Prozac (fluoxetine) is from a class of medicines called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Usually the drug is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, some eating disorders, and panic attacks. It is also used off-label to treat fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS). Fluoxetine may need to be taken for several weeks before seeing an effect.
Some studies have suggested that fluoxetine may also play a role in reducing inflammation around nerves in MS. Fluoxetine is currently part of a three-drug clinical trial (NCT01910259) to evaluate if any of three leading neuroprotective drugs (fluoxetine, riluzole, or amiloride) can slow the rate of brain volume loss in SPMS (secondary progressive MS) over 96 weeks.
The list of common fluoxetine side effects is long. Patients may experience sleep problems (insomnia), strange dreams, headache, dizziness, vision changes, tremors or shaking, anxiety or nervousness, pain, weakness, yawning, tired feeling, upset stomach, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dry mouth, sweating, hot flashes, changes in weight or appetite, stuffy nose, sinus pain, sore throat, flu symptoms, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty reaching orgasm.
The medicine comes with a black box warning on the prescription label that calls attention to serious or life-threatening risks. Prozac can increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, teenagers, and young adults with major depressive and other psychiatric disorders, especially during the first months of therapy or following changes in dosage.
Fluoxetine properties are linked to the inhibition of serotonin uptake in neurons of the central nervous system.
Generic drugs are available for Prozac.
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