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When the brain goes black: Pros and cons of Fluoxetine as an antidepressant

Many are becoming victims to depression these days. Thanks to the growing disruptions in community living, one-to-one relationships and high expectations or success set points, depression is no more a curse of a few, but many. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRI drugs are said to be highly effective in the treatment of depression. These drugs, introduced in the 1980s, work by acting on the chemicals in the brain. Fluoxetine is one such SSRI used in the treatment of depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders. One of the first drugs of the SSRI series, Fluoxetine is popular among many people suffering from depression.

Fluoxetine in treatment of depression: Fluoxetine or Prozac (generic name) being a SSRI antidepressant, works by inhibiting the re-absorption of serotonin by the brain cells. When the neurotransmitters  (serotonin and norepinephrine) through which the brain communicates are not re-absorbed by the nerve cells in the brain, there is more of these chemicals in the brain. This leads to improved neuro- transmission, which in turn is widely marked by happiness or activity  in individuals. In due course, the natural serotonin will rise again, leaving room for more of activity.

Fluoxetine – Pros and Cons: Like every other antidepressants, SSRIs too have their own pros and cons and Fluoxetine is no exception to this list.

Pros of Fluoxetine: The drug comes with a long half-life that lets users feel the effectiveness of the drug for a long time. Half life means the time taken by the body to metabolize at least half the drug. Fluoxetine is unique in this as it has a half life of about 4 to 6 days. That is, the body takes more than 4 days to metabolize its active ingredient norfluoxetine. In comparison, other drugs like citalopram, paroxetine, sertraline and escitalopram has shorter half lives of about 20 to 35 hours only. This is why with Fluoxetine’s case,  the therapeutic effect of the drug lasts longer and even withdrawal symptoms are not that severe.

Fluoxetine is effective in the treatment of many mood related ailments like panic disorders, depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Fluoxetine is said to be effective in the treatment of hair pulling disorder and helps in this habit reversal in  patients.

Cons of Fluoxetine: Side effects and drug interactions are a major concern with SSRIs and so also with Fluoxetine. Fluoxetine reacts strongly with MAOIs or Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors. The combination can lead to development of a hyperserotonergic syndrome consisting of excitement, diaphoresis, rigidity, hyperthemia, tachyardia, hypertension and even death. Another possible con about Fluoxetine are its side effects – these vary from mild to severe ones like blistering, peeling of skin, rashes, nausea, vomiting, headache, memory related problems, hallucinations, fainting, seizures, insomnia, mild stomach upsets, decreased sex drive, dry mouth and drowsiness.

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Posted in Antidepressants, Drugs Categories on Jan 22nd, 2020, 7:03 am by editor   

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When the brain goes black: Pros and cons of Fluoxetine as an antidepressant

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