Prozac is an SSRI, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, manufactured by Eli Lilly. It was one of the first anti-depressants on the market, gaining FDA approval in 1986. Prozac is the trade name for the chemical fluoxetine. It is approved for treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and bulimia nervosa. Under the trade name Serafem, fluoxetine is used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Prozac acts by stopping the re-absorption of serotonin by nerve cells in the CNS, or central nervous system. Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood, appetite, sleep, and muscle contraction. Recent tests suggest that serotonin also affects memory and learning. Serotonin is an important chemical compound, and is sometimes called the happiness hormone.
It is theorized that low levels of serotonin cause some people to feel depressed. However, the exact cause of depression is unknown. When primary doctors prescribe Prozac to their patients, they often recommend a form of cognitive therapy as well.
Some of the most common side effects of Prozac are decreased appetite, dry mouth, and decreased sexual desire. Fatigue, insomnia, and headache have also been reported. Many people report no side effects when on Prozac. There have also been reports of suicidal ideation in patients who are taking Prozac. Currently, all anti-depressants prescribed in the United States must have warnings of increased suicidal tendencies in people under the age of 25.
When a patient is first prescribed Prozac they are instructed that it might take 4 to 5 weeks before they begin to feel any difference. This can be a critical time because many depressed patients will stop taking the drug too early simply because they don’t feel any difference. That is why it is important to explain to patients the length of time it will take the drug to get into their system. Talk therapy or other support can help a person during this time.
Prozac can be used in the pediatric and geriatric population as well. To date, it has been used in 90 countries and has assisted millions of people suffering from various forms of depression as well as other ailments. Prozac has also entered popular culture, and is probably one of the most well-known drugs of all time.
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