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What Is Fluvoxamine Maleate?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Fluvoxamine maleate is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), also known by its trade name Luvox®. This SSRI represents the first departure from tricyclic antidepressants (TCA) and was developed in the early 1980s. In places like the US it wasn’t approved for use until the early 1990s. Ordinarily, this SSRI is not a first choice for depression because its side effect profile is slightly higher than the SSRIs like Prozac® that are newer. The medication is still of benefit and has shown particular use in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder, and these uses are recognized by agencies like the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

By stating that Luvox® is a reuptake inhibitor of serotonin, what is typically meant is that the drug prevents the body from overusing its serotonin supplies. Allowing more free serotonin to circulate is considered beneficial in controlling both depression and anxiety because serotonin promotes calm. This means fluvoxamine maleate and other SSRIs can be useful for a variety of disorders, and Luvox® tends to be most prescribed for a number of the anxiety disorders and, secondarily, for depression. It can take time to work effectively: typically at least two to six weeks. The medication is equally beneficial for all people for all conditions.

Dosage of fluvoxamine maleate varies depending on whether it is administered to adults or children, and by the type of condition. A typical therapeutic range for all ages is approximately 100-300 mg, though the drug is introduced at lower doses. Dose is often determined by patient response, and the lowest effective amount is used. The drug is most often delivered in capsule or pill form.

Luvox® has benign and serious side effects that aren’t experienced by all users. Sexual dysfunction side effects are fairly common and other benign side effects are dry mouth, weight gain/loss, stomach upset or changes in bowel movements, nausea, difficulty sleeping, and vivid dreaming. Additionally, fluvoxamine maleate affects how the body treats caffeine and significantly increases caffeine’s half-life in the body, which may relate to the side effect of insomnia and definitely means that caffeine users should limit intake.

Serious side effects associated with fluvoxamine maleate need immediate medical attention if they occur. They include increases in suicidal ideation, which may be of most risk in teen and young adult populations, allergic or anaphylactic shock response, increased anxiety, mania/hypomania, fainting spells, hallucinations, reduced memory and concentration skills, or a combination of perspiration, fast breathing, increased or decreased heartbeat, and a sense of confusion. Medical attention is certainly required for any of these states, but patients should also report any of the benign side effects that are bothersome.

There are numerous medications that shouldn’t be taken with fluvoxamine maleate, and doctors should have a complete list of patient medications before prescribing Luvox®. Certain conditions contraindicate Luvox®, too. Among these is pregnancy, since most SSRIs are now viewed as very harmful to the developing fetus.

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Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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