Withdrawal Effects of Fluoxetine

Updated February 12, 2018

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).

Fluoxetine Reduction

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.

Physical Effects

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

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.

Underlying Condition

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.

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About the Author

Shelley Moore is a journalist and award-winning short-story writer. She specializes in writing about personal development, health, careers and personal finance. Moore has been published in "Family Circle" magazine and the "Milwaukee Sentinel" newspaper, along with numerous other national and regional magazines, daily and weekly newspapers and corporate publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.