Fluoxetine is used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, a certain eating disorder (bulimia), and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).
This medication may improve your mood, sleep, appetite, and energy level and may help restore your interest in daily living. It may decrease fear, anxiety, unwanted thoughts, and the number of panic attacks. It may also reduce the urge to perform repeated tasks (compulsions such as hand-washing, counting, and checking) that interfere with daily living. Fluoxetine may lessen premenstrual symptoms such as irritability, increased appetite, and depression. It may decrease binging and purging behaviors in bulimia.
Antidepressant medications are used to treat a variety of conditions, including depression and other mental/mood disorders. These medications can help prevent suicidal thoughts/attempts and provide other important benefits. However, studies have shown that a small number of people (especially people younger than 25) who take antidepressants for any condition may experience worsening depression, other mental/mood symptoms, or suicidal thoughts/attempts. Therefore, it is very important to talk with the doctor about the risks and benefits of antidepressant medication (especially for people younger than 25), even if treatment is not for a mental/mood condition.
Tell the doctor right away if you notice worsening depression/other psychiatric conditions, unusual behavior changes (including possible suicidal thoughts/attempts), or other mental/mood changes (including new/worsening anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, irritability, hostile/angry feelings, impulsive actions, severe restlessness, very rapid speech). Be especially watchful for these symptoms when a new antidepressant is started or when the dose is changed.
This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This drug may also be used for other eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder-BED), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), certain nervous system/sleep disorders (cataplexy, narcolepsy), or hot flashes that occur with menopause.
How to Use This Medication
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using fluoxetine and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily in the morning. If you are taking this medication twice a day, your doctor may direct you to take it in the morning and at noon.
If you are taking fluoxetine for premenstrual problems, your doctor may direct you to take it every day of the month or just for the 2 weeks before your period through the first full day of your period. To help you remember, mark your calendar.
If you are using the liquid form of this medication, measure the dose carefully using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
It is important to continue taking this medication as prescribed even if you feel well. Do not stop taking this medication without first consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is abruptly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
You should see some improvement in 1 to 2 weeks. It may take 4 to 5 weeks before you feel the full benefit.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.