Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Fluvoxamine

Fluvoxamine is an antidepressant drug prescribed for the treatment of depression and associated anxiety/panic disorders.

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Fluvoxamine is the active ingredient of Faverin, Fluvoxamine-Hexal and Luvox.

General information

Fluvoxamine is an antidepressant drug prescribed for the treatment of depression and associated anxiety/panic disorders. It is of particular use in patients with ongoing feelings of sadness, despair, worthlessness, hopelessness, fatigue, pessimism and difficulty dealing with normal daily life.

Fluvoxamine is also used for obsessive-compulsive disorder and social phobia, an intense anxiety of being judged by others and/or publicly behaving in a way that could lead to embarrassment or ridicule, including public speaking .

Fluvoxamine, and products related to it, is as effective as other, older groups of antidepressants, with the advantage of fewer side effects and drug interaction. It also does not lead to the same extent of weight gain that is seen when older types of antidepressants are used.

It may take several weeks for the full benefit of fluvoxamine to be achieved. During this period it is important to continue taking this medication.

How does fluvoxamine work?

Fluvoxamine is a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI), meaning that it increases the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Increased levels of serotonin are associated with an improvement in emotion, mood and mental state.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 5

Available as: fluvoxamine is available as tablets.

What does it do? fluvoxamine has an anti-depressant and mood-elevating action

Overdose risk: medium

Dependence risk: low

Is fluvoxamine available as a generic? yes

Is fluvoxamine available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: full benefit should be seen within 14 - 28 days

Stopping this medicine: fluvoxamine should not be stopped abruptly - sudden discontinuation may cause symptoms to recur. The dosage of Fluvoxamine should be gradually reduced according to the advice of your doctor.

Prolonged use: risks with prolonged use are few if the medication is used as recommended. Fluvoxamine is generally only used for 6-12 months at a time.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have liver or kidney disease
  • you have epilepsy
  • you have a heart condition
  • you have a bipolar disorder
  • you have glaucoma
  • you have diabetes
  • You are taking or have taken other medication in the last 14 days

Pregnancy: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using this drug, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: safety and efficacy of this medication has not been established for children under the age of 18

The elderly: caution is advised in the elderly as adverse effects may be more likely. A reduced dose is advised.

Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

sexual dysfunction

x

x

dry mouth

x

x

nausea/vomiting

x

x

diarrhoea/ constipation

x

x

change in appetite

x

x

weight loss/ weight gain

x

x

fast speech

x

x

fever

x

x

anxiety/ insomnia

x

x

headache

x

x

dizziness/ drowsiness

x

x

skin rash

x

x

convulsions

x

x

chest pain/ irregular or rapid heartbeat

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

beta blockers

increased chance of beta blocker toxicity

verapamil, nifedipine

increased side effects of vasodilators

potential sedative substances such as alcohol, antihistamines, benzodiazepines

enhanced effect on central nervous system

oral medication for diabetes

blood sugar may drop soon after taking SSRI

lithium

potential risk of lithium toxicity

monoamine oxidase inhibitor

high blood pressure, convulsion. Allow 5 weeks between drugs.

metoclopramide

unusual movement disorders

moclobemide

increased risk of serotonin toxicity

buspirone, clomipramine, other ssris, pethidine, tricyclic antidepressants

increased risk of serotonin toxicity

warfarin

potential warfarin toxicity

terfenadine

potential terfenadine toxicity

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have liver or kidney disease, epilepsy, diabetes, glaucoma, bipolar disorder, or if you have a heart condition.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention. Symptoms may include dizziness, sweating, a rapid heartbeat or coma.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 100 - 300mg daily

Interesting fact

One of the two teenage shooters involved in the Columbine High School massacre had been taking the drug prior to the shooting.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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