Prozac: Side Effects, Addictions, & FAQs

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

May 25, 2023

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Prozac (fluoxetine) is a commonly prescribed antidepressant in a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is used to treat a variety of mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

While Prozac can be incredibly effective in treating these disorders, it can also have potential side effects and risks, including the possibility of dependency and addiction

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In this blog, we will take a look at the varied side effects and risks associated with Prozac, as well as answer some frequently asked questions about the drug. 

What is Prozac?

Prozac is an antidepressant of the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) family.  It is also sold as Sarafem.  Prozac is used mostly for the treatment of major depressive disorder. In addition to major depressive disorder, Prozac is secondarily prescribed for obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome.  

For those with depression, Prozac has been known to help increase mood and restore interest in daily activities while it may decrease the severity of unwanted thoughts, fear, and anxiety.  For those with bulimia, it may decrease binge and purge behaviors.  

Additionally, it may lessen overall irritability. Usually, Prozac is taken once daily in the morning, but sometimes it can be taken twice daily, morning and noon. In addition to pill form, Prozac can be taken in liquid form. 

What are Prozac Side Effects?

Prozac has many side effects. Some side effects include; sexual dysfunction, headache, anxiety, trouble sleeping, sweating, nausea, drowsiness, and tiredness. Older adults and children may be more sensitive to the side effects of Prozac. 

Children can be more likely to experience weight loss while taking this medication. Therefore, it’s important to monitor their weight. However,  older adults may experience a loss of coordination and bleeding.

Loss of coordination is important to watch in older adults as they are more prone to falls. They are also more likely to develop low sodium in the blood. This medication does pass to breast milk, so nursing mothers should refrain from taking it, as it may harm the unborn baby.  

What are the Dangers of Drinking on Prozac?

Of course, many medications have interactions. It is always important to check the potential interactions when taking more than one medication, or consuming alcohol. 

Like many other antidepressants, drinking alcohol while taking Prozac can have a handful of side effects. First, consuming alcohol may cause extreme drowsiness. Even consuming one drink can make a person extremely drowsy. 

With that said, one needs to be very careful mixing alcohol and Prozac especially if they are driving as this can lead to dangerous situations. Furthermore, consuming alcohol while taking Prozac can counteract the effectiveness of the medication itself.  

Consuming alcohol can actually make the symptoms in those suffering from depression worse. 

While alcohol may provide a temporary happiness, it is a depressant and does interact with Prozac potentially making depression and anxiety symptoms worse. Therefore anyone taking Prozac should refrain from consuming alcohol.  

Is Prozac addictive?

Like many other SSRI inhibitors, Prozac is not classified as a controlled substance, however, it has very addictive properties.  

If a patient suddenly stops taking Prozac, they will likely have withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, it is contraindicated to stop Prozac suddenly and it can be considered addictive.  

Furthermore, like any other controlled substance, it is possible to overdose on Prozac. Usually, the dosage of Prozac is 20 – 80 milligrams daily. If one consumes more than this, it is possible that it can lead to an overdose. 

Symptoms of an overdose include: unresponsiveness, fainting, fever, seizure, and uncontrollable shaking among other symptoms.  

Are There Prozac Withdrawal Symptoms?

The short answer here is, yes, patients have experienced many withdrawal symptoms upon stopping taking Prozac.  

When patients have stopped Prozac suddenly, they have experienced intense adverse side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Some of these withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Digestive issues
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sleep trouble
  • Vomiting, sweating
  • Mood changes

In fact, babies born to mothers using this drug in their last 3 months of pregnancy, have in some cases, exhibited withdrawal symptoms.  

The duration of withdrawal symptoms can vary greatly person to person.  Usually, withdrawal symptoms last a few weeks at most. Undergoing medical detox can help ease this transition off Prozac.

Prozac FAQs

Can Prozac Cause Weight Gain?

Generally speaking, all antidepressants are linked to weight gain. Prozac in particular is not necessarily associated with serious weight gain in most studies. The average is about 7%, meaning most patients gained an average of 7% of their current weight.  

However, about 37% of people taking Prozac self-reported seeing a small increase on the scale.  

How Long Does Prozac Take To Work?

Prozac can take anywhere between 1 – 6 weeks to work. Some will see some improvement between 1 – 2 weeks, but most see improvement between 4 – 6 weeks.  At first, some have reported feeling drowsy in their first week of taking Prozac.  

Prozac Rehab at Renaissance Recovery

If you or someone you know is struggling through Prozac withdrawals or wants to stop taking Prozac, Renaissance Recovery can help.  We know how hard it can be to struggle or to watch a loved one struggle, especially coming off antidepressant medication. We can help you get your new drug-free life started today at Renaissance Recovery.  Reach out to us for help with prescription medication addiction at 866.330.9449.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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