Fluoxetine hydrochloride is the first agent of the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Fluoxetine is a racemic mixture of the R- and S- enantiomers and are of equivalent pharmacologic activity. Despite distinct structural differences between compounds in this class, SSRIs possess similar pharmacological activity. As with other antidepressant agents, several weeks of therapy may be required before a clinical effect is seen. SSRIs are potent inhibitors of neuronal serotonin reuptake.
They have little to no effect on norepinephrine or dopamine reuptake and do not antagonize α- or β-adrenergic, dopamine D2 or histamine H1 receptors. During acute use, SSRIs block serotonin reuptake and increase serotonin stimulation of somatodendritic 5-HT1A and terminal autoreceptors. Chronic use leads to desensitization of somatodendritic 5-HT1A and terminal autoreceptors. The overall clinical effect of increased mood and decreased anxiety is thought to be due to adaptive changes in neuronal function that leads to enhanced serotonergic neurotransmission.
Fluoxetine is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (bothersome thoughts that won’t go away and the need to perform certain actions over and over), some eating disorders, and panic attacks (sudden, unexpected attacks of extreme fear and worry about these attacks). Fluoxetine is used to relieve the symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, including mood swings, irritability, bloating, and breast tenderness.
It is also used along with olanzapine to treat depression that did not respond to other medications and episodes of depression in people with bipolar I disorder (manic-depressive disorder; a disease that causes episodes of depression, episodes of mania, and other abnormal moods). Fluoxetine is in a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It works by increasing the amount of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance.
Fluoxetine is also sometimes used to treat alcoholism, attention-deficit disorder, borderline personality disorder, sleep disorders, headaches, mental illness, posttraumatic stress disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, obesity, sexual problems, and phobias. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
In children and adolescents, fluoxetine is the antidepressant of choice due to tentative evidence favoring its efficacy and tolerability. In pregnancy, fluoxetine is considered a category C drug by the USA FDA. Evidence supporting an increased risk of major fetal malformations resulting from fluoxetine exposure is limited, although the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) of the UK has warned prescribers and patients of the potential for fluoxetine exposure in the first trimester (during organogenesis, formation of the fetal organs) to cause a slight increase in the risk of congenital cardiac malformations in the newborn.
Furthermore, an association between fluoxetine use during the first trimester and an increased risk of minor fetal malformations was observed in one study.
Side effects and adverse effects
Symptoms of overdose include agitation, restlessness, hypomania, and other signs of CNS excitation. LD50=284mg/kg (orally in mice). The most frequent side effects include: nervous system effects such as anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, drowsiness, fatigue or asthenia, tremor, and dizziness or lightheadedness; GI effects such as anorexia, nausea, and diarrhea; vasodilation; dry mouth; abnormal vision; decreased libido; abnormal ejaculation; rash; and sweating.
Withdrawal symptoms include flu-like symptoms, insomnia, nausea, imbalance, sensory changes and hyperactivity.