Prozac (fluoxetine) is an antidepressant used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, panic attacks, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. The US Food and Drug Administration approved the drug in 1987 as a treatment for eligible children, adolescents, and adults.
As of writing this article, Prozac is one of the most prescribed antidepressants in the US, along with Citalopram, Sertraline, Paroxetine, and Escitalopram.
Being a prescribed medicine, you need a doctor’s go-ahead to actually start taking Prozac. And even if you get that okay, there are several things you need to consider when taking this medicine. This way, you can get the most benefit from it while reducing the risk of unpleasant side effects.
That said, let us now take an in-depth look at the vital considerations about alcohol and Prozac:
Do You Drink? Do Not Mix Alcohol and Prozac
Mixing alcohol and Prozac can put your health at serious risk. Both substances interfere with coordinated movement and alertness, so taking them together leads to increased sedation.
Accordingly, downing even one alcoholic drink when taking Prozac can cause a severe case of drowsiness, exposing you to risky situations like impaired driving, likeliness to fall, etc.
Besides, mixing Prozac and alcohol leads to other side effects, namely:
- Sudden fatigue and weakness
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Suicidal ideas
If nothing else, alcohol also bars Prozac from functioning correctly. As a result, it keeps you from realizing the real benefit of the medication, sometimes worsening your situation.
Do You Have Allergies?
If you have allergic reactions when taking Prozac, it is best to talk to your doctor. You can tell you are experiencing an allergic reaction if you notice a rash or swelling of the face, eyes, or mouth, or trouble breathing after taking the drug.
Talk to your doctor as well if you have an allergic reaction to other things, for example, foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals, when taking Prozac.
Are You Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
You need to ascertain whether you are pregnant or not when taking Prozac because the drug can be passed to your baby during pregnancy. Prozac can also get into your baby’s system if you breastfeed it when taking the medication.
If you are pregnant when taking Prozac, your doctor will only recommend sticking to your dose after determining that the benefits to your health outweigh the risk to the fetus.
Taking Prozac during your pregnancy’s last half increases the risk of an uncommon heart and lung condition referred to as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). However, this is not conclusive because of differing results across several studies.
How Old Are You?
Prozac comes with a black box bearing a disclaimer that it may exacerbate the risk of suicide in patients below the age of 25. This medication can trigger suicidal ideas or increase their frequency and intensity in these people.
As such, if you fall into this group, it is best to be monitored by the doctor administering the prescription. It is especially necessary to ask them to keep their eyes on you during the early phases of taking Prozac.
People aged 65 years or above should also consult their doctors when taking Prozac. These elderly patients tend to have hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood) than younger adults, so they may need their Prozac dosage adjusted.
Ultimately, due diligence with age ensures that the drug’s safety and effectiveness can be maintained.
Are You Taking Other Drugs?
Prozac may interact with various drugs, decreasing its effect, affecting how long it works, or exacerbating side effects. On the extreme side, these interactions can lead to severe side effects like internal bleeding, seizures, and abnormal heart rhythms.
Even so, there are instances when you have to take Prozac with other medicines, even if an interaction might occur. Your medical expert may modify your dosage or implement other necessary precautions in such a scenario.
It is essential that your doctor knows every medication you are on when taking Prozac. This way, they can recommend the best course of action to ensure your health is not at risk.
Let us look at examples of serious drug interactions.
- When you take Prozac with drugs that affect hemostasis, such as NSAIDs, aspirin, and warfarin, you increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
- When you take Prozac with serotonergic medicines such as tricyclic antidepressants and fentanyl, you have a higher risk of serotonin syndrome. Signs of this condition include fever, sweating, tremor, and agitation.
- Taking Prozac with Pimozide and Thioridazine heightens the risk of severe heart arrhythmias and sudden death.
Do You Have Diabetes?
Diabetes is yet another important consideration when taking Prozac. As a person with diabetes, Prozac intake can make it hard for your body to stabilize your blood sugar. To be safe, talk to your doctor and heed their recommendations.
Often, they will suggest that you keep tabs on your blood sugar level, especially during the first weeks of Prozac medication. This way, it becomes easier to tweak your diabetes dosage.
What Is Your Lifestyle Like?
It is important to check your overall lifestyle when taking Prozac. If your job involves driving or operating machinery, you might have to change things because Prozac impairs your judgment or makes you sleepy.
If you move about from place to place for work and have another medical condition, for example, diabetes, you also need to be careful when taking Prozac. In this case, follow your doctor’s recommendations to reduce the health risk.
Final Thoughts on Things to Consider When Taking Prozac
As you can see, there are many things to consider when taking Prozac, and all that boils down to the potency of the drug and its significant impact on your health and life. Presently, adults can take Prozac for depression, OCD, and bulimia, among other diseases.
Even so, patients who can actually take it issue-free make up only a fraction of all adults. For this reason, you need to get a prescription from the doctor and follow their recommendations when taking Prozac. The same goes for children aged eight and over.