Since it was first introduced in the United States in 1988, Prozac (fluoxetine) has helped millions of Americans manage depression, anxiety, and other medical conditions.
If you are struggling with mental health symptoms, Prozac may help you balance your emotions, boost your energy, regulate your appetite, improve your sleep, and enhance your quality of life.
It works by blocking brain receptors from reabsorbing, or “reuptaking,” serotonin, increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter that is in your body at one time. Serotonin helps your body communicate and is connected to mood, appetite, and energy, among other things.
Although healthcare professionals are still studying the relationship that serotonin has with mental illness, it’s clear that for many patients, increasing their serotonin with medications like Prozac helps them feel happier and more balanced.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Prozac to treat patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bulimia nervosa, and panic disorder.
Doctors also prescribe it in combination with other psychotropic medications to treat patients with bipolar I disorder and treatment-resistant depression.
For patients who have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder or are experiencing emotional distress, Prozac can offer relief, but you need a prescription before you can begin to take it.
If you are ready to see a healthcare provider to discuss whether Prozac may be right for you, online doctors and pharmacies can make it easy for you to get the care and medication you need.
Working over the internet, they can safely evaluate your medical history, prescribe Prozac or another appropriate treatment, and allow you to order your medication for delivery to your door.
In this article, I’ll discuss whether you need a prescription for Prozac, and whether you can get it online. I’ll also explain what Prozac is, how it works, and the side effects it can cause. I’ll also list potential interactions with other drugs. I’ll outline the cost of Prozac, and help you determine whether it’s right for you.
Finally, I’ll provide ways for you to talk to a doctor today about your mental health and potential medications.
Do You Need a Prescription for Prozac?
Prozac is only available by prescription because it can only be taken for certain conditions, and can cause adverse effects if not taken correctly.
It is a medication that is only beneficial to people with diagnosed medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, and certain other psychiatric disorders.
If you do not take Prozac as directed, it can cause adverse effects and harmful drug interactions. That’s why it’s important to remain under the consistent care of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider while taking Prozac or any other prescription medication.
Can You Buy Prozac Online?
To purchase Prozac, you must make an appointment with a qualified medical professional to discuss your symptoms and review your treatment options.
Then, if it’s appropriate, your doctor will diagnose you with a mental health condition and write a prescription that will allow you to purchase the medication you need.
Once you have a diagnosis and prescription, you can visit your local pharmacy to pick up your prescription or order it through an online pharmacy for delivery right to your door.
Online sources are often able to sell medications for lower prices, so shopping with them for the treatments you need can be an effective way to keep drug costs down.
What Is Prozac?
Prozac (fluoxetine) is a brand-name medication manufactured by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. It’s the oldest of a class of antidepressant drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Because of its tolerability, safety, and general effectiveness, Prozac is often considered a first-line treatment option for patients experiencing depression and anxiety.
Prozac is an oral medication that comes in a capsule, tablet, delayed-release capsule, and liquid solution at various dosages.
Patients should take it once a day, with or without food, and store it at room temperature, unless otherwise directed by their healthcare provider.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved Prozac to treat patients with clinical depression. Since then, the FDA has approved the medication to treat mental health disorders including major depressive disorder (MDD) and bulimia nervosa, and anxiety-related conditions like panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
In addition, healthcare professionals will sometimes prescribe the drug “off-label” to treat other medical conditions like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), premature ejaculation, migraines, fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy, and certain eating disorders.
How Does Prozac Work?
Prozac is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, an antidepressant medication that works by boosting the amount of a neurotransmitter called serotonin in your brain and body.
Serotonin helps the brain communicate by passing along messages to different nerve receptors. It also acts as a hormone, sending signals to your muscles, stomach, and other body processes.
Under normal circumstances, your body reabsorbs serotonin once it conveys a message. When you take Prozac, however, the drug blocks the reabsorption (reuptake) process, leaving more serotonin available to help your brain and body communicate.
Serotonin helps people balance their moods, regulate their emotions, manage their appetite, and get quality sleep.
