Prozac is a commonly prescribed antidepressant.
Along with its generic version, fluoxetine, Prozac was prescribed more than 27 million times in the United States in 2019.
Even though it is common, Prozac is still a medication that can have serious side effects, including overdose.
In this article, I’ll outline the symptoms of a Prozac overdose, talk about how to take the medication safely, warning signs to look out for, and what to do if you have taken too much or taken Prozac with another substance that can increase the risk of overdose.
Prozac Overdose Symptoms
Prozac overdose can happen at a normal prescription dose if you take it with another substance that changes the way your body processes the medication.
Alcohol, marijuana, other illicit drugs, other medications, and herbal supplements can all contribute to Prozac overdose, even if you take your normal dosage.
Overdose can also occur if you take too much medication, so it is important to always follow your prescriber’s instructions.
Early signs of overdose
Sometimes Prozac overdose symptoms will not show up for a while, since it takes time for your body to respond to the change.
Early signs of overdose may include:
- Dizziness or unsteadiness
- Tremors or shaking
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Rapid, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
Serious symptoms of overdose
Serious symptoms or complications because of Prozac overdose can include:
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Blood clotting that can cause organ damage or tissue death
- Respiratory failure
- Kidney failure
- Rhabdomyolysis (rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle)
- Serotonin syndrome
Serotonin syndrome and other serious complications of Prozac do not typically occur when Prozac is taken alone, but rather when it is paired with other substances that change how the brain responds to serotonin.
These include alcohol, marijuana, and other antidepressants.
Any serious symptoms of Prozac overdose require medical care in an emergency department.
You may not notice signs of an overdose right away, but if you suspect that overdose has occurred or you have taken Prozac with other substances that can cause overdose, contact Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) or your healthcare provider right away to find out what to do.
They will ask about your dosage, other substances you have consumed, your age, weight, and other physiological factors to determine your risk of serious side effects.
How to Take Prozac Safely
Your prescribing provider and pharmacist will give you information about how to safely take Prozac.
If you have questions about your prescription, ask your provider so you can ensure that you do not incorrectly take your medication.
If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember.
If it is close to the next time you should have taken it, skip the missed dose.
Never take more than one dose of Prozac at the same time.
Prozac is taken once per day, either in the morning or evening.
It comes in liquid, tablet, or capsule form.
What is the typical dosage?
Prozac dosage ranges from an average of 20-80 mg per day, but may be dosed as low as 5-10 mg in people who have a low tolerance for side effects or are otherwise sensitive to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
It is also available in an extended-release, 90 mg dose.
Your doctor or mental health provider will ensure that your Prozac dosage is appropriate for your symptoms, health, and individual needs.
Prozac is an SSRI antidepressant that may commonly be prescribed for the following FDA-approved reasons:
- Major depressive disorder (MDD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Binge eating disorder
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
- Bipolar disorder (along with olanzapine)
- Treatment-resistant depression (along with olanzapine)
Prozac is sometimes used off-label for other purposes. “Off-label” means that the condition the medication is being prescribed for is not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but your doctor can provide justification for why prescribing it can help manage your symptoms.
Off-label uses for Prozac include:
- Social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Borderline personality disorder
- Raynaud phenomenon
- Selective mutism
- Generalized anxiety disorder
Regardless of the dosage of Prozac that has been prescribed for you, do not stop suddenly taking it.
This can result in withdrawal symptoms or a relapse.
Always follow your provider’s medical advice on how to take Prozac.
What Happens When You Take Too Much Prozac?
Most people who take too much Prozac without other substances make a full recovery, though you should still seek medical attention.
Taking Prozac with other substances can increase the risk of serious complications and side effects, including serotonin syndrome.
Serotonin syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition where your body has too much serotonin.
Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Muscle spasms and tremors
Serotonin syndrome can be fatal, but usually only if Prozac is paired with other substances or taken in unusually high doses.
Serotonin syndrome is a medical emergency.
Seeking treatment as quickly as possible decreases the risk of complications and long-term problems.
If you are overdosing on Prozac, the sooner you receive medical care, the more likely you are to experience fewer side effects, medical complications, or long-term problems.
What to Do in Case of Overdose?
If you have consumed alcohol with Prozac and notice concerning symptoms or other changes to how you feel, call Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) or seek emergency medical help right away.
Don’t wait for symptoms to develop to speak to Poison Control or to report a possible overdose to your provider.
Seeking treatment or being observed for possible side effects before they occur can decrease the risk of serious complications.
Treatment for Prozac Overdose?
If the Prozac overdose occurred recently, your healthcare team will determine if there are any treatments that can reduce the toxic effect based on when you took the medication and how much you have taken.
There is no antidote for Prozac overdose, so treatment involves monitoring for complications and ensuring that vital functions are maintained or stabilized.
With Prozac overdose, these vital functions can include heartbeat, breathing and oxygen levels, blood pressure, and how the blood is clotting.
If seizures or coma have occurred, additional treatment may be required to support and protect brain function.
When to See a Doctor
If you are worried that you have taken too much Prozac, or that you have consumed it with something that might cause overdose symptoms, tell your healthcare provider right away or call Poison Control (1-800-222-1222).
If you have intentionally taken too much Prozac with the purpose of self-harm, seek emergency medical care immediately or call 9-1-1.
You will receive medical care to help address the overdose and then supportive treatment to help prevent suicidal behavior.
Your doctor may change antidepressants or find other ways to support your safety and mental health.
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Frequently Asked Questions
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
MEPS HC-213A: 2019 Prescribed Medicines File. (2021).
Label for Prozac (fluoxetine). (2017).