Prozac is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor known as Fluoxetine in its generic form. It is used to treat depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder (ADHD), eating disorders, panic attacks, anxiety and severe forms of premenstrual syndrome. It helps balance chemicals in the brain and is sometimes used in conjunction with other medications to treat depression and/or bipolar disorder.

When Taking Prozac

Prozac is prescribed by mouth and usually taken once a day with food. The dosage is based on your medical condition and it may be changed by your physician depending on how well you respond to it. It must be taken regularly and at the same time each day in order to respond to it. It’s important not to miss a dose and continue taking the medication even if you don’t feel well. The drug generally takes 4 – 6 weeks for the benefits to take effect. Do not alter the dosage or stop taking the medication without first consulting your physician.

Side Effects of Prozac

Side effects of Prozac include but are not limited to nausea, loss of appetite, tiredness, anxiety, diarrhea, dry mouth, inability to sleep, dizziness, drowsiness, yawning, weakness or sweating. Consult with your physician as soon as possible if any of these side effects persist, worsen or severely alter your daily activities. Tell your doctor if you notice any of the following side effects: uncontrolled movements, shakiness, restlessness, inability to remain still, numbness/tingling, agitation, mania, severe mental/mood changes, weight loss, change in sexual desire or vision changes.

If you experience any of the following severe and highly unlikely side effects, consult with your physician immediately: tremor, fever/flu like symptoms, fast/irregular heartbeats, unusual bleeding, seizures, vomit, black stools, chest pain an easy bruising. Symptoms of allergic reaction include: rash, swelling, itching, severe dizziness and trouble breathing.

Precautions When Taking Prozac

Prior to taking Prozac, be sure that your physician and pharmacist are aware of your medical history, especially if you suffer from liver disease, kidney disease, stomach bleeding, diabetes or seizures. If you experience thoughts of suicide or your depression seems to worsen instead of improve, tell your physician immediately. While taking Prozac, you should see your physician regularly so that he/she can monitor your response to the drug and adjust the dosage accordingly.

If you have diabetes, Prozac may affect blood glucose levels. Patients who have Diabetes and take Prozac should monitor their blood glucose regularly and inform their physician of the results. If you are pregnant, Prozac should only be continued if it is clearly necessary. If Prozac is taken during the last trimester, newborns may develop symptoms including breathing or feeding difficulties, seizures, muscle stiffness, jitteriness or constant crying. Although these side effects are infrequent, they are still a possibility in all pregnancies. If you are taking Prozac and find out you are pregnant, inform your physician immediately but do not stop taking the drug unless your doctor directs you to do so.

Drug Interactions

Numerous medications can cause interactions, at times fatal, when taken in conjunction with Prozac. If you are prescribed Prozac, avoid taking MAO inhibitors with it. Since drugs can remain in your system for several weeks, do not take MAO inhibitors within two weeks of starting Prozac therapy or within five weeks of stopping it either. Do not stop, start or change the dosage of any medication prior to checking with your physician and pharmacist.

In addition to prescription medication causing complications with Prozac therapy, some OTC drugs can also cause interactions. Aspirin can increase the risk of bleeding when taken with Prozac. If you’ve been prescribed aspirin for heart attack or stroke, you should continue taking it (in low doses of no more than 325 milligrams a day) unless your physician instructs you to stop. Tell your doctor about any herbal supplements you may be taking as well since these may also interfere with and/or cause a reaction to Prozac. Since not all drugs that can cause possible interactions with Prozac are listed above, be sure to regularly check all labels to any medication and herbal supplements that you are taking.

Prozac should be stored at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 C) and kept away from light and moisture.