Last Updated on July 29, 2021 by
Last Updated on July 29, 2021 by
Prozac withdrawal should be done slowly, not all at once due to the overwhelming reactions that may ensue. Prozac or fluoxetine has a relative long half-life, and this may allow for easier withdrawal than other antidepressants with a shorter half-life. However, each person has a unique health profile, and reactions differ from person to person.3,19 Prozac addiction or abuse has been reported as a small but growing concern in the medical literature.8 However, dependence is much more frequently observed, resulting in adverse withdrawal effects. A 2017 review of prescriptions in Germany found SSRIs to be the most commonly prescribed psychiatric drug across the country.10 And, a study out of Denmark showed that the majority of medical advice hotline calls had to do with questions relating to antidepressant withdrawal symptoms.11
Some persons will experience mild symptoms, while others may find the withdrawals compare to or surpass the level of discomfort associated with coming off benzodiazepines, according to a massive review of medical literature by Offidani and associates, published in the 2013 Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.12 A set of 53 withdrawal symptoms associated with antidepressant withdrawal was compiled by Black et al, published in the 2000 Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience.13 The most common Prozac withdrawals are listed below. Always seek medical oversight for Prozac withdrawal for your health and safety.
Prozac can have extraordinary side effects and debilitating withdrawal characteristics for certain persons. Disturbingly, these patients tend to get disregarded and minimized for their very real suffering.
Prozac© withdrawal can be safely done but must be done gradually and can be greatly eased with adequate support during the process. There are strategic ways to build the neurochemistry naturally so as to properly brace for the withdrawal process
According to recent statistics, Prozac is once again poised among the top three most prescribed antidepressant drugs in the world. Statista reported 24,961,000 Prozac prescriptions were written in the US alone in 2011-2012.1 Despite sagging sales pre-pandemic, the numbers have again spiked for antidepressants and other pharmaceutical drugs at an astounding 34% rise according to 2020 Marketwatch figures.26 Prozac is an antidepressant drug in the class called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Prozac affects certain natural chemicals that are designed to regulate brain function, the digestive system, hormone activation or suppression, body temperature, mood and emotional response, and a million other components of the human body. A theory was launched that depressed persons have a deficiency in serotonin and a new era of drugs was born to respond to this condition. However, the “serotonin theory” has been largely discredited,15,16,17 despite the successful marketing of SSRI drugs, capturing billions of dollars each year for the ongoing sales campaign.
In 2017 the National Center for Health Statistics reported that 13% of all US citizens 12 years of age and older took antidepressants.4 Just as alarming, teen suicides have also risen by 50% in the last decade.27 Many such antidepressants were originally approved only after short-term studies that did not include long-term efficacy or safety. According to a comprehensive review of clinical data by Danborg et al, the benefits of SSRI use have been exaggerated by short-term trials, and the harms of long-term SSRIs have been underestimated and are largely unknown. All authors in the review concluded there were no documented long-term beneficial outcomes after long-term use of SSRIs.16
SSRIs are prescribed to children 8 and older and adults for major depressive disorder, for children age 7 and older, and adults diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder in the adult population.7 With surprising clarity, the DSM-5 clearly delineates the critical importance of assessment in carefully selecting persons who may or may not be good candidates for SSRI drugs.2
While an ever-growing number of doctors and nurse practitioners are legally able to prescribe medications, it remains essential for consumers to practice due diligence in fully researching a drug and possible useful adjunctive therapies for treating depression in all age categories, before either beginning or ending a prescription drug. For those who have decided to stop taking Prozac, medical oversight is strongly advised. Alternative to Meds Center has designed programs using non-harmful, effective techniques and implements educational components that teach clients and practitioners alike how to get off Prozac safely and as comfortably as possible.
Below you will find some information that may be useful for such research, covering frequently asked questions, concerns, side effects, and additional data. Also below is more information on Prozac alternative treatment, stopping Prozac safely, and more. Please contact us to provide more information on these or other topics by request.
When Prozac side effects become hard to tolerate or seem to outweigh the benefits of the drug, a person may decide to stop taking Prozac. Prozac cessation should be gradual.
Always seek medical assistance from your doctor, or a competent and licensed health practitioner to get guidance on how to get off Prozac safely. Alternative to Meds Center specializes in Prozac withdrawal treatment and other programs to achieve mental health naturally. Stopping Prozac can be done surprisingly gently and comfortably with the correct protocols and support in place.
