How Fluvoxamine Works and What to Tell Your Doctor
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking fluvoxamine if you have:
- Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) or a family history of bipolar disorder
- A history of suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts
- A recent history of a heart attack (or if you have unstable heart disease)
- Seizures or epilepsy
- 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 Luvox and Pregnancy)
- Are breastfeeding (see Luvox and Breastfeeding)
You should also make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Fluvoxamine for more information, including information on who should not take the drug.)
How Does Fluvoxamine Work?Fluvoxamine is part of a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs for short. SSRIs affect a specific chemical within the brain known as serotonin. Serotonin is one of several chemicals used to send messages from one nerve cell to another.
As a message travels down a nerve, it causes the end of the cell to release serotonin. The serotonin enters the gap between the first nerve cell and the one next to it. When enough serotonin reaches the second nerve cell, it activates receptors on the cell and the message continues on its way. The first cell then quickly absorbs any serotonin that remains in the gap between the cells. This is called "reuptake."
Normally, this process works without any problems. But when the levels of serotonin become unbalanced, it can cause a variety of conditions, including OCD. Fluvoxamine helps to block the reuptake of serotonin so that more remains in the space between the brain's nerve cells. This gives the serotonin a better chance of activating the receptors on the next nerve cell.