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Prozac (Fluoxetine) Withdrawal: Symptoms + Duration

Prozac (Fluoxetine) is among the most popular antidepressant medications on the market. It operates as an SSRI (selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor) meaning it prevents the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin. It is thought to help with both depression and anxiety, but it is also prescribed for a number of other conditions.

Although most people end up taking Prozac for a period of time to help them get through a rough patch and/or for major depression, many people do not like the idea of being on a medication for life – so they withdraw from it. Fortunately withdrawal from Prozac is widely regarded as being “easier” than most other major SSRI medications.

Most people seem to have considerably less withdrawal symptoms when quitting Prozac than they do quitting a medication like Paxil or Effexor. Part of the reason that withdrawal from Prozac may be considered relatively easy has to do with the fact that it has a longer half life. I do not mean to undermine the withdrawal from Prozac – as symptoms can still be difficult to deal with.

However, many people actually switch to Prozac to help ease withdrawal symptoms from other medications that have shorter half lives. Most SSRI’s are difficult to come off of – especially if you have been on them for an extended period of time.

Factors that influence Prozac withdrawal:

There are various factors that will influence your withdrawal period from Prozac. If you have been on the medication for years and are taking a relatively high dosage, it may be more difficult to quit than if you were only taking it for a few months. Generally, the longer you are on a medication, the more difficult it will be to quit, but there are other factors that influence withdrawal as well.

1. Time Span

How long have you been taking Prozac (or generic Fluoxetine)? If you have been taking the medication for longer than a year, it is going to be more difficult to come off of than someone who has only taken it for a few months. The time span that you took a drug is always going to influence the withdrawal process.

2. Dosage (10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg)

Generally Prozac is prescribed as one of four dosages. The range is from 10 mg all the way up to 60 mg. Someone who is taking just 10 mg is likely going to have an easier time coming off of the medication than someone who had been taking 60 mg.

Time span along with dosage plays a huge role in influencing withdrawal. Someone who takes 60 mg for a period of 5 years is going to struggle more with coming off of the drug than someone who took 20 mg for 8 months. Typically the greater the dosage, the more you will need to focus on a gradual tapering process.

3. Physiology

The phrase “everyone is different” holds true when it comes to medication withdrawal. Although two people may experience the same or similar symptoms, one person may have a more difficult time coping with them. For one individual the dizziness and headaches may cause them to panic and/or lead to “panic attacks.”

For another person experiencing dizziness may bother them, but may not elicit a panic response. Individuals with better familial and social support, healthier habits (e.g. diet and exercise), and more self-awareness will likely have an easier time withdrawing from Prozac.

4. Cold turkey vs. tapering

It is much easier to quit Prozac cold turkey than other SSRI medications. I have successfully quit this medication cold turkey with no major withdrawal symptoms. Individuals that have been on this medication for a long period of time and/or at a high dosage should still use a tapering method of withdrawal. It is never advised to quit “cold turkey” unless you are on an extremely low dose.

Note: In comparison to most antidepressants, fluoxetine has a long half-life.  In other words, Prozac stays in your system for a longer duration than other drugs after stopping. This is beneficial when it comes to withdrawal because SSRI’s with a short half-life tend to produce the most extreme withdrawal symptoms.

Prozac Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

The withdrawal symptoms that you will experience coming off of Prozac may not be the same as someone else. Everyone has a different reaction to medications as well as how their body responds and readjusts to life without the drug. Some people may experience very minimal withdrawal symptoms, while others may be plagued by seemingly everything on this list.

