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Prozac Information: Benefits and Side Effects of the “Wonder Drug”

Prozac information: An Overview

Front Image - prozac (FLUOXETINE HYDROCHLORIDE)Prozac (Fluoxetine) is used to treat depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, bulimia ( an eating disorder), and severe symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Prozac is of the drug classification of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI‘s), which helps to maintain a higher level of the neurotransmitter, serotonin in the brain. It is primarily prescribed for adolescents, adult men and women and the elderly, but occasionally is also prescribed for children.

How do you take Prozac?

Prozac is usually taken about once a day, most commonly in the morning, and may be taken either with food or without. Dosage is usually established in relation to the severity of the related illness along with the individual’s response to the medication. Prozac is meant to be taken as prescribed without modifications in a routine manner. It is important to follow your doctor’s orders, and to continue the medication as prescribed even after you begin to feel better. It may take up to four weeks before you begin to feel the full benefit of this drug.


Prozac information and side effects:

Although the side effects of Prozac are much more limited than some of the earlier generation antidepressants (tricyclics) such as nortriptyline, amitriptyline and desipramine, there are side effects which you should be aware of. The most common side-effects include nausea, headache, trouble sleeping, dry mouth, drowsiness and sweating. Some of the less common but more severe side-effects have been noted to be: loss of appetite, unusual weight loss, unusual or severe mental/mood changes, uncontrolled movements (tremor), decreased interest in sex, and flu-like symptoms. Much more unlikely but potentially very serious side-effects associated with Prozac include vision changes, trouble swallowing, swelling or white spots on the mouth and/or tongue, changes in sexual ability, and painful and/or prolonged erection. The most serious side-effects usually associated with Prozac are fainting and an irregular/fast heartbeat. Allergic reactions to Prozac are unlikely but include rash, itching, swelling, dizziness and trouble breathing. If you notice any of these side-effects contact your doctor immediately. Also, if you notice any other side effects not listed above contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Precautions when taking Prozac:

You should always be open and honest with your doctor when getting a prescription for Prozac by giving a complete medical history, including liver problems, kidney disease, seizures, heart problems, diabetes and any allergies. This drug has been known to make you dizzy or drowsy, making it necessary to use caution when engaging in activities that require alertness such as driving or using machinery. Alcoholic beverages should be limited. Also, liquid preparations of this product may contain sugar and/or small amounts alcohol. If you have diabetes, alcohol dependence or liver disease, caution is always advised. Caution is also advised when this product is being used by the elderly, as they are more sensitive to the effects of the drug. This medication should only be used when absolutely necessary during pregnancy as the drug passes into breast milk. Because of the potential risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consultation with your doctor about the risk-benefits of Prozac use during pregnancy and breast-feeding is absolutely necessary. Never share this medication with others. If you happen to miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule without trying to catch up.   

By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist   

Front Image -prozac( FLUOXETINE HYDROCHLORIDE)Information provided by The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs - Sixth Edition

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