Fluoxetine is a medication prescribed under brands such as Prozac and Sarafem to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, anxiety, social phobia, and other mental health conditions. Fluoxetine is classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).
Although SSRIs are associated with withdrawal symptoms, fluoxetine is not as likely to cause these effects because it remains in the patient's system for a long time. Even if the individual discontinues use suddenly, the level of the drug in the body decreases gradually.
If withdrawal effects do occur, they usually improve over a short time and do not require treatment. Effects might include burning or tingling skin sensations, dizziness, lightheadedness, vertigo, abdominal cramps, nausea, fatigue and headache.
Psychological effects may be worse than the physical effects. They include insomnia, increased dreaming, agitation, anxiety, confusion and irritability.
If fluoxetine withdrawal symptoms are severe, the doctor may recommend beginning use again and discontinuing it gradually.
The psychological effects may not actually be withdrawal symptoms but the underlying condition returning. The patient may need to continue taking fluoxetine or another antidepressant medication.