  • Agitation: Many people report feeling agitated, restless, and irritable while coming off of Prozac. This is a result of how they are feeling without the calming serotonin that was increased while they were on the medication. Now that they are coming off of Prozac, they experience somewhat of a polar opposite to relaxation.
  • Anger: Some people report feeling extremely angry and/or exhibit outbursts of rage while coming off of Prozac. With this medication, it is less common to feel extreme anger than other medications, but some people may get really upset. Very little things can trigger anger because the person withdrawing is going through a lot.
  • Anxiety: Since this medication helps calm a person down by treating both anxiety and depression symptoms, it is no wonder that they experience anxiety while coming off of the medication. Even if the person didn’t have a “chemical” imbalance before taking Prozac, they will have one after coming off of the medication as a result of withdrawal. The serotonin system will eventually reset itself back to homeostasis.
  • Blurred vision: People have reported weird effects from withdrawal on their vision. Some individuals experience blurred vision, while others see “floaters” (or small objects floating in their field of vision). Your vision is likely not affected in any way by the medication, but it may take your brain to readjust and thus recover from the withdrawal-induced vision changes.
  • Confusion: It is common to experience confusion and/or subtle amnesia when withdrawing. Extreme confusion is uncommon, but being slightly confused in addition to slowed cognition is all part of the process.
  • Crying spells: The emotional upheavals that you may experience while coming off of Prozac may feel unbearable. This may result in crying spells as a way to release some of the pain that you are experiencing. Just know that it is normal to cry as a result of the emotion that you are experiencing – it is uncontrollable emotion.
  • Depersonalization: Some individuals report feeling unlike their natural selves during withdrawal. They may feel like they have transformed into a zombie or that their “true self” will never come back. This is called “depersonalization” and is a result of brain chemistry changes and going through major withdrawal. Rest assured that you will eventually return to normal over time.
  • Depression: Feeling depressed while withdrawing from Prozac? This is because you were taking it to treat depression. When you stop taking it, you are going to feel depressed because your brain is no longer inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin. Even if you already have depression, withdrawing may make symptoms worse and more extreme.
  • Dizziness: As with all SSRI’s, Prozac withdrawal may result in dizziness and/or vertigo. This is a common symptom that will eventually subside. Try not to freak out – there is not something more extreme wrong with you, it’s just medication withdrawal.
  • Emotional numbing: It is common to feel emotionally numb as a result of withdrawal. This numbing makes some people feel like “zombies” or that they have zero emotions and contributes to depersonalization-like symptoms. This is something that I experienced to a degree with Prozac.
  • Fatigue: You may feel extremely tired or fatigued all day. The lethargy may be so extreme that you may have a difficult time completing various tasks. As weeks pass, you will eventually recover and begin to notice that your energy levels are starting to return to normal.
  • Headaches: You may experience minor or very intense headaches when quitting Prozac. It is not always easy to deal with them, but most of the severe headaches should subside within a couple weeks. The longer you are off the drug, the less severe these typically are.
  • Inability to concentrate: Withdrawal may lead to some people experiencing ADHD-like symptoms. You may not be able to concentrate in school and/or during work projects. It may seem as though no matter how you try, focusing on tasks is a lost cause. Your concentration will eventually return, but it will take time.
  • Insomnia: Some people are unable to fall asleep at night during withdrawal. Although tiredness is extremely common, so is insomnia. People may stay up well into the night just wishing that they could somehow fall asleep. It is the emotional upheavals and anxiety that keeps people awake.
  • Lightheadedness: In addition to dizziness and headaches, many people report feeling lightheaded during withdrawal. This actually may contribute to some people feeling dizzy – just know that it will eventually fix itself.
  • Memory problems: Many individuals have reported having memory problems and/or reduced capacity to remember things upon withdrawal. This is something that I’ve personally experienced and it’s certainly not fun. Do your best to cope with your memory impairment, it will eventually return to normal functioning.
  • Mood swings: One moment you may feel angry and you may quickly transition to feeling sad. The next hour your may feel aggressive and/or extremely anxious. As your brain recalibrates itself, you are going to experience changes in mood. Do your best to cope with whatever you experience.
  • Muscle pain: Many individuals report body aches, muscle weakness, and various muscular pains. These can be difficult to deal with, but know that they are only temporary.
  • Nausea: It is common to experience nausea, and in some cases, flu-like symptoms. The nausea may be extreme enough to trigger vomiting.
  • Night sweats: You may experience profuse sweating while you sleep. This is basically your body’s attempt to restore itself. Prozac affects us not only on a mental level, but also physically.
  • Panic attacks: This medication typically helps people with panic attacks, so when they come off of it, the panic may be way worse than when they initially started the medication. People may freeze up in social situations and/or randomly experience panic. This is a result of the brain being in a hypersensitive state and low serotonin levels.
  • Stomach pain: Feeling stomach cramps and pains is pretty common during the early stages of withdrawal. This is just your body’s way of readjusting to life without the medication.
  • Suicidal thoughts: There are black box warnings on all antidepressants forewarning people about potentially experiencing suicidal thoughts. When you come off of a major antidepressant, it is common to experience suicidal thoughts. Many drug companies may hide this little fact, but having suicidal thoughts and urges during withdrawal is extremely common. Do whatever you can do recognize that these will likely subside in intensity over time.  However, if you are unable to cope with these thoughts, be sure to seek immediate professional help.
  • Tiredness: You may want to sleep all day and just stay in bed. The tiredness may be so extreme that you may think you have something wrong like chronic fatigue syndrome. You do not have chronic fatigue – you are going through withdrawal. It may take a lengthy period of time before you return to normal energy levels.

Prozac Withdrawal Duration: How long does it last?

There is no clear-cut answer for how long withdrawal from Prozac is going to last. It may take one person a few weeks to feel nearly 100% recovered from the symptoms, while it may take another person several months before they feel 75% recovered. There is no telling how long you are going to experience withdrawal symptoms. I personally barely experienced any withdrawal from Prozac, but it took me over a year to psychologically recover from Paxil withdrawal.

Most people in various discussion forums that have used the medication will suggest that it takes a fairly lengthy period of time, while others may suggest that withdrawal is very short term. It is best to ignore everyone and just realize that withdrawal will eventually come to an end. It may take you considerably longer than other people and in some cases it may take considerably less time than what other people are reporting – each experience is unique.

When coming off any antidepressant, do your best to stay socially involved in the community, interact with family and/or friends, and make sure that you do things to help take your mind off of the symptoms that you are experiencing. Various healthy activities include: exercising, getting sunlight, eating healthy foods, and socializing. Try to not dwell on the symptoms even if they seem overwhelming – they will eventually pass. Stay busy, keep your head up, and realize that time heals all emotional wounds.

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{ 329 comments… add one }
  • Michael October 4, 2016, 6:08 am

    I had to quit cold turkey. I had researched tapering, but I couldn’t get a syringe to measure out amounts. I’m having bad withdrawal now, with the foggy mind, few memory issues, lightheadedness, dizziness, brain buzzes, body pain (which I had anyway, but it feels worse now), and worse than usual irritability. I’ve always had sleep problems, but now I’m getting nightmares again since I’ve been off Prozac. Also, has anyone else had problems like mild aphasia? It’s like I can’t find the right words often.

  • Penny October 3, 2016, 12:55 pm

    I have been on 80 mg/day of Prozac for the last 4 years. After reading some of the comments, I’m a little apprehensive on tapering down/stop the drug. Has anybody been on this dosage for this many years and how are you doing now? How long did the WD symptoms last? Would appreciate any info you would be willing to share with me.

  • G October 1, 2016, 10:11 pm

    I have been on 80 mg every morning for 4 years. My doctor cut me to 40mg last week and I’m not doing well. Besides the violent outbursts, the shaking all the time, feeling confused, tired and can’t remember anything. Most of the other withdrawal symptoms also, I am isolated in my own home by choice and I’m seeing things that just aren’t there. Called my dr. No response. Now what?

  • Randy September 28, 2016, 9:11 pm

    Thanks for this. I been on Prozac for 5 years. Due to some financial issues, going to a doctor has become a bit hard to afford. So I ran out. Been off it for a week now. I do get those brain buzzes which I find kinda fun. Like a glitch in the matrix. I am dizzy and irritable. I was irritable on the pills so that’s no change. I know the feeling of depression and to everyone that is on Prozac or is coming off it, be strong.

    • Peanuts September 29, 2016, 7:06 am

      Be strong… Cold turkey is HARDCORE, take care.

  • April September 18, 2016, 6:45 pm

    Has anyone ever had any heart palpitations as part of withdrawal from prozac? I used to have them but haven’t in a while. But now weeks after tapering from 60mg my palpitations are coming back off and on.

