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The eMC  

Last Updated 18 Apr 2013

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Fluoxetine 20mg capsules

Fluoxetine hydrochloride (Floo-ox-et-een hi-droh-clor-ride) is a medicine which is used in bulimia nervosa, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

The information in this Medicine Guide for Fluoxetine varies according to the condition being treated and the particular preparation used.

There are 2 preparations of Fluoxetine available. If Fluoxetine 20mg capsules is not the preparation you are looking for, please select from the drop down list below.

Select your preparation (type) of Fluoxetine

Fluoxetine 20mg capsules

Information specific to Fluoxetine 20mg capsules when used in Depression

Your medicine

Fluoxetine hydrochloride is used to treat a variety of mental health problems. It is thought that Fluoxetine hydrochloride increases the activity and levels of certain chemicals in the brain. This can improve symptoms such as depression and anxiety.

In the early stages of taking Fluoxetine hydrochloride, suicidal thoughts and behaviour may be seen in some people. These people have an increased risk of self-harm or suicide in the early stages of taking Fluoxetine hydrochloride. As Fluoxetine hydrochloride starts to work these risks decrease.

If you are taking Fluoxetine hydrochloride, or you care for someone who is taking Fluoxetine hydrochloride, you need to look out for changes in thoughts or behaviour that could be linked to self-harm or suicide.

If you notice any of these changes or are worried about how Fluoxetine hydrochloride is affecting you or someone you care for, you should contact your prescriber, a mental health professional or NHS Direct as soon as possible.

It is important that you discuss with your prescriber how long it will take before you can expect to feel any benefits from taking Fluoxetine hydrochloride.

Do not share your medicine with other people. It may not be suitable for them and may harm them.

The pharmacy label on your medicine tells you how much medicine you should take. It also tells you how often you should take your medicine. This is the dose that you and your prescriber have agreed you should take. You should not change the dose of your medicine unless you are told to do so by your prescriber.

If you feel that the medicine is making you unwell or you do not think it is working, then talk to your prescriber.

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When to take your medicine

Some medicines work best if they are taken at a specific time of day. Getting the most benefit from your medicine can also be affected by what you eat, when you eat and the times at which you take other medicines.

Specific information on when to take Fluoxetine hydrochloride can be found in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine or on the medicine label. You can also ask your doctor or pharmacist for information about when to take your medicine.

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How to take your medicine

Some medicines have specific instructions about how to take them. This is because they work better when taken correctly. These instructions can include getting the right dose and special instructions for preparing the medicine.

Specific information on how to take Fluoxetine hydrochloride can be found in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine or on the medicine label. Alternatively, you can request information about how to take your medicine from your doctor or pharmacist.

If you are having problems taking this form of Fluoxetine hydrochloride, you should talk to your prescriber or pharmacist. They may be able to give you advice on other ways to take your medicine or other preparations that are easier for you to take.

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Taking too much of your medicine

Taking extra doses of some medicines can be harmful. In some cases even one extra dose can cause you problems. If you take extra doses of your medicine, you must get medical advice immediately. You may need a test to assess the effect of taking extra doses. This is because the effects of taking too much medicine are very complex so it is very important that you seek medical advice.

Contact your prescriber, pharmacist, specialist clinic or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 for advice.

Make sure you take all of your medicine containers with you if you are advised to go to hospital.

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Stopping your medicine

If you are not having any problems taking this medicine then do not stop taking it, even if you feel better, unless advised to do so by your prescriber. If, however, you find that this medicine is causing you problems then you should talk to your prescriber about your concerns.

If your medical team decides that it is best that you do not take this medicine any more, they may advise that you do not stop Fluoxetine hydrochloride abruptly. This is because, in some instances, stopping Fluoxetine hydrochloride abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms or cause your original condition to return. In these instances, reducing the dose of Fluoxetine hydrochloride gradually over time may reduce the chances of having these problems.

If you are in any doubt, contact your prescriber, pharmacist, specialist clinic or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

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Looking after your medicine

The instructions on how you should keep your medicine are on the pharmacy label. It is a good idea to keep your medicine in the original container. This will help to keep your medicine in the best condition and also allow you to check the instructions. Do not take the medicine if the packaging appears to have been tampered with or if the medicine shows any signs of damage. Make sure that the medicine is out of the sight and reach of children.

Specific information on how to look after Fluoxetine hydrochloride can be found in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine or on the medicine label. Alternatively, you can request information about how to look after your medicine from your doctor or pharmacist.

You must not take the medicine after the expiry date shown on the packaging. If you have any unused medicine, return it to your pharmacist who will dispose of it safely.

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Whether this medicine is suitable for you

Fluoxetine hydrochloride is not suitable for everyone and some people should never use it. Other people should only use it with special care. It is important that the person prescribing this medicine knows your full medical history.

Your prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all if you:

Furthermore the prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all for child under eight years of age.

As part of the process of assessing suitability to take this medicine a prescriber may also arrange tests:

  • to check that this medicine is not having any undesired effects
  • to determine whether or not the medicine is suitable and whether it must be prescribed with extra care

Over time it is possible that Fluoxetine hydrochloride can become unsuitable for some people, or they may become unsuitable for it. If at any time it appears that Fluoxetine hydrochloride has become unsuitable, it is important that the prescriber is contacted immediately.

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Side-effects

A medicine is only made available to the public if the clinical trials have shown that the benefits of taking the medicine outweigh the risks.

