Fluvoxamine is used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (bothersome thoughts that won’t go away and the need to perform certain actions over and over) and social anxiety disorder (extreme fear of interacting with others or performing in front of others that interferes with normal life). Fluvoxamine is in a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It works by increasing the amount of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance.
Side Effects Of Fluvoxamine
Fluvoxamine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- difficulty concentrating, memory problems, or confusion
- dry mouth
- stomach pain
- change in taste
- decreased appetite
- weight loss
- changes in sex drive or ability
Some side effects of fluvoxamine can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those listed in the WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS sections, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- chest pain
- problems with coordination
- hallucination (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- fever, sweating, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, and severe muscle stiffness
- pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
- shaking of a part of the body that you cannot control
- slowed or difficult breathing
- loss of consciousness
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- bloody nose
- vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
- red blood in the stool or black and tarry stools
Fluvoxamine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking fluvoxamine:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to fluvoxamine, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in fluvoxamine tablets and extended-release capsules. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor if you are taking alosetron (Lotronex), astemizole (Hismanal) (not available in the U.S.), cisapride (Propulsid) (not available in the U.S.), pimozide (Orap), ramelteon (Rozerem), terfenadine (Seldane) (not available in the US), tizanidine (Zanaflex), or thioridazine. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take fluvoxamine.
- tell your doctor if you are taking the following medications or if you have stopped taking them within the past 14 days: monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), linezolid (Zyvox), methylene blue; phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate). Your doctor will probably tell you not to take fluvoxamine. If you stop taking fluvoxamine, you should wait at least 14 days before you start to take an MAO inhibitor.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, and vitamins you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: alprazolam (Xanax); anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin); aspirin or aspirin-containing products and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn); beta-blockers such as metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol) and propranolol (Inderal, in Inderide); buspirone (BuSpar); carbamazepine (Tegretol); clopidogrel (Plavix), clozapine (Clozaril); cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); dextromethorphan (in cough medications); diazepam (Valium); diltiazem (Cardizem); diuretics (‘water pills’); fentanyl (Abstral, Actiq, Fentora, Onsolis, others); haloperidol (Haldol); ketoconazole (Nizoral); lithium; medications for migraine headaches such as almotriptan (Axert), eletriptan (Relpax), frovatriptan (Frova), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), sumatriptan (Imitrex), and zolmitriptan (Zomig); methadone (Dolophine, Methadose); mexiletine (Mexitil); metoclopramide; midazolam (Versed); omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid); other medications for anxiety, depression, or mental illness; phenytoin (Dilantin);sibutramine (Meridia); tacrine (Cognex); theophylline (Theo-Dur); tramadol (Ultram, in Ultracet); triazolam (Halcion); and quinidine. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor what herbal products and nutritional supplements you are taking, especially products that contain St. John’s wort and tryptophan.
- tell your doctor if you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol or have used street drugs or have overused prescription medications. Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had seizures, or heart, kidney, adrenal, or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, especially if you are in the last few months of your pregnancy, or if you plan to become pregnant or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking fluvoxamine, call your doctor. Fluvoxamine may cause problems in newborns following delivery if it is taken during the last months of pregnancy.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking fluvoxamine.
- you should know that this medication may make you drowsy or affect your judgment, thinking, or motor skills. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication. You should not drink alcohol while taking fluvoxamine.
- tell your doctor if you use tobacco products. Cigarette smoking may decrease the effectiveness of this medication.
- you should know that fluvoxamine may cause angle-closure glaucoma (a condition where the fluid is suddenly blocked and unable to flow out of the eye causing a quick, severe increase in eye pressure which may lead to a loss of vision). Talk to your doctor about having an eye examination before you start taking this medication. If you have nausea, eye pain, changes in vision, such as seeing colored rings around lights, and swelling or redness in or around the eye, call your doctor or get emergency medical treatment right away.
Dosage Of Fluvoxamine
Fluvoxamine comes as a tablet and an extended-release capsule to take by mouth. The tablet usually is taken either once daily at bedtime or twice daily, once in the morning and once at bedtime. The extended-release capsule usually is taken, with or without food , once daily at bedtime. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take fluvoxamine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the extended-release capsules whole; do not be crush or chew them.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of fluvoxamine and gradually increase your dose, not more often than once every week, depending on how well the medication works for you and the side effects you experience.
It may take several weeks or longer for you to feel the full benefit of fluvoxamine. Continue to take fluvoxamine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking fluvoxamine without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking fluvoxamine, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability; agitation; dizziness; extreme worry; uneasiness; confusion; headache; tiredness; mood changes; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; or pain, burning, numbness, tingling, or electric shock sensations in the hands or feet. Your doctor probably will decrease your dose gradually.
It is important to keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to fluvoxamine.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your fluvoxamine.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.