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Fluoxetine prescription

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What is Fluoxetine?

Fluoxetine hydrochloride is an antidepressant used to treat a range of mental health disorders.

You might better recognize this drug by its brand name, Prozac. Both meds belong to a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medications treat depression by increasing the amount of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin.

Fluoxetine is FDA-approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), as well as other mental health conditions ranging from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) to bulimia. It can even improve the sexual disorder, premature ejaculation.

Fluoxetine is widely available and much more affordable than its brand-name counterpart. Plus, the generic med works just as well as Prozac.

This antidepressant is generally better tolerated than some of the older meds (tricyclic antidepressants), which can cause unwanted side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, and weight gain.

What is fluoxetine used for?

While this medicine is most commonly prescribed for depression and anxiety, it can help treat a variety of mental health disorders. It’s also beneficial for certain conditions that have both psychological and biological factors.

Fluoxetine has been used to treat the following disorders:

  • Depression (major depressive disorder)
  • Anxiety (panic disorder)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Eating disorders (bulimia)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Sexual disorders (premature ejaculation)

If you’re struggling with one of these conditions, generic Prozac may be helpful. Talk with a medical professional for help finding the right antidepressant for your personal treatment needs.

How does it work in the body?

SSRIs like fluoxetine (Prozac) increase levels of the mood-boosting chemical serotonin. This chemical is a neurotransmitter that relieves stress and helps you feel good. It can promote good sleep, memory, energy, and mood while increasing your interest in daily activities.

If you have depression, your brain’s chemical levels may be off. Taking a medication like generic Prozac can increase low levels of this hormone, which can reduce the symptoms of depression.

But how exactly does it work? We can’t be totally sure, but here’s what we think is going on. Neurons in your brain discharge chemicals like serotonin to communicate with other neurons. Once the signal has been sent, the remaining chemical is taken back into the neuron, a process called “reuptake.” Researchers have noticed that in some patients with symptoms of depression and anxiety, the amount of this chemical is lower than expected and associated.

By blocking or slowing down the reuptake process, this type of medication increases serotonin levels and improves your mental state. This leads to higher levels of the feel-good hormone in the space between neurons, where it’s freely available to boost and regulate your mood.

Fluoxetine side effects

This medicine is generally well-tolerated, and most patients don’t have serious side effects while taking it. Some of the most common side effects of fluoxetine are

  • Headache
  • Weakness and shakiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Indigestion and loss of appetite
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep

Some people prefer this med because it’s not associated with weight gain and is less likely to make you sleepy the way other antidepressants can.

It’s important to note that this medicine can also cause dangerous changes in thinking, including an increase in suicidality and manic depressive disorder. Please let your doctor know if you have a family history of suicide attempts or manic depressive disorder (also called bipolar disorder or manic depression).

How should I take it?

Use this medicine exactly as prescribed. It’s common to take generic Prozac once daily in the morning, but your prescriber may recommend something different depending on the condition you’re treating with this antidepressant. Often, people start with a low dose of the med and increase slowly over the course of a few weeks.

Try to take this medicine at the same time each day, and don’t stop taking it without consulting your doctor. It’s essential that you continue taking this med even if your symptoms improve. If you stop abruptly, you may experience withdrawal symptoms like bizarre sensations, dizziness, problems with digestion, sleep issues, and trouble with motor control.

How does this med help?

Depression can make it hard for you to do simple, daily things to care for yourself. It can cause your mood and energy levels to decline sharply, making it hard to sleep, eat, or function at your regular capacity.

It can also cause changes in your thinking. When you’re depressed, you might lose interest in things you once found engaging or gratifying, a symptom called anhedonia. You might find yourself wondering about “the point” of anything or experiencing other thoughts associated with feelings of hopelessness or despair.

We know how hard it is to feel this way. If you’re suffering from these symptoms, fluoxetine may benefit your general mood, make it easier to sleep, and allow you to eat normally. It can also help restore your energy and your interest in daily life. Plus, generic Prozac can reduce unwanted thoughts associated with hopelessness, despair, and obsession.

What about dosage?

Fluoxetine (generic Prozac) is available in both tablets and capsules. An adult starting dose for major depressive disorder is 20 mg taken once daily, but your dose may be as high as 80 mg per day, depending on your treatment needs. The Lemonaid pharmacy stocks this med in the following doses: Fluoxetine 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg capsules.

Your dose depends on your individual needs. It will be based on the medical condition for which you’re seeking treatment, as well as how able you are to tolerate the meds. It’s common to start at a low dose and slowly build up to a higher amount of medicine, a process called drug titration.

Can it treat anxiety?

Though some antidepressants have been FDA-approved to treat anxiety, Prozac has only been approved for the treatment of depression. Although this med is not FDA-approved for anxiety treatment, it’s commonly prescribed off-label for that purpose.

If your doctor or nurse practitioner has prescribed fluoxetine for anxiety, use it just as directed. To maximize its benefit, use this med in combination with other modalities like talk therapy, behavioral strategies, and lifestyle changes to improve mental health and manage anxiety and depression.

How long does generic Prozac take to work?

If you’re taking this med daily, you may see some changes in just 7-14 days, but it usually takes at least 1-2 months to experience the full benefit of this medicine. Your body needs to build up sufficient levels of the drug, which can take a little time.

Please remember that it takes time for antidepressants to improve symptoms, sometimes even months. If you’re not feeling better after 4-6 weeks, please get in touch with your doctor or nurse practitioner. It may be necessary to increase your dose or switch to another med altogether. You should also let your prescriber know right away if you start to feel worse after taking this med, especially if you’re having thoughts about suicide.

What are the risks?

Antidepressants are powerful medicines. There are many benefits, but there are also risks. That’s why it’s critical that you take this med under the care and direction of a doctor or nurse practitioner.

Many antidepressants carry a risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, teens, and young adults, especially those with preexisting mental health disorders. Remember, this medicine can cause dangerous changes in thinking. It’s crucial to let your doctor know about any family history of mental illness before starting this med.

This medication can also cause a serious reaction if you use it with or near another class of antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

You should avoid alcohol when taking this med. It’s also not the right choice for women who are breastfeeding and shouldn’t be used during pregnancy.

In rare cases, this drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms of this may include hives or rash, difficulty breathing, and swelling of your tongue and throat. See a doctor immediately if you suspect an overdose or allergic reaction to Prozac.

Who shouldn't use this medicine?

Though it’s safe for most, certain people should not use this drug. Don’t use this medicine if any of the following apply to you.

  • Family history of suicide
  • Family history of bipolar disorder
  • Liver problems
  • History of seizures
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Actively using alcohol
  • Currently taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Last took MAOIs within 2 weeks
  • Low sodium in the blood

This antidepressant isn’t right for everyone. If you’re having problems with this medicine, contact your prescriber and let them know. Again, don’t stop generic Prozac abruptly because it can cause withdrawal symptoms.

Find the right meds for you

For more information about this and other antidepressant medications, talk with a Lemonaid online doctor or nurse practitioner. Our medical team is available to help you better understand your prescription treatment options and offer advice and support around mental health care. Schedule an online visit today to see whether generic Fluoxetine could be right for you.