Fluoxetine Side Effects in Females: Fluoxetine (Prozac) was so popular after its 1988 debut that it inspired not one but two bestselling books: Listen to Prozac and Prozac Nation (which was turned into a movie starring Christina Ricci).
It was the first SSRI, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, approved by the Federal Drug Administration, and 20 years later, Prozac is still one of the top five psychiatric drugs prescribed to American adults dealing with depression and anxiety.
While most SSRIs are safe and easily tolerated, they are still psychoactive drugs – so yes, there are Prozac side effects you should know about.
Fluoxetine Side Effects in Females-If you decide to try Prozac to manage your depression or anxiety, keep an eye out for these side effects.
1. GI Distress
“By far the most common side effects of Prozac are gastrointestinal, mostly nausea and diarrhea,” Hermann says. Fun fact: “There are actually more cells with serotonin receptors in your gut than there are in the brain, and since Prozac works on the serotonin system, this area can be sensitive to having more serotonin around.” These side effects tend to occur early in treatment and can be minimized by starting with a low dose or taking the medications with food.
2. Changes in Arousal
No, we’re not talking about sex – yet. “Some people taking SSRIs for the first time may feel a little tired or sedated at first, or conversely, they may be restless or jittery,” Morrow says. “It mainly occurs when the neurotransmitters in the brain get used to being exposed to something new.” Again, starting at a low dose can help alleviate this side effect.
3. Suicidal ideation
Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are meant to help you feel better, but in some people, they can increase depressive thoughts. “The FDA has issued a black box warning — their most stringent warning — that antidepressants can actually increase suicidal ideation in young adults and adults. Yes, that’s rare, but if you’re going to the doctor because of depression and it’s The medicine is making you feel worse, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
4. Sexual side effects
These side effects tend to appear once you’ve taken a steady dose – and the higher the dose, the more likely you are to experience them. “Whether you’re a man or a woman, the gradient can go through: decreased libido, decreased genital sensations, ED, difficulty reaching orgasm,” Hermann says. “We’re not quite sure why this happens, and anxiety and depression affect sexual performance and sexual interest, so it can be hard to tell if it’s the mental disorder or the medication responsible.” However, talk to your doctor if your sex drive takes the plunge.
5. Serotonin Syndrome
This is a rare side effect of drugs that act on serotonin, such as Prozac, but can occur if you take more than one drug that affects serotonin levels – which can overburden your system. “With serotonin syndrome, you will have symptoms such as fever, agitation, increased reflexes, tremors, sweating, dilated pupils, diarrhea, and you will likely have to go to the emergency room,” Hermann says.
Read also: Orgasm Disorder: What can cause orgasm problems in women
6. Changes in weight or appetite
A study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that people taking Prozac gained an average of one and a half pounds over a year of taking the drug.
7. Low levels of sodium
“When you use any SSRI, the medication can cause your kidneys to excrete more sodium,” Hermann says. “This can lead to symptoms such as headache, confusion, slurred speech, and general weakness.” She recommends that anyone who takes antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications have at least annual blood tests to check their electrolyte levels.
8. Trouble sleeping
Like most SSRIs, Prozac can have an effect on sleep quality. “Anytime you take a drug that affects the brain, there is the potential for changes in arousal,” Morrow says. This can manifest as abnormal dreams, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or even night sweats.
9. Increased or unusual bruising or bleeding
“Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can affect the way platelets collect to stop bleeding in some people,” Morrow says. This is almost not found in the general population, but there is a risk of bleeding more easily while taking Prozac. This is more likely to happen in older patients, Morrow says — but if you notice more bruising than usual or cuts that won’t stop bleeding, you should definitely bring it to your doctor’s attention.