  • Sabrina August 28, 2016, 3:04 pm

    I have taken 40mg for over 2 years and just went cold turkey. I have bad headaches, dizziness, vertigo, and no sex drive. It really sucks I just want the feeling to go away, but my husband does not understand and just thinks it’s all in my head. It makes me feel like sh-t. Well I’m glad you all have a great support group. I wish you all the best.

  • Peter Low August 10, 2016, 7:26 am

    Hi. I’ve been on Prozac for 12yrs. I forgot to take for a week…just having too much fun during week off. Was on 10mg. So now I get sudden extreme pain in back of my head during exercise. This started 3 days ago. Headaches are debilitating. Could this be related to prozac WD? Going for CT scan tomorrow to check for ???

  • Eileen Iceman July 21, 2016, 1:08 am

    I have been on amitriptyline for about 35 years, fluoxetine for 20 years, and omeprazole for 15 years. The first two for help with migraines and the omeprazole for heartburn. I am a 68 year old female and although I still get migraines, they are less common and usually last 24 hours rather than 72. I decided I would like to wean myself off all three, and worked out a schedule with my doctor.

    For the last 10 years I have taken 20 mg of amitriptyline, 40 mg of fluoxetine and 40 mg of omeprazole daily. As of June 20, 2016 I no longer take any omeprazole. Around July 4, 2016 I was down to 5 mg of amitriptyline and 10 mg of fluoxetine every other day. I suddenly experienced uncontrollable weeping, panic attacks, anxiety, and horrible joint pain.

    I called my doctor and made an appointment and began taking 10 mg daily of both amitriptyline and fluoxetine immediately. I still have anxiety and panicky feelings and headaches and emotionalism. I am going to continue with the two medications, but wonder if I may need a higher dose.

    Also, does anyone have an opinion about trying to wean off all 3 drugs at once? Will my body adjust to the 10 mg doses and my symptoms improve? Thank you!

  • brenda July 7, 2016, 2:00 am

    I was on 60mg Fluoxetine for about a year. I was tired of how it made me feel, tired of paying for it monthly, and tired of not “being in the mood” lol I forgot to take it a couple days a few weeks ago and since I felt fine, I stopped taking it all together. I haven’t felt any withdrawals like some of you, which is a good thing.

    I can actually cry again, which was hard to do and sometimes a girl just has to cry. :) Seriously. I’m going to see my dr. tomorrow and he, I’m sure is going to be very mad at me for stopping cold turkey. But I don’t want to start up again. I want my body back. I hope everyone feels better soon! There has got to be a better way.

  • Jo July 4, 2016, 8:18 am

    I have been on fluoxetine for 8 years now. I started on 20mg, this was increased to 40mg after a few years but managed to drop back to 20mg last year with no side effects. I have now decided to wean myself off them completely.

    I started last week taking a 20mg every 2nd day. So far my withdrawal symptoms have been a frontal headache, lightheadedness, and low mood, irritability. I so hope these are withdrawal symptoms and not how I am underneath the medication. Will post next week. Thanks.

    • Jo August 8, 2016, 7:32 am

      5 weeks later… It has now been 6 weeks since I started the tapering process. Feeling exhausted, lightheaded, moody, low & sad. Will persevere. Still taking 20mg every 2nd day. Don’t know whether to keep this up for another few months and wait to see if I feel a bit better before coming off completely? Will post next month.

      • Jo August 30, 2016, 7:53 am

        It is now 9 weeks since I began the withdrawal process. Still taking 20mg every 2nd day. Headaches have stopped, mood still low. I am particularly irritable, snappy and moody with muscles aches and pains, prone to crying spells, aches especially in legs and back. Will keep persevering. I dream of the day when I can feel relatively normal again.

        • Chris September 6, 2016, 1:12 pm

          Hi Jo, thank you so much for reporting your progress. I’m in a really similar boat – took 20mg fluoxetine for 8 years, since last we’ve I’ve cut down to every second day. Currently feeling a lot more ups and downs, irritability, minor headaches, EXTREME tiredness, and a bit of nausea as well as trouble sleeping. Fun times :)

        • Cat October 23, 2016, 11:19 pm

          Hi Jo, How are you feeling now? Did you manage to continue to come off the fluoxetine completely? This would help me a great deal as I’m just about to start tapering. Hope you are well.

  • Jo July 2, 2016, 8:05 am

    I’ve been on 20mg Fluoxetine (Prozac) for 8 years now. I went up to 40mg after 5 years and back down to 20mg early last year and experienced no symptoms in dropping back to 20mg. I have now decided to wean myself off them. I am taking a 20mg every second day for the past week and so far… touch wood, the only withdrawal symptom have been a strong frontal headache which I am taking pain killers for… will update next week.

  • po June 14, 2016, 2:25 pm

    I have been on Prozac for a couple years and trying to get off of it. I only take 10 mg but still when I miss a couple doses I experience dizziness, zapping, muscle aches, and fatigue. I have a big exam coming up end of July and I have about a month left of the medication and have since moved out of state and do not have a doctor or medical insurance. I am scared to death that this will destroy my ability to pass my exam end of July! Any suggestions??

  • Eli June 2, 2016, 3:03 pm

    It’s been around two weeks that I’ve came off it. But it’s been hard because I’d sleep right after school, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and all last week I’ve been feeling nauseous and just a few days ago I threw up. Is that normal or is that a pregnancy symptom?

  • Emma May 24, 2016, 6:37 pm

    I was on 60mg/day for well over 4 years. I quit cold turkey about a month ago, and the withdrawal has been a living nightmare. The anger, sadness, and absolute fatigue are taking over my life. I feel like I’ll never be happy or normal again. I hate the fact that everyone on here has to live through this, but it helps immensely to hear that I’m not alone. Sending hugs and happy thoughts to everyone. Here’s hoping that ‘normal’ happens really soon.

    • Jill June 23, 2016, 2:05 am

      Same here. I’m reading this thread in hopes that I can stop relying on this medication, but it scares me more than anything. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • brenda July 7, 2016, 2:02 am

      Yes praying for Normal!