SSRI drugs such as Prozac are used in treating MDD (major depressive disorder). There are about half a dozen SSRIs that the FDA has approved for treating depression, each having similar characteristics and efficacy. Prozac is the one that remains approved for prescribing to young people, and that is possibly why the number of Prozac prescriptions tends to outweigh the other drugs in this class. Prozac alternative treatments are available but sadly ignored in the main by doctors and others who may not have been trained in such methods, using non-drug-based protocols.
According to various psychiatric associations around the world, pharmacological solutions are not always the recommended first line of defense. For example, often the recommendation of psychotherapy is shown to work where prescribed antidepressants are much less effective. For example, two-thirds of adolescents who were prescribed antidepressants reported relapse phenomena after completing a course of SSRI treatment in the absence of psychotherapy.3
One type of “talk therapy” found effective for the treatment of depression is called CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy. There are many forms of CBT that can be explored, including these:
Cognitive restructuring: involves identifying irrational beliefs or negative automatic thoughts or assumptions and replacing those with more positive and realistic thoughts and conclusions.
Behavioral Activation: creating strategies that support and explore pleasurable experiences; this may motivate and overcome those aspects of inertia or avoidance that are often associated with depression.
Problem-solving collaboration: engaging with a skillful therapist can foster new ways to solve old problems.
Between therapy sessions: assigned “homework” to be done between sessions can provide meaningful opportunities to put into practice newly discovered ways of addressing challenges that may instill a sense of tangible and demonstrated progress.
Prozac is the brand name for fluoxetine hydrochloride, the active main ingredient. Slang or street names for Prozac are:
Prozac has become a slang word itself, according to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, where the definition for Prozac used as an adjective to describe “someone lively and excited.”
The most troubling side effect for Prozac is the increased risk of suicide, and unexpected episodes of rage or violence, especially in the initial period of starting to take the drug.20-25
Some people do not report any Prozac side effects or report only mild reactions. Others experience a range of adverse effects from mild to moderate to severe. Such reactions may lead to a decision to begin a program of getting off Prozac. For those considering Prozac cessation, a Prozac taper should only be attempted with medical help and guidance.
Below is some information regarding some frequently asked questions about Prozac and some of the characteristics of the drug.
Ask your doctor if you have more questions about Prozac such as when to take it, if you have concerns about side effects, if you feel your dosage needs to be changed, and whether to consider Prozac withdrawal. These are important questions requiring qualified medical advice.
2. Hillhouse TM, Porter JH “A brief history of the development of antidepressant drugs: From monoamines to glutamate” US National Library of Medicine, 2016 Feb 1
3. Van Voorhees BW MD MPH, Smith S PhD, Ewigman B MD MSPH “Treat depressed teens with medication and psychotherapy” US National Library of Medicine, 2008 Nov
4. CDC Index
5. Stevens DL “Chronic fatigue” US National Library of Medicine, 2001 Nov
7. FDA label Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride) 1987 [online] [cited 2021 Jun 14]
8. Evans EA, Sullivan MA. Abuse and misuse of antidepressants. Subst Abuse Rehabil. 2014 Aug 14;5:107-20. doi: 10.2147/SAR.S37917. PMID: 25187753; PMCID: PMC4140701. [cited 2021 Jun 14]
9. Wilson E, Lader M. A review of the management of antidepressant discontinuation symptoms. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2015;5(6):357-368. doi:10.1177/2045125315612334 [cited 2021 Jun 14]
10. Henssler J, Heinz A, Brandt L, Bschor T. Antidepressant Withdrawal and Rebound Phenomena. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2019;116(20):355-361. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2019.0355 [cited 2021 Jun 14]
