Fluoxetine | anti-depressant medications

Fluoxetine | anti-depressant medications

Fluoxetine is from a group of anti-depressant medications known as serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is only available on a doctor’s prescription.
Class: Antidepressant, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor

Fluoxetine | anti-depressant medications

This medicine is used to treat the following conditions:


• Major depressive episodes

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (is a mental disorder most commonly characterized by intrusive, repetitive thoughts resulting in compulsive behaviours and mental acts that the person feels driven to perform).

• Bulimia nervosa (eating disorder): Fluoxetine 20 mg Capsule is used alongside psychotherapy for the reduction of binge-eating and purging (for example by making themselves vomit, by taking laxatives to get rid of the calories they have eaten).

Children and adolescents aged 8 years and above:

• Moderate to severe major depressive disorder: If the depression does not respond to psychological therapy after 4-6 sessions, Fluoxetine 20 mg Capsule should be offered to a child or young person with moderate to severe major depressive disorder only in combination with psychological therapy.

How Fluoxetine capsule works

Everyone has a substance called serotonin in their brain. People who are depressed or have obsessive compulsive disorder or bulimia nervosa have lower levels of serotonin than others. It is not fully understood how Fluoxetine capsule and other SSRIs work but they may help by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain.

Treating these conditions is important to help you get better. If it’s not treated, your condition may not go away and may become more serious and more difficult to treat. You may need to be treated for a few weeks or months to ensure that you are free from symptoms.

When you must not take it

• If you are allergic to any medicines containing fluoxetine

• Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction may include shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body; rash, itching or hives on the skin.

Do not take Fluoxetine if you are taking another medicine for depression called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) or have been taking a MAOI within the last 14 days. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure as to whether or not you are taking a MAOI. If you do take Fluoxetine while you are taking a MAOI, you may experience shaking (tremor), shivering, muscle stiffness, fever, rapid pulse, rapid breathing or confusion.

Thoughts of suicide and worsening of your depression or anxiety disorder

If you are depressed and/or have anxiety disorders you can sometimes have thoughts of harming or killing yourself. These may be increased when first starting antidepressants, since these medicines all take time to work, usually about two weeks but sometimes longer. You may be more likely to think like this:

• If you have previously had thoughts about killing or harming yourself.

• If you are a young adult. Information from clinical trials has shown an increased risk of suicidal behaviour in adults aged less than 25 years with psychiatric conditions who were treated with an antidepressant. If you have thoughts of harming or killing yourself at any time, contact your doctor or go to a hospital straight away.

Children and adolescents aged 8 to 18 years:

• Patients under 18 have an increased risk of side-effects such as suicide attempt, suicidal thoughts and hostility (predominantly aggression, oppositional behaviour and anger) when they take this class of medicines.

• Fluoxetine Capsule should only be used in children and adolescents aged 8 to 18 years for the treatment of moderate to severe major depressive episodes (in combination with psychological therapy) and it should not be used to treat other conditions.

• Additionally, only limited information concerning the long-term safety of Fluoxetine Capsules on growth, puberty, mental, emotional and behavioural development in this age group is available. 

Despite this, your doctor may prescribe Fluoxetine Capsule for patients under 18 for moderate to severe major depressive episodes in combination with psychological therapy because he/she decides that this is in your best interests.

• If your doctor has prescribed Fluoxetine Capsules for a patient under 18 and you want to discuss this, please go back to your doctor. You should inform your doctor if any of the symptoms listed above develop or worsen when patients under 18 are taking Fluoxetine Capsules.

Fluoxetine is excreted in breast milk and can cause side effects in babies. You should only breast-feed if it is clearly necessary. If breast-feeding is continued, your doctor may prescribe a lower dose of fluoxetine.


Fluoxetine has been shown to reduce the quality of sperm in animal studies. Theoretically, this could affect fertility, but impact on human fertility has not been observed as yet.

Driving and using machines:
Your medicine can affect your judgement or co-ordination. Do not drive or use machinery without advice from your doctor or pharmacist.

Make sure your midwife and/or doctor know you are on Fluoxetine Capsules. When taken during pregnancy, particularly in the last 3 months of pregnancy, medicines like Fluoxetine Capsules may increase the risk of a serious condition in babies, called persistent pulmonary hypertension of the new born (PPHN), making the baby breathe faster and appear bluish. These symptoms usually begin during the first 24 hours after the baby is born. If this happens to your baby you should contact your midwife and/or doctor immediately.

In babies whose mothers took Fluoxetine Capsules during the first few months of pregnancy, there have been some reports showing an increased risk of birth defects, in particular those affecting the heart. In the general population, about 1 in 100 babies are born with a heart defect. This increased to about 2 in 100 babies in mothers who took Fluoxetine Capsules.


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