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Sarafem

Generic Name: fluoxetine (floo OX e teen)
Brand Name: PROzac, Sarafem

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Aug 3, 2020 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is Sarafem?

Sarafem is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressant.

Sarafem is used to treat major depressive disorder, bulimia nervosa (an eating disorder) obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Sarafem is sometimes used together with olanzapine (Zyprexa) to treat manic depression caused by bipolar disorder. This combination is also used to treat depression after at least 2 other medications have failed.

If you also take olanzapine (Zyprexa), read the Zyprexa medication guide and all patient warnings and instructions provided with that medication.

Sarafem may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not use Sarafem if you also take pimozide or thioridazine.

Do not use Sarafem if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine. Wait at least 14 days after stopping an MAO inhibitor before you take Sarafem. Wait 5 weeks after stopping this medicine before you take thioridazine or an MAOI.

Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Sarafem if you are allergic to it, if you also take pimozide or thioridazine.

Do not use Sarafem if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine. You must wait at least 14 days after stopping an MAO inhibitor before you take this medicine. You must wait 5 weeks after stopping this medicine before you can take thioridazine or an MAOI.

Tell your doctor about all other antidepressants you take, especially Celexa, Cymbalta, Desyrel, Effexor, Lexapro, Luvox, Oleptro, Paxil, Pexeva, Symbyax, Viibryd, or Zoloft.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this medicine.

Ask your doctor about taking this medicine if you are pregnant. Taking an SSRI antidepressant during late pregnancy may cause serious medical complications in the baby. However, you may have a relapse of depression if you stop taking your antidepressant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of fluoxetine on the baby.

If you are breastfeeding, tell your doctor if you notice agitation, fussiness, feeding problems, or poor weight gain in the nursing baby.

Sarafem is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take Sarafem?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Swallow the delayed-release capsule whole and do not crush, chew, break, or open it.

Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

It may take up to 4 weeks before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve.

Do not stop using Sarafem suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using this medicine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

If you miss a dose of Prozac Weekly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember and take the next dose 7 days later. However, if it is almost time for the next regularly scheduled weekly dose, skip the missed dose and take the next one as directed. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking Sarafem?

Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of fluoxetine.

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how Sarafem will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired.

Sarafem side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights;

  • fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness (like you might pass out);

  • low levels of sodium in the body--headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady; or

  • severe nervous system reaction--very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out.

Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Common side effects may include:

  • sleep problems (insomnia), strange dreams;

  • headache, dizziness, drowsiness, vision changes;

  • tremors or shaking, feeling anxious or nervous;

  • pain, weakness, yawning, tired feeling;

  • upset stomach, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;

  • dry mouth, sweating, hot flashes;

  • changes in weight or appetite;

  • stuffy nose, sinus pain, sore throat, flu symptoms; or

  • decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Sarafem?

Sarafem can cause a serious heart problem. Your risk may be higher if you also use certain other medicines for infections, asthma, heart problems, high blood pressure, depression, mental illness, cancer, malaria, or HIV.

Using Sarafem with other drugs that make you drowsy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before using opioid medication, a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures.

Ask your doctor before taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others. Using an NSAID with Sarafem may cause you to bruise or bleed easily.

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines. Many drugs can affect Sarafem, especially:

This list is not complete and many other drugs may affect Sarafem. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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