11. Van Geffen EC, Brugman M, Van Hulten R, Bouvy ML, Egberts AC, Heerdink ER. Patients‘ concerns about and problems experienced with discontinuation of antidepressants. Int J Pharm Pract. 2007;15:291–293. [cited 2021 Jun 14]
12. Offidani E, Guidi J, Tomba E, Fava GA. Efficacy and tolerability of benzodiazepines versus antidepressants in anxiety disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychother Psychosom. 2013;82(6):355-62. doi: 10.1159/000353198. Epub 2013 Sep 20. PMID: 24061211. [cited 2021 Jun 14]
13. Black K, Shea C, Dursun S, Kutcher S. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor discontinuation syndrome: proposed diagnostic criteria. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2000 May;25(3):255-61. PMID: 10863885; PMCID: PMC1407715. [cited 2021 Jun 14]
14. Lane RM. SSRI-induced extrapyramidal side-effects and akathisia: implications for treatment. J Psychopharmacol. 1998;12(2):192-214. doi: 10.1177/026988119801200212. PMID: 9694033. [cited 2021 Jun 14]
15. Lacasse JR, “Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature.” PLOS Medicine 2005 Dec; 2(12): e392 [online] cited [2021 Jun 14]
16. Danborg PB, Valdersdorf M, Gøtzsche PC. Long-term harms from previous use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: A systematic review. Int J Risk Saf Med. 2019;30(2):59-71. doi: 10.3233/JRS-180046. PMID: 30714974; PMCID: PMC6839490. [cited 2021 Jun 14]
17. Kirsch I. Antidepressants and the Placebo Effect. Z Psychol. 2014;222(3):128-134. doi:10.1027/2151-2604/a000176 [cited 2021 Jun 14]
18. Fan KY, Liu HC. Delirium Associated With Fluoxetine Discontinuation: A Case Report. Clin Neuropharmacol. 2017 May/Jun;40(3):152-153. doi: 10.1097/WNF.0000000000000214. PMID: 28452902. [cited 2021 Jun 14]
19. Wilson E, Lader M. A review of the management of antidepressant discontinuation symptoms. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2015 Dec;5(6):357-68. doi: 10.1177/2045125315612334. PMID: 26834969; PMCID: PMC4722507. [cited 2021 Jun 14]
20. FDA. Antidepressant use in children, adolescents, and adults. http://wayback.archive-it.org/7993/20170111122946/http://www.fda.gov/Dru… [online] [cited 2021 Jun 14]
21. Sharma T, Guski LS, Freund N, Gøtzsche PC. Suicidality and aggression during antidepressant treatment: systematic review and meta-analyses based on clinical study reports. BMJ 2016;352:i65. [cited 2021 Jun 14]
22. Bielefeldt AØ, Danborg PB, Gøtzsche PC. Precursors to suicidality and violence on antidepressants: systematic review of trials in adult healthy volunteers. J R Soc Med 2016;109:381-392. [cited 2021 Jun 14]
23. Molero Y, Lichtenstein P, Zetterqvist J, Gumpert CH, Fazel S. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Violent Crime: A Cohort Study. PLoS Med. 2015;12(9):e1001875. Published 2015 Sep 15. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001875 [cited 2021 Jun 14]
24. Lagerberg T, Fazel S, Molero Y, et al. Associations between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and violent crime in adolescents, young, and older adults – a Swedish register-based study. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2020;36:1-9. doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2020.03.024 [cited 2021 Jun 15]
25. Moore TJ, Glenmullen J, Furberg CD. Prescription drugs associated with reports of violence towards others. PLoS One. 2010 Dec 15;5(12):e15337. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015337. PMID: 21179515; PMCID: PMC3002271. [cited 2021 Jun 15]
26. Pesce N, “Anti-anxiety medication prescriptions have spiked 34% during the coronovirrus pandemic.” May 26 2020 Marketwatch Report [online] [cited 2021 Jun 15]
27. Fottrell Q, ‘Suicide rate among young Americans soars by more than 50% over the last 10 years.” published October 28 2019 [online ] [cited 2021 Jun 15]
28. Zajecka J, Tracy KA, Mitchell S. Discontinuation symptoms after treatment with serotonin reuptake inhibitors: a literature review. J Clin Psychiatry. 1997 Jul;58(7):291-7. doi: 10.4088/jcp.v58n0702. PMID: 9269249. [cited 2021 Jun 15]
29. Haddad P. Newer antidepressants and the discontinuation syndrome. J Clin Psychiatry. 1997;58 Suppl 7:17-21; discussion 22. PMID: 9219489. [cited 2021 Jun 15]
30. Akagi H, Kumar TM. Lesson of the week: Akathisia: overlooked at a cost. BMJ. 2002;324(7352):1506-1507. doi:10.1136/bmj.324.7352.1506 [cited 2021 Jun 15]
