed time to avoid missing doses.

It may take Fluoxetine to reach its maximum efficacy in 4-5 weeks.2 Make sure not to discontinue your drug intake without approval from a doctor. Cutting off dosage by yourself can lead to unpleasant effects and worsening of your condition.

Consult your doctor if your symptoms stay apparent even after 4-5 weeks. Any medications previously administered should be documented. Special consideration and monitoring are practiced if the patient has a Tricyclic Anti-depressant (TCA) drug intake history.2


What are the side effects of Fluoxetine?

As SSRIs affect brain activity, a series of common side effects are seen with almost every drug that belongs to this class.

These common side effects include:2

– Headache

– Nausea, vomiting, dry mouth

– Tremors

– Flu-like symptoms

– Insomnia

Some adverse effects of Fluoxetine that necessitate a visit to the doctor are:

– Persistent changes in heart rate

– Painful erection

– Hyponatremia (Symptoms: confusion, seizures, loss of balance)

– Serotonin syndrome

Adolescents, children, and young adults are at increased risk of developing suicidal tendencies. These patients need strict monitoring when anti-depressants are prescribed. Consult the neuro physician if any unpleasant signs of suicidal inclination are noticed.


Who should not use Fluoxetine?

– Children younger than 8

– Patients taking Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

– Patients who are hypersensitive to Fluoxetine

– Pregnant women who can receive treatment with better alternatives1

– Caution should be practiced in those with a history of seizures



1: Sohel AJ, Shutter MC, Molla M. Fluoxetine. [Updated 2020 Jun 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:

2: Prozac. Available from: [Updated: 2020 Oct 26]. Accessed July 17, 2021

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