Prozac Detox: Risks And Withdrawal Symptoms

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 11, 2021

Prozac (fluoxetine) is a prescription antidepressant. Stopping Prozac all at once, or cold-turkey, may cause side effects known as withdrawal. Withdrawal may be a sign of physical dependence. Treating this may require dosage tapering or detox.

How To Detox From Prozac

Prozac (fluoxetine) is a prescription antidepressant medication. It belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.

Taking Prozac regularly for months or years can cause drug dependence and withdrawal. Withdrawal can be physical, emotional, and psychological in nature.

Find out more about antidepressant detox programs

Do You Need To Detox From Prozac?

Weaning off Prozac, or undergoing the detox process, is highly recommended if you:

  • have been taking Prozac for at least six weeks
  • have been taking high doses of Prozac
  • have been misusing Prozac alone or in combination with other drugs

Prozac is frequently prescribed as a treatment for depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), some eating disorders (e.g. bulimia), and panic attacks.

Taking Prozac regularly for more than a few weeks can cause drug dependence, as a result of Prozac’s effects on the brain.

Stopping Prozac very suddenly, or all at once, is not generally advised. This could risk serious side effects and symptoms of serotonin discontinuation syndrome.

Prozac Detox And Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms of Prozac withdrawal may begin within the first two weeks of either tapering off Prozac or stopping Prozac all at once (not recommended).

Signs and symptoms of Prozac withdrawal may include:

  • irritability
  • agitation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • agitation
  • nightmares
  • tremors
  • mood swings
  • changes in appetite
  • numbness or tingling sensations
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep

Decreasing the amount of Prozac you take over a period of time (i.e. tapering) can help prevent serious withdrawal symptoms during the detox process.

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How Long Does Prozac Withdrawal Last?

Detoxing from Prozac may take several weeks, if tapering. Prozac is a long-acting medication that can stay in the body longer than other short-acting antidepressants.

Factors that can affect this timeline may include:

  • duration of Prozac use
  • dose taken
  • use of other drugs
  • drug abuse or addiction
  • body composition
  • certain medical conditions

Symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal may last for several weeks or potentially months, depending on how long you’ve taken Prozac and the nature of your drug use.

Risks Of Prozac Detox

Prozac detox can pose certain risks. Primary risks associated with Prozac detox include antidepressant discontinuation syndrome and relapse.

Serotonin Discontinuation Syndrome

Serotonin discontinuation syndrome, or antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, is a condition that can develop if you stop an SSRI medication like Prozac too rapidly.

Signs of this condition include:

  • rebound anxiety or depression
  • suicidal thoughts
  • flu-like symptoms
  • stomach pain or cramping
  • lightheadedness
  • blurred vision
  • “electric shock” sensations (i.e. “brain zaps”)
  • tremors
  • aggression

Discontinuation symptoms from stopping Prozac too quickly or all at once may begin within as little as hours after missing your first dose and can last one to two weeks.

Rebound Depression

Stopping Prozac may result in a return of depressive symptoms in some people. This will depend on factors such as your mental health history and the reason you’re taking Prozac.

Depression relapse is a higher risk in those who detox from Prozac too rapidly. For this and other reasons, weaning off moderate to high doses of Prozac is recommended.

How To Detox From Prozac

Do not stop taking Prozac without first consulting your doctor. A doctor will typically recommend slowly reducing the dose of Prozac you’re taking over a period of time.

The best course of action for detoxing from Prozac is to make a detox plan with a doctor, who can offer guidance on when and how to begin tapering.

If you have a substance use disorder, or have been abusing Prozac, substance abuse treatment may be recommended.

Tapering Off Prozac

Tapering off Prozac, also known as weaning off, is the safest way to detox from Prozac.

This can help prevent moderate to severe symptoms of withdrawal, including agitation, severe depression, and moderate to severe physical symptoms of withdrawal.

How long it takes to fully taper off Prozac will depend on your current dosage, how long you’ve been taking Prozac, and other personal factors.

Prozac Detox Programs

Drug detox is the first step on the road to recovery from drug abuse or addiction. If you have been misusing Prozac alone or with other drugs, a detox program may be needed.

Detox services are offered by drug and alcohol detox facilities, as well as some inpatient treatment centers and outpatient substance abuse treatment providers.

Prozac Detox FAQs

Have questions about Prozac detox? Find answers to frequently asked questions about antidepressant detox, withdrawal, and addiction treatment options here.

❓ What Happens If You Suddenly Stop Taking Prozac?

✔️ Stopping Prozac all at once, or “cold turkey,” may cause emotional distress and physical discomfort. This could cause rebound depression, as well as discontinuation syndrome.

❓ What Helps With Prozac Withdrawal?

✔️ The discomfort of Prozac withdrawal can be relieved by ensuring you undergo a tapering process, rather than stopping Prozac all at once.

If you’re struggling with Prozac abuse or addiction, finding a drug treatment program for detox and withdrawal may also be beneficial. This can offer a higher level of care and support.

❓ When Does Prozac Withdrawal Start?

✔️ Withdrawals can begin within hours of your last dose. For some, it may take days or up to two weeks for withdrawal symptoms to appear. This can vary based on personal factors.

Find Detox And Treatment For Prozac Abuse

Millions of Americans misuse prescription drugs, including antidepressants like Prozac, each year. If this describes you or a loved one, help is available. You’re not alone.

Treatment options for Prozac abuse include:

  • substance use and mental health counseling
  • psychiatric support
  • recovery support groups
  • dual diagnosis treatment
  • inpatient or residential rehab

Call our confidential helpline today to learn more about Prozac detox and how to find a treatment program for Prozac abuse that’s right for you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 11, 2021

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