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Quick guide to Prozac

Brand Name(s): Prozac, Prozac Weekly, Sarafem

Generic Name Fluoxetine

What are fluoxetine capsules or tablets?

FLUOXETINE (Prozac® and Prozac® Weekly™) is an antidepressant. It helps improve a person's mood. Fluoxetine can also help people with anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress. Fluoxetine is marketed as Sarafem® for the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a severe type of premenstrual syndrome. Generics are available for some products. While most forms of fluoxetine are taken daily, Prozac® Weekly™ capsules are taken just once a week, and no generic is available for this formulation.

What should my health care professional know before I take fluoxetine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • receiving electroconvulsive therapy
  • seizures (convulsions)
  • suicidal thoughts
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to fluoxetine, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take fluoxetine tablets or capsules by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the pills with a drink of water. You can take fluoxetine with or without food. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your prescriber's advice.

If you are taking Prozac® Weekly™: Take your dose on the same day of the week each week. These capsules have a special coating. Swallow the capsules whole. Do not cut, crush, or chew them.

What if I miss a dose?

Regular Prozac® capsules or tablets: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take double or extra doses.

Prozac® Weekly™: Try not to miss your scheduled weekly dose. You may want to mark a calendar to remind you for that day of the week. If you miss a dose, and it is still the day you normally take your medicine each week, then take it as soon as you can. If it is another day, then take the dose as soon as you remember and then adjust your weekly doses to the new day from that day forward. Do not take double or extra doses. There should be one week between each dose.

What drug(s) may interact with fluoxetine?

Fluoxetine has the potential to interact with a variety of medications, check with your healthcare professional. The following list contains some of these interactions.

Do not take fluoxetine with any of the following medications:

  • astemizole (Hismanal®)
  • cisapride (Propulsid®)
  • pimozide (Orap®)
  • terfenadine (Seldane®)
  • thioridazine (Mellaril®)
  • medicines called MAO inhibitors-phenelzine (Nardil®), tranylcypromine (Parnate®), isocarboxazid (Marplan®), selegiline (Eldepryl®)

Fluoxetine may also interact with the following medications:

  • alcohol
  • amphetamine
  • buspirone
  • carbamazepine
  • certain diet drugs (dexfenfluramine, fenfluramine, phentermine, sibutramine)
  • certain medicines for migraine headache (almotriptan, eletriptan, frovatriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, methysergide)
  • cimetidine
  • cyproheptadine
  • dextroamphetamine
  • dextromethorphan
  • dofetilide
  • ergonovine
  • furazolidone
  • linezolid
  • lithium
  • metoprolol
  • molindone
  • medicines for anxiety or sleeping problems, such as diazepam or alprazolam
  • medicines for diabetes
  • medicines for mental depression
  • medicines for mental problems or psychotic disturbances
  • methylergonovine
  • phenytoin
  • propafenone
  • St. John's wort
  • voriconazole
  • warfarin

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, and herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking fluoxetine?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • fast talking and excited feelings or actions that are out of control
  • flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, cough, muscle or joint aches and pains)
  • irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
  • seizures (convulsions)
  • skin rash or itching (hives)
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • agitation or restlessness
  • anxiety or nervousness
  • blurred vision
  • difficulty sleeping
  • daytime drowsiness
  • diarrhea
  • dry mouth
  • flushing
  • headache
  • increased sweating
  • indigestion
  • increased or decreased appetite
  • sexual difficulties (decreased sexual desire or ability)
  • stuffy nose
  • tremor (shaking)

What should I watch for while taking fluoxetine?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Continue to take your capsules even if you do not immediately feel better. It can take several weeks before you feel the full effect of fluoxetine. If you get suicidal thoughts, extreme agitation, or inability to sleep or sit still, call your prescriber or health care professional at once.

If you have been taking fluoxetine regularly for some time, do not suddenly stop taking it. You must gradually reduce the dose or your symptoms may get worse. Ask your prescriber or health care professional for advice.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how fluoxetine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol can make you more drowsy and dizzy. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

Do not treat yourself for coughs, colds or allergies without asking your prescriber or health care professional for advice. Some ingredients can increase possible side effects.

Your mouth may get dry. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking hard candy, and drinking plenty of water will help.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking fluoxetine.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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