Sounds like 'floo-OX-e-teen'

Easy-to-read medicine information about fluoxetine – what it is, how to take fluoxetine safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Antidepressant
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Fluox Capsule®
  • Fluox Dispersible tablet®
  • Prozac®

What is fluoxetine?


  • The dose of fluoxetine will be different for different people. Your doctor will usually start you on a low dose and depending on your response, may increase this over time. This allows your body to get used to the medicine and reduces unwanted side effects.
  • Always take your fluoxetine exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much fluoxetine to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions relating to your medication.

How to take fluoxetine

  • Take fluoxetine at the same time each day. It is best taken in the morning.
  • Swallow the whole capsule with a glass of water. Do not open or chew.
  • If you have problems swallowing capsules, let your doctor know as you could be prescribed dispersible tablets which are dissolved in water and then swallowed. 
  • You can take fluoxetine with or without food.
  • Limit or avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking fluoxetine.
  • If you forget to take your dose, wait until the next day and take your normal dose then. Do not take double the dose.
  • Keep taking fluoxetine every day. It may take 4 to 6 weeks before you experience the full benefits of fluoxetine.
  • Do not stop taking fluoxetine suddenly; speak to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before stopping.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, fluoxetine can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Feeling sick (nausea) or vomiting
  • Stomach upset
  • Try taking fluoxetine after food
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Try taking fluoxetine in the morning
  • Feeling sleepy, drowsy, dizzy or tired
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist if troublesome
  • Feeling anxious or nervous
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in weight
  • Dry mouth
  • Impaired sexual function
  • These are quite common when you first start taking fluoxetine and usually go away with time
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist if troublesome
  • Worsening depression, or unusual changes in mood or behaviour
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116
  • Signs of serotonin syndrome such as feeling agitated and restless, heavy sweating, shivering, fast heart rate or irregular heart beat, headache, diarrhoea and rigid or twitching muscles
  • You are at increased risk of serotonin syndrome if you recently started
    taking fluoxetine or recently increased the dose
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116


Fluoxetine interacts with a number of important medications and herbal supplements so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting fluoxetine or before starting any new medicines.

Learn more

The following links provide further information on fluoxetine.

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet: Fluox

New Zealand Formulary Patient Information: Fluoxetine

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Dr J Bycroft. Health Navigator NZ Last reviewed: 12 Feb 2015