What Is Prozac (Fluoxetine)?
Prozac is the brand name of fluoxetine, a prescription drug used to treat depression.
This antidepressant is in a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. These medications work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain.
In addition to depression, Prozac is used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), binge-eating and vomiting in people with moderate to severe bulimia, and panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces).
Fluoxetine capsules and tablets sold under the brand name Sarafem are used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a condition in which a woman has symptoms of depression, irritability, and tension before menstruation.
Prozac comes in several forms - capsules, tablets, liquid, and delayed release capsules.
Eli Lilly and Company makes Prozac, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987.
The delayed release capsule Prozac Weekly is also made by Eli Lilly and Company.
Generic forms of fluoxetine, fluoxetine delayed-release capsules, and Sarafem are also available.
Prozac and other antidepressants are required to carry a black-box warning due to the increased risk of suicide.
Prozac may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in children, teenagers, and young adults within the first several months of treatment or after a change in dose.
Call your doctor immediately if you have any unusual changes in behavior or mood while on Prozac, including:
- Thoughts about suicide or dying or attempts to commit suicide
- New or worsening depression or anxiety
- Feeling very agitated or restless
- Panic attacks
- Difficulty sleeping
- New or worse irritability
- Being aggressive, angry, or violent
- Acting on dangerous impulses
- Extreme increase in activity and talking
- Decrease need for sleep
Before taking Prozac, tell your doctor if you have a history of seizures, bipolar disorder, liver disease, heart problems, including heart rhythm problems, diabetes, glaucoma, or thoughts of suicide or attempted suicide.
You may not feel the full benefits of Prozac for 4 to 5 weeks or longer after starting the medication. Before stopping Prozac, talk to your doctor. Stopping suddenly can cause serious side effects. Your doctor will help you safely stop the medication.
Don't take Prozac or other forms of fluoxetine if you are allergic to fluoxetine or any of the inactive ingredients in the formulations. Cases of severe allergic reactions have been reported and could result in death.
If you are taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) or if you took an MAOI in the past 14 days, then don't use Prozac. A dangerous drug interaction could occur that may result
Wait at least 5 weeks after stopping Prozac before beginning treatment with an MAOI drug. MAOIs include Marplan. Nardil, Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar, or Parnate and others.
Don't take Prozac if you are taking pimozide (Orap). because a dangerous drug interaction involving irregular heartbeats could occur. Also, don't take Prozac if you are taking thioridazine. the antibiotic linezolid (Zyvox), or intravenous methylene blue.
Avoid operating heavy machinery, driving a motor vehicle, or performing other dangerous activities until you know how Prozac affects you. It can cause sleepiness and may worsen your ability to make decisions, think clearly, or react quickly.
Stopping Prozac suddenly can cause serious side effects.
There is limited information regarding the long-term effects of Prozac on the development and maturation of children and adolescents.
Talk to your child's doctor about monitoring your their height and weight when they are taking Prozac.
Prozac and Pregnancy
Prozac is in FDA Pregnancy Category C, which means that harm to a developing fetus is possible.
Before taking Prozac, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. The benefits and risks of Prozac in the third trimester of pregnancy should be very closely evaluated.
Babies of mothers who have been exposed to the medication at this time have had various side effects.
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding your baby before taking Prozac, because the medication passes into breast milk. Taking Prozac while you are breastfeeding is not recommended.
Prozac and Weight Gain
Weight gain is a side effect of many antidepressants (and other drugs), including Prozac.
A 2014 study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that people taking Prozac and other SSRIs gained one to two pounds over the course of a year; weight gain varied, depending on the SSRI used.
Some other reports indicate that up to 25 percent of antidepressant users experience weight gains of more than 10 pounds. This may be due to increased appetite among people taking antidepressants.
Other users have reported weight loss while using Prozac, and more research is needed to determine how Prozac and other SSRIs may contribute to weight changes.
If you're concerned about weight gain or loss while taking Prozac, talk with your doctor.
Prozac for Dogs and Cats
Prozac is sometimes prescribed for dogs or cats under the care of a veterinarian.
The drug may be prescribed for behaviors such as tail chasing, constant licking, or other obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
Do not give your dog or cat Prozac - or any other medication - without first speaking with your pet's veterinarian. Use Prozac and all other drugs according to the instructions that your pet's veterinarian provides.