Prozac (fluoxetine) is part of a group of relatively newer antidepressant medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This prescription medication effectively increases the amount of serotonin—a neurotransmitter related to mood—in the body. Newer antidepressant medications like Prozac were developed to produce fewer side effects than older antidepressant medications such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), tricyclics, and tetracyclics.
Mental Health Conditions Treated with Prozac
This medication is chiefly used to treat depression in adults, teenagers, and children. It may also be prescribed for the treatment of obsessive compulsive thoughts and behaviors in adults and children, bulimia nervosa in adults, panic attacks in adults, treatment-resistant depression in adults, and adults with depressive episodes associated with bipolar I. Prozac may help to control the behavior, emotions, and thoughts that sometimes accompany these conditions, but it is not intended to cure the diagnosis.
- How should I take this medication?
Prozac comes in several different forms, including a tablet, a capsule, a delayed-release capsule, and a concentrated liquid. Your doctor will help you determine which version of this drug is best for you. The tablet, capsule, and liquid forms of this drug are usually taken once (in the morning) or twice (morning and noon) each day; extended-release capsules are usually taken once per week. Do not bite, chew, suck, or crush tablets or capsules; swallow this medication whole. It may take up to five weeks before you begin to feel the full effect of this medication. It is very important that you continue taking Prozac as directed by your doctor, even if your symptoms subside. Read the medication guide each time you refill your medication as new information may have been added.
- What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
Take the dose you missed as soon as you are able to. If it will soon be time for your next regular dose, then do not take the dose you forgot. Taking too much Prozac too quickly may lead to an overdose.
- What should I do if I overdose on this medication?
If you believe you may be overdosing on Prozac, contact a poison help line, call your healthcare provider, and seek urgent medical care right away. Prozac overdose is a medical emergency and should be treated as quickly as possible. Symptoms of overdose may include stomach pain or nausea, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and a slowed heart rate.
- Who should not take this medication?
People who are allergic to fluoxetine hydrochloride, people who are currently taking an MAOI or who have taken an MAOI in the past two weeks, people who are taking Mellaril, people who are taking pimozide or thioridazine, people who are being treated with methylene blue injection, and children who are under the age of seven should not take this drug. Do not share your medication with anyone else, even if he or she has been diagnosed with a similar health condition.
- How can I get the most out of my treatment with Prozac?
Many mental health conditions this drug is designed to treat have also shown positive results when treated with psychotherapy. If you are prescribed this medication for depression, disordered eating, obsessive compulsion, or panic or anxiety, consider finding a therapist or counselor to aid in your treatment. A mental health professional may be able to help you understand what you are experiencing better and help you work on positive coping strategies and a self-care routine that produce an overall higher quality of life. In some cases, this may lead to a better, longer-lasting mental health outcome.
- How should I store this medication?
Keep this and all other drugs out of the reach of young children. Keep this medication tightly sealed in its original container. Store this medication at room temperature, away from excess heat or moisture.