  • Joy May 21, 2016, 3:24 am

    I think tapering prozac is a process which should be carefully handled. I am my self doing it. To ease out the process I do pranayam, yoga, exercise, meditation, creative learning. I also take couple of homeopathic medicines. I took prozac for 5 years. Now alternate days. The taper should be very gradual, slow, systematic.

  • Donna May 17, 2016, 8:21 am

    Thank you so much for this article… I too seem to have all of the WD symptoms and have been freaking out that something serious was wrong but this has really put my mind at ease knowing this is “normal”. I will look forward positively and looking forward to the side effects going hopefully in the next month or so. Thank you again so nice to have this support. We are all amazing, strong, beautiful people who WILL get through this. :0)

  • lisa May 10, 2016, 10:07 am

    I was on 20mg prior to my hysterectomy due to PMDD. I’ve decided to try to go off them feeling that it is time however I started training for a 5k…now I’m wondering if I should what till after. Mentally I feel good but physically I feel like my iron is LOW. Going to get blood work today to rule that out. However it just dawned on me maybe it’s Prozac withdrawal.

  • Annie May 9, 2016, 11:34 pm

    Hi everyone, I have never posted to a message board, but felt compelled to do so. I am a 35 year old female (5 years on 10 mg Prozac – it stopped working and I was reluctant to increase the dosage because I was well aware of the withdrawal symptoms). I have just recently decided I would like to wean off the Prozac after reading The Mood Cure, by Julia Ross, which is an excellent and comprehensive guide book for anyone who suffers from depression and anxiety.

    If you’ve never heard of AMINO ACID THERAPY for depression and anxiety, please do yourselves a favor and look into it. These aminos are safe and inexpensive and can be purchased at Wholefoods or your local health food store. They work to build and direct the neurotransmitters in your brain to produce serotonin and dopamine, among other things. Julia uses them in her clinic to aid clients in withdrawal of their SSRI medications and has great success.

    Just google AMINO ACID THERAPY FOR DEPRESSION and you’ll be amazed at what pops up. People are getting relief of their symptoms within – literally – minutes of their first dose of 5HTP or GABA (just two examples of many helpful amino acid supplements). I have hope for the first time in a long time that there is an alternative to anti-depressants.

    Before I begin the taper, I plan to read ‘The Antidepressant Solution’ to get some additional tips to make the transition a little smoother. Thanks to the previous poster for that tip. God Bless, Annie

  • Masen May 9, 2016, 7:52 pm

    Hi, I just started weaning on 30 mg of Prozac. I took 20 mg for 3 days, then started taking 10 mg last night. Today I experienced a high temperature. Not quite a fever, but I was warm and my cheeks felt burning hot. My mom said it might be a symptom of weaning off Prozac. Does this sound right? Let me know. Thanks!

  • Claire May 6, 2016, 7:38 am

    Hi, I have been on Prozac 20mg for about 5 years, I suspect mainly for menopausal madness rather than depression! I decided to come off it because although I have no obvious side effects, I have always struggled with weight and have realized over the last few years I have gradually put on more! I tried to diet (have been up and down for years – but just up at the moment!) but just can’t seem to get into it or lose weight. I had a light bulb moment and suddenly thought it may be the Prozac and did some research on the internet.

    Consequently, I took Prozac every other day for a week or two and then stopped. That was about 5 weeks ago. I would say it has gone quite well but I am on this site researching withdrawal symptoms as I’m having a fuzzy head and occasional breathlessness. I did ponder if it was the start of a heart attack because of my weight but having read the comments above, I feel it may be withdrawal symptoms and I could be getting off lightly!

    Has anyone else had a fuzzy head? Not so much dizzy, just fluffy. I really wish everyone well and it seems so different for each person, thank goodness for threads like this so people know they are not the only ones going through it. I shall plough on and hope that I continue to get off lightly, although it seems that I may not have hit the danger point yet!!

  • Jenni April 29, 2016, 10:53 pm

    I think this is an old-ish article but I wanted to post. It’s a great article and I have revisited it a few times since withdrawing from Lovan (Prozac). I am 15 days since last dose and have good and bad days. Very tired and sleepy and joint and body aches. Feet are the worst at the moment. I was prescribed Lovan to help me get off Cymbalta and it worked.

    I’m nearly 2 months since last dose of Cymbalta and have had none of the horrendous withdrawals that I previously suffered from Cymbalta when I tried to withdraw previously. I finally found a great psychiatrist which made a huge difference. Whilst I agree that anti-depressants help a lot of people, the withdrawals are hideous. I wish you all the best of luck in your endeavors.

  • Sue April 27, 2016, 12:24 am

    I stopped Prozac three weeks ago. I’m so tired. I convinced myself I have a disease but after reading this sounds like withdrawal. Hoping it doesn’t last long. Absolutely no energy!

  • Rick April 25, 2016, 2:47 pm

    Hi. First, thanks to all who have written in to this and other sites that help people. Second, I am humbled by the responses here. My story is similar to many. I grew up under intense stress but did not know it. Over fifty years, I kinda wore down and found myself tired, sad, and empty. I was hurled further into that by a struggle with on and off again painkiller dependency, and then the loss of my mother and niece.

    My time finally came to start Prozac just to try it. At first I loved it because it settled me down inside. But then came dreams, sleeplessness, over-sleepiness and general sadness. I should add that I have only been taking ten milligrams daily and only for about 8 months. I am stopping today, cold turkey.

    I want to get back to my old self, but with some behavior modifications, not drugs. I will check back to see if anyone responds to this. I also wish everyone help with the barrage of chemicals being pushed at us all these days. Stay strong, stay natural as possible, and consider a vegan diet. Thank you.

    • Brynn March 22, 2018, 4:35 am

      Hi Rick. Curious how cold turkey went for you. My doc said I had a medically induced depression and put me on 10mg for 3-6 months. Told me I can stop anytime.

      I no longer feel dependent on it to function and realized I missed it today for the first time in four months. I have no clue how to taper off capsules at the lowest dose. Interested in how yours went as our background (dose and length of use) are so similar.