Once a medicine has been licensed, information on the medicine's effects, both intended and unintended, is continuously recorded and updated.

Some side-effects may be serious while others may only be a mild inconvenience.

Everyone's reaction to a medicine is different. It is difficult to predict which side-effects you will have from taking a particular medicine, or whether you will have any side-effects at all. The important thing is to tell your prescriber or pharmacist if you are having problems with your medicine.

Very common: More than 1 in 10 people who take Fluoxetine hydrochloride

Common: More than 1 in 100 people who take Fluoxetine hydrochloride

Uncommon: More than 1 in 1000 people who take Fluoxetine hydrochloride

Rare: More than 1 in 10,000 people who take Fluoxetine hydrochloride

Very rare: Fewer than 1 in 10,000 people who take Fluoxetine hydrochloride

The frequency of these side-effects is unknown

The following side-effects have also been reported in children and adolescents who take medicines similar to Fluoxetine hydrochloride. The frequency of these side-effects is unknown

  • delay in the onset of puberty and development of sexual organs
  • feelings of hostility
  • growth suppression or reduced weight gain

If you feel unwell or if you have concerns about a side-effect, you will need to seek advice. If you feel very ill, get medical help straight away. Contact your prescriber, pharmacist, nurse or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

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Taking other medicines

If you are taking more than one medicine they may interact with each other. At times your prescriber may decide to use medicines that interact, in other cases this may not be appropriate.

The decision to use medicines that interact depends on your specific circumstances. Your prescriber may decide to use medicines that interact, if it is believed that the benefits of taking the medicines together outweigh the risks. In such cases, it may be necessary to alter your dose or monitor you more closely.

Tell your prescriber the names of all the medicines that you are taking so that they can consider all possible interactions. This includes all the medicines which have been prescribed by your GP, hospital doctor, dentist, nurse, health visitor, midwife or pharmacist. You must also tell your prescriber about medicines which you have bought over the counter without prescriptions.

The following medicines may interact with Fluoxetine hydrochloride:

The following types of medicine may interact with Fluoxetine hydrochloride:

If you are taking Fluoxetine hydrochloride and one of the above medicines or types of medicines, make sure your prescriber knows about it.

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Complementary preparations and vitamins

Medicines can interact with complementary preparations and vitamins.

Make sure you tell your prescriber the names of all the complementary preparations and vitamins that you are taking or are planning to take.

Your prescriber can then decide whether it is appropriate for you to take combinations that are known to interact.

In the case of Fluoxetine hydrochloride:

If you have been prescribed Fluoxetine hydrochloride you should only take something on the above list on the specific advice of your prescriber or pharmacist.

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Driving and operating machinery

When taking any medicine you should be aware that it might interfere with your ability to drive or operate machinery safely.

In the case of Fluoxetine hydrochloride:

  • this medicine could affect your ability to drive or operate machinery

You should see how this medicine affects you before you judge whether you are safe to drive or operate machinery. If you are in any doubt about whether you should drive or operate machinery, talk to your prescriber.

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Diet

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your prescriber may advise you to avoid certain foods.

In the case of Fluoxetine hydrochloride:

  • there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when taking Fluoxetine hydrochloride
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Alcohol

Alcohol can interact with certain medicines.

In the case of Fluoxetine hydrochloride:

You should seek advice from your prescriber as to whether you may drink alcohol while taking this medicine.

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Family planning and pregnancy

Most medicines, in some way, can affect the development of a baby in the womb. The effect on the baby differs between medicines and also depends on the stage of pregnancy that you have reached when you take the medicine.

In the case of Fluoxetine hydrochloride:

  • you should only take this medicine during pregnancy if your doctor thinks that you need it
  • if you take this medicine during pregnancy, particularly during the late stages of your pregnancy or just before labour starts, your baby may have some problems after birth. Also, your baby may have withdrawal symptoms from Fluoxetine hydrochloride after birth

You need to discuss your specific circumstances with your doctor to weigh up the overall risks and benefits of taking this medicine. You and your doctor can make a decision about whether you are going to take this medicine during pregnancy.

If the decision is that you should not have Fluoxetine hydrochloride, then you should discuss whether there is an alternative medicine that you could take during pregnancy.

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Breast-feeding

Certain medicines can pass into breast milk and may reach your baby through breast-feeding.

In the case of Fluoxetine hydrochloride:

Before you have your baby you should discuss breast-feeding with your doctor or midwife. They will help you decide what is best for you and your baby based on the benefits and risks associated with this medicine. You should only breast-feed your baby while taking this medicine on the advice of your doctor or midwife.

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Ingredients of your medicine

Medicines contain active ingredients. They may also contain other, additional ingredients that help ensure the stability, safety and effectiveness of the medicine. They are also added to improve the medicine's taste and appearance and to make it easier to take. Some may be used to prolong the life of the medicine.

This medicine contains fluoxetine hydrochloride.

We are unable to list all of the ingredients for your medicine here. For a full list, you should refer to the patient information leaflet that comes with this medicine. You should check that you are able to take the ingredients of your medicine, especially if you have any allergies. You should also check whether any of these ingredients are known to have side-effects.

If you are not able to take any of the ingredients in your medicine, talk to your prescriber or pharmacist to see if they can suggest an alternative medicine. If you have reacted badly to Fluoxetine hydrochloride before, do not take Fluoxetine hydrochloride. Talk to your prescriber, pharmacist or nurse as soon as possible.

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Fluoxetine hydrochloride, Version 13, last updated 18 Apr 2013