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Understanding fluoxetine

Fluoxetine is the anti depressant drug that is sold by different trade names such as Prozac, Ladose, Fontex, and Sarafem. It is not only used to treat depression, but eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa as well as panic and premenstrual dysphoric disorders. Like any other drug, it pays to take precautionary measures such as learning of fluoxetine's side effects and restrictions.

All about the drug

Anyone can suffer from the effects of depression due to several causes whether it is the loss of a loved one, break ups or failure to cope with devastating life moments. Overall, fluoxetine was widely used in clinical trials to treat depression and other post-traumatic stress disorder. A recent trial revealed the drug is also effective in the treatment of bipolar II disorder in place of lithium to stabilise moods.

  • Delivery

Fluoxetine is a medication based on prescription only. If your doctor has prescribed the drug, you can take it through the oral route. It is available in 20 mg capsules or as 20mg/5ml oral solution.

  • Target groups

Your doctor will not allow you take the drug if you are allergic to any of the components of the medicine. Also, children below 8 years and the elderly are not eligible for prescription. Those with epilepsy, diabetes, kidney and liver problems should not take the drug. Patients who are undergoing electro convulsive therapy and who are at risk for developing heart problems may not be given fluoxetine.

  • Side effects

As with any drug or medication, Fluoxetine has its share of side effects such as the following:

* Sexual dysfunction

* Nausea

* Insomnia

* Somnolence

* Anorexia

* Anxiety

* Tremor

* Rash

* Restlessness

  • Pregnancy and lactation

Pregnant women should not take Fluoxetine because it affects the baby’s adaptation once born. In addition, the drug finds its way in the breast milk. According to studies, contaminated milk may make babies depressive and anxious.

Withdrawal or discontinuation of the drug

Although some literature describe withdrawal symptoms of Fluoxetine as severe, equally, there are various studies which show that the side effects from discontinuation of the drug are minimal and mild. This is attributed to the possible long ‘pharmacological half-life of the drug.’ Hence, one of the recommended strategies to ease withdrawal is to substitute Fluoxetine as the original agent.

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