  • Mike Springer April 23, 2016, 1:57 pm

    I was on 20mg of Prozac for about 3 years. Prior to that 2 years on Amitriptyline. It was hell coming off the A. They should not prescribe that drug for anyone. I have been off the Prozac now for about 2 months. I think I’m still having most of the withdrawal symptoms however I will persevere as I want to eliminate all pharmaceuticals from my body.

    I am now trying natural supplements instead. It’s going to take 3/4 more months before the transition is complete and there will be no pharmaceuticals in me. Basically big business is in control of the medical system and if one drug doesn’t work try another, then another, then another! I’m sick of it. You just need to hang in there.

  • moody April 14, 2016, 5:59 am

    I’m also in withdrawal after 20 years or so on Prozac/fluoxetine for chronic low grade depression with several Major D’s behind me too. 40 mg and I tapered off. Now about 2 months in with none, but I take 20 mg Adderall for ADHD – for about 2 years only. I feel so bad I thought about going back on the Prozac in fear it is Depression moving in again.

    The thing that is upsetting is the doctors always say to keep ON it, and the symptoms of taking and not taking it are so similar. I have also come across major resistance to doctors admitting there may be a downside to the drug. Anyway, I know myself enough to seek help when needed, so will have to find another one that works. For years it has seemed to be a wonder drug, but the mind fog, the insomnia, the chemical feeling, the auditory hallucinations (sounds like a low nearby marriachi radio sometimes), serious memory problems.

    Now in withdrawal: weepy/crying, very foggy, very achey, very bitchy on a dime, feeling alone/persecuted, up all hours. Also an artist and can’t concentrate. Also having stress skin/hair problems. Lately (before tapering off) been really good. I know it’s chemical, especially after reading these commonalities. Thanks everyone for sharing this. Hope if I stay off this time I can focus without Adderall.

  • Terry April 6, 2016, 1:01 pm

    I thought I’d been loosing my mind! Some Dr’s saying it’s menopause, made me even more crazy! I’ve been going through all these symptoms including tinnitus for just about a year, which started slowly with body sweats. I am to the point of having 3 days of extreme anxiety, (that lasts for hours and hours only to return hours later), agitation, becoming irate and crying, locking myself in my room so no one see’s what I’m going through.

    I even break out in Shingles with so much anxiety or from being intolerant. The next few days are much more tolerable, and another 2 days of exhaustion so bad I don’t leave the house, and stay close to my bed. I thought it was because I was weaning myself of another med for migraines, Fiorinal. Never thought of the Prozac. I even get anxious just thinking what today will be like, or next week, LOL.

    My Dr put me on a low dose of Effexor, hoping it will help with the anxiety and “night sweats”. But will this help or hinder? Having smoked some medicinal weed lately, I think that’s the best bet for me. I just wish I knew when this stops, and having chronic pain from a botched back surgery doesn’t help, LOL.

    Was on Fluoxetine (prozac) for 11+ years, up to 60 mgs. This past year I was at 20mg’s and decreased to 10 mg. Been going through severe WD symptoms (including tinnitus).

  • Katharine April 3, 2016, 11:41 am

    This has been such a relief to hear. I’ve been on fluoxetine for menopausal symptoms (off label use) for prob 4-5 years. I’ve tried to taper myself without success and now about 3 weeks post zero tablets under direction of my GP. But last few days in particular the fatigue, lethargy has got worse, dizziness, shakes, etc. So I’m pretty relieved to not it’s not me but weaning off and will set some simple time mile posts to see me through. Thanks to everyone for their honesty and their sharing… it’s really helped.

  • granny April 1, 2016, 12:41 pm

    I am sorry to hear the trouble some of you folks are having in withdrawing from Prozac. I would like to say that the drug was a lifesaver for me. I took it for about 15 years and when I decided to get off of it, I followed the Dr’s instructions to taper off.

    I still had some slight confusion, depression and anxiety for a while. It all pretty much leveled out eventually. Considering the benefits I got from it, it was worth it. All medicines have a risk. Sometimes one has to weigh the benefits against the risks to determine if it is the right medication.

    • Margaret April 23, 2016, 10:11 am

      Hi Granny, Can you tell us your taper regimen? It may help some of us trying to come of meds. So glad it worked well for you.

  • Elle March 29, 2016, 10:02 am

    Hi, everyone. Really happy I came across this site – really sorry to see, though, that there are so many people suffering. In a nutshell I have been on Fluoxetine since July 2015 for depression / anxiety and OCD. I have also been taking Xanax at night since February 2013, gradually reducing the dosage. Since Xmas 2016 my doctor advised I cut the Fluoxetine dosage in half and then attempt taking it every other day.

    This seemed to be working out great, I felt like my old self again, my husband and I want to have a second baby and I badly want to live without drugs. So I quit (both Xanax and Fluoxetine) completely, beginning of March. For the past week I have been experiencing dizziness, congested nose, a weird feeling as if my brain “moves”, blurred vision, nightmares and the worst part is that some of my bad thoughts have been returning…

    I went today to have blood tests because I’m scared there is something very wrong with me and I’m now googling about all kinds of terminal illnesses, or about what my bad dream may mean… This has all been worsened by the fact that my dad had an accident and he is in the hospital. Come to think of it, the dizziness began the day I learned about his accident. I haven’t talked to my doctor (scared he will put me on drugs again).

    I try to stay social, exercise and continue my everyday life, but I’m scared to death. I really hope this will pass soon for all of us. All the best to everyone.

  • Sue March 24, 2016, 10:04 pm

    I have been coming off Flouxotine since November 2015, 4 months to be exact. I am having so many symptoms as I have been on them for 17 years! So far I’ve had mood swings, acid reflux, problems sleeping as my feet feel hot and tingly, and a great deal of pain in my spine, (I honestly thought I had rheumatoid arthritis, it’s been that bad!) I also need to lose weight which isn’t helping me.

    My GP wants to keep giving me medication for all sorts of things, but they appear to either do nothing or make things worse, I am finding it so tough at the moment, I just hope it will subside eventually. I am at present trying a diet that has serotonin in the food I eat, also I find that vitamin B complex helps with my feet and when I feel lethargic, I feel it’s given me a boost and I am taking co-coda mol for my pain.

