How Long Does it Take for Prozac to Work?

October 4, 2022

Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide. It affects more than 21 million Americans each year. While depression can affect anyone, data shows that it’s more common in women, and people between 18 and 29 years old. Depression can lead to a wide range of symptoms, including sadness, loss of interest in activities, changes in weight or appetite, difficulty sleeping, and thoughts of suicide.

Modern technology has made great strides in addressing depression. Today, there are a variety of antidepressant medications available. They can help ease  the symptoms of depression, allowing for people to better manage their daily stressors.

One of the most prescribed antidepressants is fluoxetine, more commonly known by the brand name Prozac. Fluoxetine is part of a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). They work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that plays an important role in regulating a person’s mood and emotions. Fluoxetine can be an effective treatment for various types and levels of depression.

How are antidepressants supposed to make you feel?

Certain antidepressants are also associated with side effects. These include fluoxetine and drowsiness, amitriptyline and headaches, and sertraline and nausea. 

How soon can antidepressants work?

The goal of antidepressants is to ease the symptoms of depression. They help to restore the chemical balance in the brain. Antidepressants are not meant to be a quick fix and may take several weeks before you notice the full benefit of the medication. Usually, people who take antidepressants report seeing positive changes one to two weeks after starting treatment. However, some people begin to experience relief from their symptoms after a few days of treatment.

Woman with antidepressant in mouth

Individuals shouldn’t get discouraged if they don’t notice  significant improvement right away. It’s vital to give the medication time to work. They should stick with the treatment plan prescribed by their mental health professional.

If  you have been taking antidepressants for four weeks with no improvement in symptoms, it is important to discuss this with your provider.. The provider will work with you to make appropriate adjustments to your medication and treatment plan. .

So, how long does it take for Prozac to work? Keep in mind that everyone responds differently to fluoxetine, and it may take some time before reaching the proper dosage. It’s normal to have to try a couple of different approaches. Patienceand giving the medication time to work is key. It’s also crucial for individuals to keep track of how they feel and any changes in their mood or behavior once they have started medication.

A journey on Prozac

The usual starting dose of fluoxetine for adults is 20mg per day. Your provider may adjust the dose gradually, depending on your body’s response to the medication.

Depending on your needs and tolerability, your provider may recommend taking Prozac at a specific time of the day.  It’s usually beneficial and more effective to take antidepressants at the same time every day.

Keep in mind that it can take up to four weeks for the full effects of the medication to be felt, so your first day taking Prozac might not be indicative of how the rest of the treatment will go. Some people experience side effects such as drowsiness, nausea, or dry mouth when they first start taking Prozac. These side effects typically lessen over time as the body adjusts to the medication.

Fluoxetine may also cause more severe side effects. These include changes in weight or appetite, trouble urinating, internal bleeding, and seizures. If an individual experiences any of these side effects, they should seek medical help.

Following the doctor’s instructions when taking Prozac (or any other medication) is important. Do not skip doses or stop taking the medication without consulting a provider first. Doing so can cause withdrawal symptoms and make any symptoms worse.

Client talking to therapist

The duration of treatment is different for everyone. Some people take antidepressants for a few months. Others might be on it for life.

Drug interactions with Prozac

Fluoxetine can interact with other medications. So, clients should tell their providers about any other medications they’re taking before starting fluoxetine. Some of the most common drugs that interact with fluoxetine include, blood thinners, and MAO inhibitors.

Serotonin syndrome is a life-threatening condition that happens when the body has too much serotonin. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include high blood pressure, muscle rigidity, and confusion. If someone is taking Adderall and fluoxetine together, it’s important to watch for signs of serotonin syndrome. Contact a healthcare professional if any of the symptoms listed above arise.

anxious woman covering face

Can you take Prozac with blood thinners?

Yes, people can take Prozac with blood thinners. But be cautious and aware of any symptoms that might arise due to this interaction. These two might increase the risk of bleeding or bruising

Can you take Prozac with MAO inhibitors?

No, you should not take Prozac with MAO inhibitors. They can interact with each other and cause side effects like serotonergic syndrome

The bottom line

Prozac is a medication that treats depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Before starting, it’s important to understand how Prozac works and its side effects. If an individual is ever unsure about whether it’s a good choice for them, a mental healthcare professional can help!

If you or someone you know is battling depression, help is all around you. Cerebral makes mental healthcare more accessible than ever. Take our free emotional assessment so we can get to know you more. Someone from our team will reach out to discuss the next steps.

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