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Prozac, chemical name Fluoxetine, was the result of Eli Lilly and Company research starting in 1970. Bryan Molloy and Robert Rathburn were looking into the antidepressant-like qualities of antihistamine diphenhydramine and began synthesizing derivatives. Molloy and Rathburn tried finding a derivative that inhibited only the serotonin reuptake. This was finally accomplished by Jong-Sir Horng in May of 1972. A year later its was given its official chemical name Fluoxetine and its trade name Prozac. The drug was approved by the FDA in 1987 and was the fourth selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) on the market.


Prozac is the brand name for an antidepressant called fluoxetine. It is in the class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s). This medication is mainly prescribed to treat several different kinds of disorders. While being regulated in the United States it is not a scheduled drug and is not illegal to possess without a prescription.


Prozac can be prescribed to treat the following disorders:

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Clinical Depression
  • Panic Disorder
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Anxiety
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

It has also been used to treat cataplexy, obesity, alcohol dependence and binge eating disorder. Fluoxetine is not normally used as a recreational drug but in high doses can give an amphetamine-like effect while also producing a numb and calm feeling.


Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) affect the brain by preventing serotonin from being reabsorbed back into nerve cells. This helps prolong the mood lightening effect of any released serotonin.

Similar Drugs

Drugs related to Prozac (Fluoxetine) are other Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil and Pexeva)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)

Addiction Information:

While there may not be any known physical addiction to Prozac, psychological addiction is a possibility. Individuals may feel they cannot function normally without it which suggests some mental dependence on the drug.

Side Effects

In some cases, the doctor will have you discontinue one type of antidepressant for several weeks before trying another type. A dangerous potential side effect of taking Prozac is thoughts of suicide. It is rare, but not uncommon, so don’t be afraid to express those thoughts with the professional. He may need to adjust the dose for you or perform some other testing.

Prozac Side Effects Include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Changes in weight
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness

Severe Side Effects Include:

  • Skin rash
  • Panic attacks
  • Increased depression
  • Irritability
  • Aggressiveness
  • Confusion
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

Before taking Prozac, you should also let your doctor know about any other medications you are taking or conditions you have.

The combination of Prozac and certain medications can also be dangerous.

Dangerous Medication Combinations Include:

  • Blood thinners
  • Seizure medications
  • Xanax
  • Flecainide
  • Clozapine

Even if you are taking vitamins, minerals or other supplements, you will want to let your doctor know before taking fluoxetine. Fluoxetine has a tendency to make some people sleepy, so be sure not to drink alcohol or take any narcotics while you are being treated. If you are feeling sleepy, don’t drive or operate any kind of heavy machinery. The main point here is that if you are having symptoms of depression or other disorders, your doctor wants to help you get back to a point of normality, so you can enjoy your life. Take every precaution to protect your health and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel you may be in jeopardy.

Withdrawal Symptoms:

Immediate discontinuation from taking Prozac may cause:

  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo/Light headedness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Chills
  • Increased dreaming
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety


Overdose may cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Sleepiness
  • Rapid or uneven heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Nervousness
  • Vertigo
  • Tremors
  • Elevated Blood Pressure
  • Impotence
  • Ingesting as low as 520mg has been associated with lethal outcomes, but causality has not been proven.

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