  • Trina March 15, 2016, 11:02 am

    Trying to come off of Prozac after 3 years on 20mg. Was on lexapro for about 3 years after doing figure shows and destroying my internal system and thyroid after dieting hard for 8 months. The depression that hit when gaining normal weight back was terrible. Hence getting on the meds. I quit the lexapro and don’t remember having any side effects and I quit cold turkey.

    I stayed off meds about 2 years, then went back on because I was very short tempered with my family and had bouts of depression and I was over focused. So I’m older now and want to get control without the meds and would like to have a normal sex life again. (So would my husband!) I tried cold turkey but after two weeks I called my doctor and got a lower dosage. So I’ve been taking 10 mg like every other day. We went camping and I didn’t bring my meds with me so I went about four days without. Yesterday was the worst!

    Wanting to cry, depressed, exhausted. I finished work and just laid on the sofa. I shoot on a pool league and I called my friend and told her I was staying home. I have shot pool two days after major knee surgery! With my brace on! I don’t take time off! I broke down and took a pill yesterday, but I still don’t feel right this morning. Very tired, no motivation. I pushed myself to do a simple workout this morning. Please tell me this gets better!

  • Lois March 14, 2016, 7:27 pm

    I stopped taking Prozac a month ago. I have taken this medication off and on since the mid 1980s. Depression has plagued several members of my immediate family, and frankly I was skeptical that a pill could help. Much to my surprise and delight, I felt a dramatic positive effect almost immediately. I thought it was a miracle drug.

    Consequently, and against medical advice, I was sure that I was “cured” and stopped taking the medication after a very short time. Predictably, I crashed and burned a few days later. I repeated this insane cycle a few times with the same result. One alarming side-effect was the rages. I was a shocked by-stander while I watched myself scream at my children, red-faced and demonic.

    My poor kids still have terrible memories of those rages. I didn’t take Prozac for several years, but a few months after the sudden death of my husband in 1995, my doctor prescribed it for me. I confessed my previous experience and he extracted a promise from me that I would not stop taking it for two years. At the end of two years, I again stopped taking it with severe withdrawal symptoms.

    During the ensuing years, my depression problem rose and ebbed periodically. I tried generic Wellbutrin during this time with terrible consequences – constant thoughts of suicide. It was a horrible experience. I really can’t recall how often I stopped and started again taking Prozac. It seems that I was never able to make it for long without some medical intervention for my depression.

    My youngest son was killed in an automobile accident in 2002, and I know for sure that I have not stropped taking up from that time until a month ago. A psychiatrist increased the dosage to 40mg. from 20 mg. when I was in a detox facility for alcohol abuse in 2014. I stopped drinking and after a period of emotional upheaval while I adjusted to life without alcohol, I have slowly but steadily gotten to a point of emotional health and stability that I thought I should stop this medication.

    I took 10mg. every day for a week and had no adverse effect at all. In my ignorance, I did not know about the residual effect of Prozac. After about 3 weeks, I again began to experience the short temper and the surges of anger, along with periods of anxiety, dizziness, insomnia, and restlessness. I have not had periods of serious depression, but surely periods of dissatisfaction, frustration, and a general negative outlook.

    There is a temptation to say, “To hell with it, just take the damn medication” but I hate being addicted to anything. Being free from alcohol addiction and cigarette addiction makes be want to be free from anything that chemically controls my feelings and thinking. At this point, I’m not willing to give up, but it very difficult. I’m almost glad that I live alone. At least no one else has to put up with my crazy moods!

  • Krystina February 28, 2016, 7:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing everyone! I feel encouraged as I read these and see I’m not alone in this. I started taking fluoxetine in 2011 for a severe eating disorder, OCD and major depression. I saw instant results in my mood and felt like I could actually live life, I did not realize how depressed I truly was. I was 22 at the time and had been diagnosed with childhood OCD and depression, so I had been living life saddened for quite some time.

    Fast forward almost 5 years later and I suddenly stopped taking my medication. I am on 40 mg, doctor maybe wanted me up to 60 mg but I won’t take that much. My husband doesn’t know that I’ve stopped taking it, but I have noticed how irritable I am, how stressed out life is, how overwhelming simple tasks are daily. I also quit smoking about 6 weeks ago after 6 years, and I think maybe that also has a great deal to do with my mood.

    I guess what I am saying is, perhaps for some people it saves their lives. I plan on going back to 20mg and see how that goes. I unfortunately may be someone who needs this for life. I lived my whole childhood with depression, and OCD so I wonder if that is just the chemistry of my brain. I would love to exercise regularly, eat healthier, etc. – which is totally doable.

    With my OCD however, it always turns back into me obsessing about calories or running and I fall back into my eating disorder. I wish all those withdrawing off fluoxetine the best of luck, we ultimately have the say over our bodies, and we know what is best. Thank you all again for sharing! :)

  • Karin February 26, 2016, 11:24 pm

    I was on Prozac 20 years taking 20mg. Weaned myself a few weeks ago by alternating days and then stopping altogether. I feel a lot clearer as if a veil has been lifted and am not aware of any side effects yet…

  • Sarah February 14, 2016, 10:25 pm

    I’m in the process of going off Prozac and replacing it with Wellbutrin. I actually stopped taking Prozac last week before I started Wellbutrin. I was just diagnosed with ADHD and Wellbutrin has been shown to help with that. I’m feeling the yucky withdrawal I usual get from stopping Prozac – I’ve gone off it and replaced it with other antidepressants before – and they’re just like some of you are describing.

    I wonder if the Wellbutrin will curb some of the withdrawal. Does anyone else have experience with replacing one antidepressant for another?

  • AlisonJoy February 7, 2016, 6:45 pm

    Yes thank God for all of these posts about coming off of Fluoxetine. Coming off of it after being on for about 10 months, first at 20 then 10 mg and 5 mg for the last 2 months. I feel Very Crabby, irritable, lightheaded, short tempered, aggravated, bloated… ugh, not pretty.

    I had been on the drug a few years ago for a few months and the withdrawals were nothing like this. My eyes feel squinty and heavy, like I just want to lay down and rest, again, even though I should be well rested. I know that I am going to keep suffering through these symptoms because I REALLY want to be off of the drug.

