We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Prozac®?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Prozac® is a medication first introduced in the 1980s by the company Eli Lilly®. It is an antidepressant that belongs to the class of medications called selected serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which help to free up serotonin in the body and can regulate mood. SSRIs were designed as a replacement for other antidepressants called tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) that worked in similar ways but had a heavy side effect profile. Many people hailed the advent of Prozac® and other SSRIs because they seemed as effective in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including major depression, and panic disorder without as many side effects. In particular, Prozac® (also available in generic form as fluoxetine) has been shown to be effective for some people in treating not only the above disorders but also obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, and premenstrual dysmorphic disorder.

It’s important to understand that each person’s response to Prozac® will be different. For some people, it is a miracle drug that begins to alleviate symptoms of depression or other illness within a few weeks of starting treatment. Others may have no or very limited response to the medication. Usually people can expect some relief from symptoms within about three to six weeks of starting the drug, but doses may need to be increased for full effect, or sometimes it simply won’t work. In this case, another antidepressant may be more appropriate.

There are some extremely serious side effects associated with fluoxetine. Especially in children, teens and young adults it can cause or increase suicidality. This needs to be watched very carefully in people prescribed Prozac®. If an increase in suicidal behavior, thoughts or feelings occurs, this should be immediately reported to the prescribing physician. Other dangerous side effects that may occur include blistering of the skin, extreme headache, confusion, high fever, vomiting or diarrhea, muscle rigidity and rapid heart rate. These symptoms require immediate medical care.

Many people who take Prozac® won’t have dangerous reactions to it, but they can have side effects that usually occur when the medication is first taken, and then recede over time. Some early side effects include stomach upset, changes in weight (up or down), trouble sleeping, cold-like symptoms, and dry mouth. A few people have difficulties with fluoxetine because it may cause disinterest in sex, reduced libido, difficulty maintaining erections or difficulty achieving orgasm. Not everyone will have all of the side effects, and some will have few to none.

There are medications that can conflict with fluoxetine, and it’s best to check all medications with a doctor before accepting a prescription for this drug. Some medications like monoamine oxidase inhibitors may pose special risk when combined with Prozac®. Care must be taken when people take the medication with other drugs that can raise serotonin levels because this can risk serotonin syndrome, which creates toxic serotonin levels in the body.

When doctors prescribe this medication, patients should listen carefully to instructions. They should not stop or increase the dose except under a doctor’s guidance. Fluoxetine should also not be shared with others, and no one should take this medication unless a physician prescribes it.

An unusual syndrome associated with this medication is called “prozac poop—out.” This occurs after the medication has worked successfully for some time, but suddenly stops working. Actually, many medications may have a similar “poop-out” factor. It may mean that dose needs to be adjusted or that another SSRI will be more appropriate for treatment. Sometimes people are able to return to fluoxetine after taking a break from it by using another SSRI, and it becomes fully effective again.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
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.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.