Is Fluoxetine Right for Me?
You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking fluoxetine if you have:
- Bipolar disorder or a family history of bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression)
- A history of suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts
- Had a recent heart attack or if you have heart disease
- An irregular heart rhythm
- An electrolyte imbalance
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Suicidal thoughts
- Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Prozac and Pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding (see Fluoxetine and Breastfeeding).
Tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you may be taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Fluoxetine for more information on this topic, including information on who should not take fluoxetine.)
Depression, even in its most severe form, is highly treatable. As with many illnesses, getting depression treatment early is more effective and reduces the chance of recurrence.
The most common forms of treatment for depression are medication (antidepressants) and psychotherapy ("talk therapy"). In some cases of severe depression, healthcare providers may recommend electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Some people may also try complementary or alternative treatments for depression (see Natural Remedies for Depression).
For most people, fluoxetine is quite effective in treating depression. It is also generally well-tolerated. However, fluoxetine side effects can occur or the medicine may not work as well as needed. In these cases, your healthcare provider may recommend an alternative to fluoxetine. Some examples of substitute depression medications include:
- Other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
(Click Prozac Alternatives to learn more about alternatives for fluoxetine and Dealing With Depression to learn other ways of managing depression.)