    Thanks for everyone’s comments, so GOOD to know I am not alone with this situation. I need to get up and out, take a walk or something but think I may just take a little nap first. Glad it is the weekend and my time is my own, I am going to have to really suck it up when I go to work tomorrow. Peace! AlisonJoy

  • Lynda February 7, 2016, 8:03 am

    I have been taking my prozac pretty irregularly for the past year, but I think it’s been about 3 months since I stopped them totally. I didn’t attribute a lot of my symptoms to withdrawal because I wasn’t feeling anxious, but these all make sense. The last couple of weeks I’ve had bad vertigo and thought it was my sinuses, but they checked out fine.

    I guess I’m confused because it’s been 3 months and this new withdrawal symptom just popped up. Wouldn’t it have come up sooner? I had some headaches and stomach problems before but thought they were period related. If the vertigo is a new addition I really want it to go away, 2 weeks is long enough. I just don’t get where it came from, and I’m even starting to feel more spacey/out of it. But these weren’t happening to me a month or 2 ago.

    • Leslie February 8, 2016, 6:51 am

      Hi Lynda, I had the same thing happen. I stopped Prozac (tapered from 20mg) and had a lot of withdrawal symptoms and they escalated at 3 months and developed vertigo, my doctor gave me a med for it and it did not come back. I am currently 5 months w/o Prozac and still having headaches, nausea a few days a week, on/off insomnia, just developed RLS, had back pain for 4-5 days. It seems a different withdrawal symptom rears it’s head after another disappears. I am hoping this will not last a year as some people have talked about on other blogs. FYI – I was on 20mg of Prozac for 2 years.

  • Heather January 31, 2016, 12:48 pm

    Thank goodness I found this place! I ran out of meds and the last week has been physical hell. I also have a cold and so thought I had flu. I now have meds again, but am wondering if I should take them? I’m not sure how I feel mentally – less foggy but my memory is shot.

    My domestic life is pretty tough but I feel like I’m getting on with it without feeling “depressed” about it. I’m just so very tired and achy. Should I start the meds again on a low dose? Should I just go see the doctor and ask? Even this post is not making an awful lot of sense, I think…

  • Hope January 27, 2016, 4:01 pm

    Hi I’m curious if stopping Prozac can cause a person to become violent? My boss quits his medication often. It was a pattern he’d become unreasonable, paranoid and meaner than anyone I’ve ever encountered. He’d beg me not to quit and used stopping his medication as an excuse each time. He made threats against my life, he was horribly verbally abusive and not trusting. He’s insult my work, my person and attack every employees shortcomings.

    So like I said, a pattern of quitting his medication was always his excuse for the harsh unacceptable behavior. Oh he’d miss mandatory doctor appointments for refills that would be another reason he’d stop. I became very fearful of him and the erratic behavior. So would this cause these things? Do I need to worry of physical harm?

    • Dan January 29, 2016, 11:07 am

      I’ve been off Prozac completely since 24/12/15. I tapered over 6 months from 20mg to 2.5mg then stopped. I started emptying the contents of a capsule into 10ml of water using one of them little medicine measuring cups, and taking 5ml of the solution, so 10mg of Prozac a day, I would stick to that for awhile and then reduced again to 5mg, then 2.5mg.

      Over the past 6 years I’ve taken Sertraline, Mirtazapine, Citalopram, Lofepramine, Escitalopram, Venlafaxine, and finally Fluoxetine. Any time i’ve tried to quit in the past i’ve lasted a couple of weeks before the withdrawals became that bad I wanted to die. This time has been much easier, slightly irritable and occasional dizziness but nothing I can’t handle, so fingers crossed this is it this time.

      Best advice I can give is do a slow taper, you can do smaller reductions than I did if required. It’s hard when all you want is to be off this rubbish but take your time and your less likely to end up back on it.

  • Jerilee January 20, 2016, 7:01 am

    I’ve been taking 20 mg Prozac for 2.5 years. I was originally prescribed Zoloft, up to 300 mg per day. The dosage caused a crash and I’ve tried a couple of others – Lexipro and Citalipram. 3 weeks ago I saw my doc and asked to go up in the dosage of Prozac due to lethargy, fatigue, lack of interest in anything, feeling separate from myself. I went up to 40 mg and within 3 days the tears started then came the anxiety, the constant agitation etc.

    I stopped 3 days ago. The first day I stopped I began to feel better by the evening. My memory is coming back. I’ve actually done things like a little weeding and dishes! These sound small but are a huge improvement over the last many years living on antidepressants. So far no ill effects. I see my doc tomorrow and am loathe to go back on Prozac. I feel normal, clear headed, calm, focused. I don’t want to give this up. Seems like every antidepressant I’ve tried has been an experiment.

    I’ve been on ‘something’ for 24 years. The comments here are very helpful. I’m hoping to be able to stay off the Prozac and take a breather from having these substances in my body. If there is a medication out there that will help I’m willing. So far it’s been the opposite so I’m hoping my body can do well without anything. It’s really nice to feel ‘normal’ for a change.

  • Rich January 19, 2016, 7:36 pm

    Hi everyone this is a general comment on coming off Prozac. I have been on 20 mg for about 3 years, I tried to come off a couple of times both cold turkey style, it didn’t work out for me as I suffered a lot of the symptoms you have all mentioned. This Christmas break I ran out of tablets and decided to give coming off another go.

    Interestingly this has also coincided with me doing dry January, a first time in 25 years, roughly, I have stayed off the booze. The effect feels miraculous, as 4 weeks in I still have no wild moods, tearfulness and I kind off feel like a fog has lifted. My advice is if you’re drinking and taking tablets, kick them both until you find your feet. It’s very refreshing. I hope it works for you if you read this. Good luck 🍀.

    • Andrew June 30, 2016, 12:26 pm

      Thanks for the comment. Alcohol is my biggest problem and I feel like I have never given the Lovan a proper chance to work. I am currently working my way towards being alcohol free (not forever – just a start towards reducing intake) and hopefully stay off the meds for good.