Researchers are still studying the relationship between low serotonin and mental illness, but we know that when many patients with mental health issues take Prozac, their mental health and well-being are improved.
Prozac is known for its general tolerability, but every individual person’s response is different. For some patients, the medication can cause side effects that range from mild to more challenging. The most common include:
- Agitation, anxiety, or nervousness
- Stomachache, indigestion, or diarrhea
- Nausea or loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Excessive sweating
- Sleeplessness (insomnia)
- Weight gain
- Weight loss
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Sore throat
- Sexual dysfunction like abnormal ejaculation or decreased sex drive
- Strange or abnormal dreams
Serious side effects include heart palpitations, confusion, vision changes (glaucoma), and seizures.
These can be symptoms of a dangerous reaction called serotonin syndrome, and you should be evaluated in the emergency room right away if they occur. Also, tell your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room right away if you experience a skin rash, hives, difficulty breathing, or other indications of an allergic reaction.
For pediatric patients and young adults, Prozac can lead to an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviors. If you or a loved one is at risk of harming themselves or others, call 9-1-1 or immediately go to the nearest emergency room.
Studies have shown that when some pregnant women have taken Prozac, the medication has posed a risk to their unborn child’s heart and skull development.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about taking Prozac and whether antidepressant medication is the right treatment plan for you.
Prozac can cause withdrawal syndrome in patients who stop taking their medication abruptly. Symptoms can include sore throat, nausea, insomnia, and hallucinations for 1-2 weeks but are immediately reversible if a patient begins retaking their medication.
If you have a prescription for Prozac and would like to modify or end your treatment plan, talk to your doctor to determine the best course of action. They can slowly adjust your dose to wean you off the drug so that you feel little to no ill effects.
If you are taking Prozac or would like to begin, talk to your doctor about all of the substances you take. Certain prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies, topical ointments, and even street drugs can mix badly with Prozac and cause adverse effects.
The following medications interact particularly poorly with Prozac:
- Anticoagulants (blood thinners)
- Beta blockers
- Dextromethorphan (cough suppressant)
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- NSAIDs, including ibuprofen and aspirin
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- St. John’s wort
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Never take more Prozac than your doctor has prescribed, or take Prozac along with any other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). If you do, it may put you at risk of developing serotonin syndrome, a rare but severe condition that can be fatal if left untreated.
Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include extreme agitation, dilated pupils, muscle tension or loss of muscle control, diarrhea, racing heart, and high blood pressure.
If you take Prozac and begin to experience these or any other abnormal or uncomfortable symptoms, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.
The price of Prozac can vary depending on a patient’s location, insurance coverage, dosage, and pharmacy.
If you are interested in saving money on your prescription, ask your doctor about whether it would be appropriate for you to take fluoxetine, the generic form of Prozac.
Generic prescription medications are identical to their brand-name counterparts but are often priced lower.
Comparing costs and ordering your medication online can be another effective way to save money on your prescriptions.
Ordering from a safe, reputable online pharmacy, you can have your medication quickly and conveniently shipped right to your home.
Is Prozac Right For You?
Since it was first introduced decades ago, Prozac has helped millions of Americans experiencing depression, anxiety, and other medical conditions to manage their symptoms and improve their lives.
If you believe you have depression or anxiety, or have intense, intrusive, unmanageable symptoms that have lasted more than two weeks, there is no need to suffer.
Make an appointment with your doctor or other mental health care provider to discuss your symptoms, be screened for any potential contributing mental and physical conditions, and to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.
Talk to a Doctor Today
Anxiety and depression are among the most under-reported and under-treated diseases in America.
Nearly 20% of adults in the US suffer from mental health illness, and fewer than half receive treatment. Our mission is to increase access to treatment for those suffering in silence.
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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.
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Key Findings—A Closer Look at the Link Between Specific SSRIs and Birth Defects (2020).
Prozac (Fluoxetine HCl) capsules (2009).
Antidepressant Use Among Adults: United States, 2015-2018 (2020).