Prozac (fluoxetine hydrocloride)
General Information on Prozac
Prozac, with active ingredient fluoxetine hydrochloride, belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The drug is used for treating conditions of the brain such as obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, depression and bulimia. In some cases it is also used for treating bipolar disorder in conjunction with other drugs.
Serotonin is one of several important chemicals produced in our brain. It plays a role in transporting messages to and from the brain. When a message is sent out from the brain, it travels down a nerve. The cell carrying the message releases serotonin, which then activates the receptors on the nearest cell, and hence, the message travels forward. However, in cases of imbalance of serotonin, severe conditions can develop such as depression. The drug works by regulating the uptake of serotonin by cells, thus ensuring the correct balance of the chemical.
Precautions/side effects of Prozac
Patients taking pimozide, thioridazine and MAO inhibitors such as rasagiline etc. should refrain from taking this drug. Prozac is known to react with these medications leading to severe conditions. Other than that, patients with glaucoma, diabetes, epilepsy, severe liver disease or kidney disease should consult a doctor before taking Prozac.
Prozac is also a Category C pregnancy drug. Thus, it may have adverse effects on the fetus as well as newborn. Pregnant women as well as women who are breastfeeding should take this drug only after consultation with a doctor.
Other than the medications listed above, the drug is also known to react with certain other drugs, although not as severely, such as blood thinners like warfarin, antidepressants such as sertraline and other drugs like clopidogrel, haloperidol etc. Patients on any of these drugs should inform the doctor accordingly before taking Prozac.
Prozac is also known to have certain side effects such as sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, insomnia, unusual weight gain or weight loss and dizziness. However, in certain cases, serious side effects may show up to the drug such as severe rashes on the skin, diarrhea, forgetfulness, troubled breathing pattern or hallucinations. If any of these symptoms show up after taking the drug, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
Important safety information
- The drug is known to cause dizziness. Thus, dangerous tasks which require concentration such as driving or working on heavy machinery should be avoided immediately after taking the drug.
- Alcohol consumption should be prevented when on this drug as it is known to increase the risk of side effects to this drug.
- The drug may lead to suicidal thoughts in the initial phases of the treatment, especially in adults younger than 24 years old. Thus, careful supervision of the patient is required in the initial phases of the treatment.
Dosage of Prozac
Prozac is available as 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg and 90 mg capsules. The usual dosage of the drug for treating obsessive compulsive disorder is 20 mg once daily, which may be subsequently increased depending on the response of the patient. The usual dosage of the drug for treating cases of depression is 20 mg once daily. The dosage may go up to 80 mg per day depending on the response of the patient.
The drug should be taken with food to avoid stomach upset. Overdose of the drug should be avoided at all costs. If a dose is missed, it should be had as soon as possible. However, it should not be clubbed with the next dose. Overdose of the drug can lead to severe symptoms such as rashes of the skin, diarrhea etc. which require immediate medical attention.
Storage of Prozac
Prozac should be stored at room temperature in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. It should be stored out of reach of children and pets at all times.