Fluoxetine (Prozac): uses, precautions, and side effects

In 1974, the research team of the company Eli Lilly and Co presented the first type of SSRI antidepressant: fluoxetine. This drug ended up becoming the most widely used antidepressant for its effectiveness and tolerable side effects.

In this article, we will talk about its different uses, form of administration, as well as possible side effects and precautions to be taken by patients who consume it.

    What is fluoxetine?

    Fluoxetine is an antidepressant popularly known as Prozac. This drug is classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and its main effect on the body is to increase serotonin levels. This substance, produced naturally, helps maintain mental balance.

    Unlike other antidepressants, fluoxetine is distinguished by changes in its chemical structure (it is not a tricyclic or tetracyclic antidepressant) and by its notable differences in their mechanism of action.

    The success of fluoxetine, which has made it the gold standard in the treatment of all these conditions, lies in its high efficiency and fairly tolerable side effects.

    In addition, due to its selective serotonergic action, it does not cause sedative or cardiovascular adverse effects, with the most prominent consequences being dry mouth, weight loss, or feelings of anxiety and upset.

      What disorders is it used for?

      As discussed above, fluoxetine has been shown to be very effective in a variety of psychological conditions such as:

      • Depressive disorders.

      • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

      • Eating disorders.

      It has also sometimes been shown to be really effective in treating:

      • Alcoholism.
      • Lack of attention.
      • Sleep disorders
      • Chronic headaches.
      • Obesity.
      • Post-traumatic stress disorder.

      • Sexual dysfunctions.

      Little-known use of fluoxetine is aimed at reducing symptoms of the controversial PMS. This symptomatology includes:

      • Mood alterations.
      • Irritability.
      • Breast tenderness.
      • Abdominal distension.

      As for physical ailments, fluoxetine has been proposed as a treatment for diseases caused by enterovirusesLike meningitis or polio, a possible antiviral property has recently been discovered.

      Finally, recent research with rodents has shown a neurogenic effect of fluoxetine. This means that it promotes the creation and development of new neurons in the brain.

      How is it administered?

      Fluoxetine is available for consumption in capsules and tablets as well as in liquid solution, all for oral administration. In any case, keep in mind that its consumption and method of use must be indicated by the doctor. The following are generic indications that are generally performed.

      Usually, gradual initiation of treatment is recommended; starting with small doses of the drug and distanced over time that gradually increase.

      Depending on the specific type of presentation of the medicine, it should be taken once a day, every day at the same time or once a week. However, it is essential to follow the administration instructions of the healthcare professional, who will adjust the dose to the patient’s needs as the treatment progresses.

      In both cases, the patient you should not take higher or lower doses than recommended, In addition to not changing the frequency of consumption. Because this can lead to serious consequences on the health of patients such as tolerance, dependence or withdrawal syndrome.

      In the event that the patient changes or modifies the doses indicated by the doctor, he may experience the following symptoms:

      • Mood swings.
      • Irritability.
      • Restlessness.
      • fear of heights.
      • Numbness in the hands or feet.
      • Feeling anxious.
      • Confusion.
      • headache.
      • Tired.
      • Sound problems.

      In cases where it is necessary to stop treatment, this will be done gradually and under the constant supervision of a healthcare professional.

      Side effects

      Due to its effects as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, fluoxetine can cause several side effects in people. It is recommended that if the patient perceives that if these appear frequently or are prolonged in time, he should inform his doctor to adjust or change the medication.

      The list of the most common side effects includes:

      • drowsiness.
      • Engine problems.
      • dry mouth.
      • Visual problems: blurred vision or sensitivity to light.
      • Dilation of the pupil.
      • urinary problems.
      • Constipation.
      • Lack of concentration.
      • Memory problems short term.

      However, there are a number of less common but more harmful consequences for the person, including:

      • Hallucinations.

      • Delirium.

      • sexual dysfunctions such as delayed ejaculation or erectile dysfunction.
      • Skin problems such as blisters, hives or blisters.
      • Respiratory problems.
      • fainting.
      • Excessive muscle spasms or stiffness.
      • convulsions.
      • Abnormal bleeding or bruising.

      After a long period of treatment, fluoxetine can cause hypertension due to its vasoconstrictor action. In addition, on exceptional occasions, it may increase the risk of heart attack or myocardial infarction, so patients with a history or heart problems should be closely monitored of his state of health.

      Regarding specific side effects in children, fluoxetine could drastically reduce a child’s appetite, leading to significant weight loss. In these cases, the competent specialist doctor must establish a very close monitoring of the development of the child.

      What precautions should be taken with its consumption?

      As with most medications, the patient should inform their doctor of any special condition they are in.

      The healthcare professional should be aware of the person’s allergies and whether they are taking any other type of medication, dietary or vitamin supplement such as tryptophan. In addition, you must also report if you consume a compound of natural herbs as is the case with St. John’s Wort. Very commonly used as a remedy for depression and anxiety.

      If pregnancy is predicted, pregnancy or breastfeeding should also be reported, as fluoxetine can cause problems in the baby once born. Especially if it belongs in the last months of gestation.

      Finally, due to the sedative effects of fluoxetine, people who drive that their daily routine involves handling heavy machinery they should be especially careful or avoid these activities.

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