Prozac is a brand name for the prescription drug fluoxetine, which is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bulimia nervosa, and panic disorder. Prozac is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Prozac for sale in 1987.
Prozac is taken by mouth, with or without food, as prescribed by your healthcare professional. Take the weekly version of Prozac only once a week. Do not start taking the weekly version of Prozac until 7 days after you've taken the last dose of the daily Prozac.
Prozac FDA Alert - Serotonin Syndrome
In July 2006, the FDA issued an alert that a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome can occur when SSRIs like Prozac or Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) are taken with triptans. Triptans are also called 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonists. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- Loss of coordination
- Fast heartbeat
- Increased body temperature
- Fast changes in blood pressure
- Overactive reflexes
- Nausea and vomiting
If you take migraine headache medicines, ask your healthcare professional if your medicine is a triptan.
FDA Alert - Antidepressants and Pregnant Women
Also in July 2006, an FDA alert cautioned that women who use antidepressant medicines during pregnancy can put their babies at risk for persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). Babies born with PPHN have abnormal blood flow through the heart and lungs, so their bodies do not receive enough oxygen. Babies with PPHN can be very sick and may die. Talk to your doctor if you are taking Prozac and are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and he or she can determine the best way to treat your depression during pregnancy.
Prozac and Increased Risk of Suicidality
In October 2004, the FDA directed all antidepressant manufacturers to revise their product labeling to include warning statements about an increased risk of suicidality in children and adolescents being treated with these medications. Eli Lilly and Company has since added a black box warning to Prozac prescribing information.
In June 2005, the FDA announced that there may be an increased risk for suicidality in adults being treated with antidepressant medications and advised that adults taking antidepressants should be watched closely for worsening depression and increased suicidality. Monitoring is especially important when medication doses are increased or decreased.
Who Should Not Take Prozac?
Never take Prozac if you are taking a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) or you have stopped taking an MAOI in the last 14 days. Taking Prozac and an MAOI can result in serious and sometimes fatal reactions, including high body temperature, seizures or convulsions, and coma. After you stop taking Prozac you should not take an MAOI for 5 weeks.
Never take Prozac if you are taking Mellaril (thioridazine), a drug used to treat schizophrenia. Do not take Mellaril within 5 weeks of stopping Prozac. Taking Prozac and Mellaril within a close period of time can result in serious heartbeat problems.
Prozac Health Risks
Health risks associated with Prozac use include:
- Possible development of serotonin syndrome when Prozac is taken with triptan medicines
- Infant persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN)
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Possible allergic reactions such as skin rash, hives, breathing problems, or swelling of the tongue, lips, or throat
- Bleeding Problems
- Mania (becoming unusually hyperactive, excitable, or elated)
- Seizures or convulsions, even if not taken within a close period of time with a MAOI
- Problems if you are or may become pregnant; babies delivered to mothers taking Prozac late in pregnancy have developed problems, such as difficulty breathing and feeding
- Weight loss
- Sexual problems, including impotence (erectile dysfunction), abnormal ejaculation, difficulty reaching orgasm, or decreased libido (sexual desire)
Other side effects from Prozac use may include:
- Difficulty sleeping
Do not stop taking Prozac suddenly. Doing so may result in harmful side effects. Your healthcare professional should slowly decrease your dose.
Can Other Medicines or Food Affect Prozac?
Prozac and other medicines can interact with each other. Tell your healthcare professional about all the medicines you take, including vitamins, herbs, and non-prescriptions drugs. Prozac should not be taken with medications that:
- Affect bleeding
- Treat diabetes, seizures, anxiety, mental illness, or depression
However, these are not the only medications which react with Prozac, so be certain to speak with your doctor about everything you take. Never take Prozac with Sarafem (Prozac hydrochloride), a drug used to treat PreMenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). These drugs are very similar and could result in an overdose. In addition, If you plan to drink alcohol when taking Prozac, talk to your healthcare professional.
Prozac - Getting Legal Help
Drug manufacturers have a legal duty to make their products as reasonably safe as possible, and to inform the medical community and the public of known risks associated with their drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held legally responsible for any injuries that result. These types of lawsuits are generally brought under a legal theory known as "product liability."
If you or a loved one have experienced any dangerous symptoms or unusual medical conditions related to Prozac use, you should first contact your doctor or other healthcare professional. It's also in your best interests to consult with a product liability or medical malpractice attorney to learn more about your legal options.