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Everything you need to know about fluoxetine

Perhaps you have heard at least once about fluoxetine, a drug used especially in the treatment of depression, but which is also indicated to treat bulimia nervosa, among other cases.

Exactly because it is a drug used in different types of treatments, the use of fluoxetine raises many doubts among people. Many of them even think that fluoxetine can be used as a drug to lose weight – as this can be one of its side effects.

With that in mind, below you can find all the important information about fluoxetine to understand, in fact, what its indications are.

According to information in the drug’s package insert, fluoxetine hydrochloride is indicated for the treatment of depression, whether or not associated with anxiety. It is also indicated for the treatment of bulimia nervosa, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), including premenstrual syndrome (PMS), irritability and dysphoria (anxiety-induced discomfort).

How does fluoxetine work?

Fluoxetine hydrochloride works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, thereby improving symptoms of depression, bulimia nervosa, obsessive compulsive disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

As with most medications, fluoxetine hydrochloride should only be taken when prescribed by a doctor.

Also according to the information in the package insert, fluoxetine hydrochloride should be administered orally and can be taken regardless of meals. It is also worth emphasizing that you cannot take more than the amount recommended by the doctor for a 24-hour period.

Fluoxetine side effects

As with other medications, fluoxetine may have some side effects that your doctor will certainly tell you about in detail.

But, according to package insert information, the following adverse reactions have been reported with the use of fluoxetine hydrochloride (in more than 10% of patients):

  • Diarrhea;
  • Nausea;
  • Tiredness (fatigue) – including asthenia (loss or decrease in muscle strength);
  • Headache;
  • Insomnia (including early awakening, initial insomnia, sleep maintenance insomnia).

Also according to the fluoxetine package insert, other less common reactions (which occur between 1% and 10% of patients using this medication) are:

  • Palpitations;
  • Blurred vision;
  • Dry mouth;
  • gastrointestinal discomfort;
  • vomiting;
  • Chills;
  • Trembling sensation;
  • Weight loss;
  • Decreased appetite (including anorexia);
  • Attention disorder;
  • Vertigo;
  • Change in taste (dysgeusia);
  • Sensation of slowness of movement and reasoning (lethargy);
  • Drowsiness (including hypersomnia and sedation);
  • tremor;
  • Abnormal dreams (including nightmares);
  • Anxiety;
  • Decreased sexual desire (decreased libido);
  • nervousness;
  • Tiredness;
  • sleep disorder;
  • Voltage;
  • Frequent or abnormally frequent urination (urination)
  • Ejaculation disorders;
  • Bleeding and gynecological hemorrhages;
  • erectile dysfunction;
  • Yawn;
  • Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis);
  • Itching (pruritus);
  • Skin eruptions;
  • Itchy skin rashes (hives);
  • Flushing (including hot flashes), among other more unusual reactions.

These or any other reactions should be reported to the doctor who prescribed the drug as soon as possible.

Fluoxetine contraindications and warnings

Below is important information, according to the drug leaflet:

  • Fluoxetine hydrochloride should not be used by patients who are allergic to fluoxetine or any of its components.
  • The physician must be informed about the use of any other type of medication that the patient intends to take in parallel with fluoxetine treatment.
  • Fluoxetine hydrochloride is contraindicated for anyone under 18 years of age.
  • As with other drugs used to treat depression, fluoxetine hydrochloride should be administered with caution to patients with a history of seizures.
  • In patients with diabetes, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) has occurred during fluoxetine hydrochloride therapy and hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) has occurred after discontinuation of the drug. Therefore, the dose of insulin and/or oral hypoglycemic agent should be adjusted when treatment with this drug is established and after its discontinuation.
  • As with other antidepressants, isolated cases of suicidal behavior have been reported during treatment with fluoxetine hydrochloride or after stopping treatment, according to package insert information. Therefore, the physician should be consulted immediately if the patient, regardless of age, reports any suicidal thoughts at any stage of treatment.
  • Fluoxetine hydrochloride should also be used with caution in patients with high intraocular pressure or in those at risk of acute narrow-angle glaucoma (a disease characterized by increased intraocular tension that causes intense eye pain and sudden loss of vision).
  • The safety and efficacy of fluoxetine hydrochloride in children have not yet been established.
  • As a rash or other allergic reaction develops for which a cause cannot be identified, fluoxetine hydrochloride should be discontinued.
  • This medicine can interfere with your ability to judge, think and act. Therefore, during treatment, the patient should not drive a vehicle or operate machinery until he is certain that his performance has not been affected.
  • Use of fluoxetine hydrochloride during pregnancy should only be considered if the benefits of treatment justify the potential risk to the fetus, taking into account the risks of untreated depression.

It is worth mentioning that this information is included in the medication package insert, but all guidelines and care with the use of fluoxetine hydrochloride must be given by the doctor.

Does Fluoxetine Lose Weight?

Weight loss is one of the possible side effects of fluoxetine hydrochloride, which does not mean, however, that the drug should be taken for this purpose (unless this is a medical recommendation).

As already mentioned, the drug is used in cases of depression, bulimia nervosa and obsessive compulsive disorder. And, although it does not act on the hunger control center, it acts on the reuptake of serotonin – an important substance in mood control and in the feeling of well-being, which makes the patient feel more satisfied with their own image and also less anxious.

But it is worth emphasizing that the drug can only be taken according to medical advice. When the goal is exclusively to lose weight, the best way to go is to bet on a low-calorie diet and practice physical exercises regularly, preferably under the supervision of a nutritionist and a physical educator.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. They do not replace the advice and follow-up of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals and other specialists.

Tais Romanelli

Journalist graduated in 2009 (58808/SP), freelance writer since 2013, totally adept at working from home. Communicative, always full of topics to talk about and inspiration to write. Responsible at work and outside of it; dedicated to commitments and the people with whom she lives; in love with family, dogs, home, the sea, moments of tranquility and also excitement.

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