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Happyjen888: Fluoxetine adverse reactions after 6 weeks - please help


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6 weeks of 20 mg fluoxetine with severe adverse reactions in week 6.  Pcp reduced to 10mg and to quit after 7 days. On day 2 of 10mg. has anyone else experienced this? I do not want to take the rest of these and possibly make things worse. I keep seeing if adverse reaction to stop. Is 6 weeks too long to stop? Daily severe anxiety, panic, diarrhea, weight loss, no appetite for 8 days now. 

History: I started having panic attacks out of the blue 4 months ago after being good for years. I went to my new pcp. She said my Sertraline dosage of 50mg once per day was sub therapeutic and told me to stop taking that and prescribed Prozac 20 mg daily. I felt a heaviness in my eyes and slight depression and nothing else really for a month. No panic attacks, flew to Florida, presented for work, came back. 6 weeks in while husband away - huge downward shift almost like a switch! Severe anxiety and panic, diarrhea, not eating for a week, losing weight fast. Think I’m dying. Drive to ER 2nd day of this week. All blood results looks good, negative for Covid, rehydrated and diagnosed with unknown stomach gi issue. Pcp replies 5 days later and changes to 10 mg for 7 days then for me to quit. I’m on day 2 of 10 mg and am just wondering what the heck happened?! Was this a delayed adverse reaction? I don’t even want to take the remaining 10mg thinking I will have more reactions Wishing I had never got on this. Was so proud of myself for getting off clonazepam at a very slow taper 6 months ago and now this! I’m look forward to being free and finding homeopathic or a better solution then this. 

Thank you!
Prozac - 10 mg - mar 2022 
Prozac - 20 mg - Jan 2022 - mar 2022
Sertraline - 50 mg - 2016-2022
Clonazepam - .25 mg 2016-2021 (tapered and completed sept 2021)

2007-2013 lexapro 
2015 - Jan 19 2022 50mg sertraline

2016– .5 mg clonazepam taper to September 2021 off

Jan 20 2022 20 mg fluoxetine 

Mar 5 2022 10 mg fluoxetine 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Happyjen888: Fluoxetine adverse reactions after 6 weeks - please help



Update. On day 3 of 10mg fluoxetine. Have noticed an improvement. Still waking with shakes and anxiety, eyes bothering me, not hungry and forcing myself to eat something. No diarreah since yesterday morning, noticing more times where I'm feeling more like me and able to sit at the computer and work. Brain fog and trouble concentrating still as I try to work. I have 4 pills left of 10mg. Have a psychiatrist appointment wednesday and a pcp appointment friday. I'm hopeful this will work it's way out and am wondering what I should do after the 10mg is up, continue on 10mg with a new script or quit the 10mg as my pcp originally recommended. This will be a total of 7 weeks on 20mg for 6 weeks and 1 with 10mg once complete. Any thoughts? Thank you.

2007-2013 lexapro 
2015 - Jan 19 2022 50mg sertraline

2016– .5 mg clonazepam taper to September 2021 off

Jan 20 2022 20 mg fluoxetine 

Mar 5 2022 10 mg fluoxetine 

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  • Moderator

Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a volunteer-run community of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  I'm sorry to hear that you had this sudden reaction after 6 weeks of taking fluoxetine.


There could be a couple of things going on here.  Number one, yes, this may be an adverse reaction that you suddenly developed from the fluoxetine, especially since you noticed an improvement on day 3 of dropping your dose to 10 mg.  Number two, you could also be experiencing delayed withdrawal symptoms from having suddenly stopped the sertraline, which you had taken for 7 years.  You may be having a combination of withdrawal from sertraline, along with symptoms of an adverse reaction to fluoxetine.  I'll talk about this more later.  


Thank you for giving us your drug history.  


Here is some information about how these drugs actually work.   This explains why we get symptoms from going off of these medications.  


How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain



This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 


Video on Recovery from Psych Drugs


Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization



Here is a link with checklists of common WD symptoms: 


Dr Joseph Glenmullen Withdrawal Symptom Checklists



Here are some techniques to cope with symptoms: 


Non Drug Ways to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms


Stability is really important when we are tapering off psych meds.  Please read the link about stability:


Keep It Simple, Slow, and Stable



We don't suggest many supplements, but 2 that many of us find helpful are magnesium and omega-3 fish oil. Here are the links for info about those. It is suggested to add one at a time, and start with a low dose to see how it affects you. 


Omega 3 Fish Oil


Here is the dilemma when a person has an adverse reaction to a drug, yet their nervous system has become dependent upon it, which yours probably has, since dependency happens after 4 weeks.  If you jump off the drug too fast, you run the risk of incurring significant withdrawal symptoms, as your brain doesn't have a chance to adjust tot he removal of the drug.  We at SA suggest a very gradual 10% per month reduction schedule, calculating the 10% based on the current dose, so that the reductions become smaller and smaller.  So, the trick is balance the adverse reaction with the risk of withdrawal by tapering off the drug, but not so fast that you then incur a withdrawal situation which is worse than the adverse reaction.  In light of this, I would be extremely careful about jumping to zero a week after you were on the 10 mg, as your doctor suggested.  You may want to consider staying on the 10 mg for a bit longer, and allowing your nervous system to get used to this new lower dose first, before you reduce.  I will confer with the other staff, and get some input from some of the senior staff about this for you.  


It would help a lot if you could do a daily journal for us.  This will help us to see if there is in fact an adverse reaction to the fluoxetine.  this link will give you instructions on how to do this.  We especially want to know how you feel before, and then after, you take your dose of fluoxetine.  


Recording Drug Schedule and Symptoms


We will get back to you shortly.  In the meantime, hang in there, and realize that there is a way out of this, with time and patience.  



Please do not private message me or tag me.


***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.


Lexapro   Started Apr 15 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, 3 PM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2 mg


Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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Thank you @getofflex! Every day is getting a bit better. Trouble sleeping and I’m mindful of not hopping into bed too early. Wake up shaky and every morning less shaky then the one before. I take my pill after I wake up. I have felt more alert in the morning till the afternoon or early evening. My eyes have been bothering me, heavy, blurred vision, dry eyes. Headaches. I tell myself I’m ok, this will pass, and I’m not going to die. 

2007-2013 lexapro 
2015 - Jan 19 2022 50mg sertraline

2016– .5 mg clonazepam taper to September 2021 off

Jan 20 2022 20 mg fluoxetine 

Mar 5 2022 10 mg fluoxetine 

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  • Administrator

Welcome, @Happyjen888


On 3/6/2022 at 4:44 AM, Happyjen888 said:

6 weeks of 20 mg fluoxetine with severe adverse reactions in week 6.


Fluoxetine has a very long half-life; with its active metabolite, norfluoxetine, it can take as as much as 90 days to ramp to full effect. You started at 20mg and felt the effects of over-activation after it had ramped up over 6 weeks. 20mg was too much for you.


It's very possible you will find 10mg to be more tolerable. It probably will take some weeks for your nervous system to settle down from the upset of taking too much.


This is a site for going off drugs. Do you want to taper off fluoxetine?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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