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What is Prozac?

Approved by the FDA in 1987, Prozac is made by Eli Lilly and Company and is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and panic disorder. It is an antidepressant that belongs to the class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which help to ease depression by affecting the chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, used to communicate between brain cells.


Prozac, as well as many other SSRIs, are known to cause one or more of the following side effects. Additionally, in July 2006, the FDA issued an alert stating that a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome can occur when Prozac and migraine medications are taken together.

  • Serotonin Syndrome
    • This is characterized by fever, confusion, muscle rigidity, and cardiac, liver, or kidney problems.
  • Severe Allergic Reactions
  • Bizarre Behavior
  • Black or Bloody Stools
  • Chest Pain
  • Confusion
  • Overactive Reflexes
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Fainting
  • Fast or Irregular Heartbeat
  • Fever, Chills, or Sore Throat
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased Hunger, Thirst, or Urination
  • Joint or Wrist Aches or Pain
  • Memory Loss
  • New or Worsening Agitation, Panic Attacks, Aggressiveness, Impulsiveness, Irritability, Hostility, Exaggerated Feeling of Well-Being, Restlessness, or Inability to Sit Still
  • Persistent or Severe Ringing in the Ears
  • Persistent, Painful Erection
  • Red, Swollen, Blistered, or Peeling Skin
  • Seizures
  • Severe or Persistent Anxiety, Trouble Sleeping, or Weakness
  • Severe or Persistent Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, or Headache
  • Significant Weight Loss
  • Suicidal Thoughts or Attempts
  • Tremors
  • Unusual Bruising or Bleeding
  • Unusual or Severe Mental or Mood Changes
  • Unusual Swelling
  • Unusual Weakness
  • Vision Changes
  • Worsening of Depression


Many antidepressants, including SSRIs, may harm your unborn child if you take them during pregnancy or while you are breast-feeding. In fact, FDA findings indicate increased birth defects in newborns, including serious heart and lung defects, associated with the use of the anti-depressant drug Prozac during pregnancy.

If you are pregnant and taking Prozac, consult your doctor before possible discontinuation since a five-fold risk of relapse in depression in pregnant women who stopped taking antidepressants was recently reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


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