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fluoxetine (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking fluoxetine (Prozac, Prozac Weekly, Rapiflux, Sarafem, Selfemra)?

Do not use fluoxetine if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • pimozide (Orap);
  • thioridazine (Mellaril); or
  • an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate).

Serious and sometimes fatal reactions can occur when these medicines are taken with fluoxetine. You must wait at least 14 days after stopping an MAO inhibitor before you can take fluoxetine. You must wait 5 weeks after stopping fluoxetine before you can take thioridazine (Mellaril) or an MAOI.

To make sure you can safely take fluoxetine, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

You may have thoughts about suicide while taking an antidepressant, especially if you are younger than 24 years old. Tell your doctor if you have worsening depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several weeks of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.

Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits for at least the first 12 weeks of treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may cause serious lung problems in a newborn if you take the medication during pregnancy. However, you may have a relapse of depression if you stop taking your antidepressant during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking fluoxetine, do not stop taking the medication without first talking to your doctor.

Fluoxetine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give fluoxetine to anyone younger than 18 years old without a doctor's advice.

How should I take fluoxetine (Prozac, Prozac Weekly, Rapiflux, Sarafem, Selfemra)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

Do not crush, chew, break, or open an extended-release capsule. Swallow it whole. Breaking or opening the pill may cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.

Measure liquid medicine with a special dose measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

It may take 4 weeks or longer before you start feeling better. Do not stop using fluoxetine without first talking to your doctor. You may have unpleasant side effects if you stop taking this medication suddenly.

To treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder, the usual dose of fluoxetine is once daily while you are having your period, or 14 days before you expect your period to start. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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