31. Brambilla P, Cipriani A, Hotopf M, Barbui C. Side-effect profile of fluoxetine in comparison with other SSRIs, tricyclic and newer antidepressants: a meta-analysis of clinical trial data. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2005 Mar;38(2):69-77. doi: 10.1055/s-2005-837806. PMID: 15744630. [cited 2021 Jun 15]
32. Voican CS, Corruble E, Naveau S, Perlemuter G. Antidepressant-induced liver injury: a review for clinicians. Am J Psychiatry. 2014 Apr;171(4):404-15. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.13050709. PMID: 24362450. [cited 2021 Jun 15]
33. De Picker L, Van Den Eede F, Dumont G, Moorkens G, Sabbe BG. Antidepressants and the risk of hyponatremia: a class-by-class review of literature. Psychosomatics. 2014 Nov-Dec;55(6):536-47. doi: 10.1016/j.psym.2014.01.010. Epub 2014 Apr 21. PMID: 25262043. [cited 2021 Jun 15]
34. Jonsson GW, Moosa MY, Jeenah FY. Toxic epidermal necrolysis and fluoxetine: a case report. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2008 Feb;28(1):93-5. doi: 10.1097/jcp.0b013e3181604015. PMID: 18204349. [cited 2021 Jun 15]
35. Bloechliger M, Ceschi A, Rüegg S, Kupferschmidt H, Kraehenbuehl S, Jick SS, Meier CR, Bodmer M. Risk of Seizures Associated with Antidepressant Use in Patients with Depressive Disorder: Follow-up Study with a Nested Case-Control Analysis Using the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Drug Saf. 2016 Apr;39(4):307-21. doi: 10.1007/s40264-015-0363-z. PMID: 26650063. [cited 2021 Jun 15]
36. Laporte S, Chapelle C, Caillet P, Beyens MN, Bellet F, Delavenne X, Mismetti P, Bertoletti L. Bleeding risk under selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants: A meta-analysis of observational studies. Pharmacol Res. 2017 Apr;118:19-32. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2016.08.017. Epub 2016 Aug 10. PMID: 27521835. [cited 2021 Jun 15]
37. Amsterdam JD, Garcia-España F, Goodman D, Hooper M, Hornig-Rohan M. Breast enlargement during chronic antidepressant therapy. J Affect Disord. 1997 Nov;46(2):151-6. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(97)00086-4. PMID: 9479619. [cited 2021 Jun 15]
38. Kaufman KR, Podolsky D, Greenman D, Madraswala R. Antidepressant-selective gynecomastia. Ann Pharmacother. 2013 Jan;47(1):e6. doi: 10.1345/aph.1R491. Epub 2013 Jan 16. PMID: 23324513. [cited 2021 Jun 15]
39. Gerber PE, Lynd LD. Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor-induced movement disorders. Ann Pharmacother. 1998 Jun;32(6):692-8. doi: 10.1345/aph.17302. PMID: 9640489.[cited 2021 Jun 15]
40. Henry C, Sorbara F, Lacoste J, Gindre C, Leboyer M. Antidepressant-induced mania in bipolar patients: identification of risk factors. J Clin Psychiatry. 2001 Apr;62(4):249-55. doi: 10.4088/jcp.v62n0406. PMID: 11379838. [cited 2021 Jun 15]
41. Machado-Vieira R, Baumann J, Wheeler-Castillo C, et al. The Timing of Antidepressant Effects: A Comparison of Diverse Pharmacological and Somatic Treatments. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010;3(1):19-41. Published 2010 Jan 6. doi:10.3390/ph3010019 [cited 2021 Jun 15]
42. Gomez R, Huber J, Tombini G, Barros HM. Acute effect of different antidepressants on glycemia in diabetic and non-diabetic rats. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2001 Jan;34(1):57-64. doi: 10.1590/s0100-879×2001000100007. PMID: 11151029. [cited 2021 Jun 15]
43. Desimone ME, Weinstock RS. Hypoglycemia. [Updated 2018 May 5]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279137/ [cited 2021 Jun 15]
44. Brambilla P, Cipriani A, Hotopf M, Barbui C. Side-effect profile of fluoxetine in comparison with other SSRIs, tricyclic and newer antidepressants: a meta-analysis of clinical trial data. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2005 Mar;38(2):69-77. doi: 10.1055/s-2005-837806. PMID: 15744630. [cited 2021 Jun 15]
Originally Published Sep 13, 2018 by Diane Ridaeus
Dr. Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine. Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.
Diane is an avid supporter and researcher of natural mental health strategies. Diane received her medical writing and science communication certification through Stanford University and has published over 3 million words on the topics of holistic health, addiction, recovery, and alternative medicine. She has proudly worked with the Alternative to Meds Center since its inception and is grateful for the opportunity to help the founding members develop this world-class center that has helped so many thousands regain natural mental health.