  • G2 January 14, 2016, 7:42 pm

    I have taken Fluoxetene before and stopped without withdrawls and stayed off for 10+ years. I recently started taking it again to help me cope with Misophonia. It helped but the side effects were like the symptoms of withdrawal that many have posted here. Has anyone else been experiencing this (side effects that are the same as in the list of withdrawal symptoms) while taking the Prozac, or just when stopping it? I’m tapering – stopping it now and I am hoping these side effects will diminish.

  • Sunshine January 14, 2016, 12:18 am

    I lost my son & took 20 mg for about 7 years & tapered to 10 mg. I stopped cold turkey about 2 & 1/2 months ago. The first month & 1/2 not so bad. I have new neighbors who keep me up at night and are noisy. This is making me anxious & sad. I also got laid off work after working over twelve years at the same job. I am so tired of looking for work.

    Trying to stay positive. Feel tired a lot & unable to focus lately. Continue to put my resume out there & socialize with friends. Feel stuck kind of. Guess need to be patient & these withdrawal symptoms will go away.

  • Peter January 11, 2016, 5:01 am

    Hi Everyone, I have been on Lovan for 5 years now, I am 21 years old. Just recently I went off them for 2 weeks, not on purpose, but because I got lazy and didn’t go and get them. After being off them for 2 weeks I felt no difference and thought, I will go off them completely. Though unfortunately I made the decision to go back on them in order to *get off them properly*.

    So after the 2 weeks, I went back on them for 6 days and started feeling withdrawals. I told my doctor about all this info and he said that if you could do it for 2 weeks previously, then just stop again forever. So I have stopped now for 5 days and I am actually feeling pretty sh*tty. What I really want to know is, I am going to Thailand on the 27th of January (15 days away) and I want to feel good for my holiday.

    Do I go back on them or stay off them now? And also, PLEASE, someone let me know if they have had a successful story of getting off these things for good – I would love to hear from you so I can restore some faith. Thank you.

  • elizabeth January 6, 2016, 12:41 am

    I was on prozac for 12 years. My physician put me on 20m of prozac when I told him that I was crying all the time because my husband died. What a dope I was to listen to him! I was on the drug for 12 years. In Feb 2015, I decided to stop taking the drug. I took a month to withdraw skipping a pill every few days. I have been experiencing memory problems since. I’m praying it’s not Alzheimer’s! (There is no one in my family that has had Alzheimer’s). Has anyone out there experienced memory loss and recovery of memory?

  • SJ January 5, 2016, 5:35 pm

    I would like some advice on withdrawal please. I was on 20 mg prozac for about 5 years and 3 years ago I came off, after a 3 month taper. I started to get a serious ringing in my ears and severe insomnia and then I had a year of anxiety, terrible insomnia and intense anger which got worse and worse. The doctor said that I was obviously depressed and advised me to go back on the prozac, which after a year I did, starting with 40mg as the symptoms were so bad.

    A year later, one year ago, I lowered the dose and started suffering drowsiness and fatigue which lasted 5 months. Then in September I started suffering from the drowsiness and fatigue again and the doctor eventually told me that I needed to come off the prozac as it wasn’t working for me any more. That was about 3 weeks ago. I had a week tapering and then started sertraline.

    Since then the drowsiness has got worse, accompanied by really bad tinnitus. My query is about the year I had with anxiety, anger and insomnia. Could that have been withdrawal from the prozac? It didn’t get any better over the year – if anything it gradually got worse and worse. At the time I suspected that it was withdrawal as every so often my face would go numb, which was one of my symptoms when I first came off prozac but the doctor said that the symptoms had gone on far too long and I was just depressed/anxious again.

    (I had suffered form anxiety for a couple of years previously, which had led to CFS, which was why I had gone on the prozac to begin with.) Could that year have been withdrawal? In which case what do I do now? I can’t go back on prozac as it had started to have a bad effect on me. I’m a bit despairing at the moment – I have recently had to put my PhD on hold because the drowsiness got so bad and I’m dreading the withdrawal if it’s going be as bad as last time.

  • Name January 4, 2016, 9:21 am

    Scary World, it’s been 4 and a half weeks for me since I went cold turkey and switched to new meds, and I agree…the suicidal thoughts for the most part are gone. Even with the mood swings, physical symptoms, and agitation, I’ve managed to accomplish more in the past month than I have in years.

    I never used to think it, but I’m starting to think the healthy eating/herbal/minimal anxiety medication approach is the way to go for people without much bigger issues like psychosis/borderline/histrionic/schizophrenia, etc. Taking a med or med combination that just takes the edge off without any side effects or chance of addiction makes more sense to me than taking an SSRI that at best just gives you the false impression that things are better, and then stops working altogether and makes you want to end your life.

  • Scary World December 31, 2015, 12:18 pm

    I have been on Prozac since 1995. Wanted to get off of it because of suicidal thoughts at times was overwhelming. Taking 40mg for about ten years. Went cold turkey in November and I have had mild panic attacks that I got under control, dizziness, and some confusion. Taking Herbal supplements to help with some of the withdrawal effects. I am hoping that as I adjust I will be doing better. One good thing is I am not overwhelmed with suicidal thoughts anymore.

  • Name December 30, 2015, 3:59 am

    Update from my last post on December 19 – I don’t really notice much of a difference between not being on Prozac even with the detox just about being over. To think that while the Prozac wasn’t helping, this is just who I am, is a horrible feeling especially considering I likely have several decades left on this earth.

    The big problem with the Prozac was an excessive interest in women romantically and sexually (way past any normal guy level) and also excessive use of the internet in general. Both of those are gone for the time being anyway, but everything else is there and physical symptoms I never had before in my life.

  • Melody December 29, 2015, 10:34 pm

    I am a 61 year old woman who started taking Prozac when I was around 40. Over those 20 years I tried to go off of it 3 times. I didn’t make it more than 3 weeks when my depression would manifest itself in suicidal thoughts. I tapered off my 40 mg in mid-August 2015 and seemed to be doing okay until the end of October 2015 when I felt like I had been hit by a truck.

    My doctor diagnosed a trapezius muscle (major muscle in the back) strain. He believed there were a number of factors that could have contributed to the strain but now I am starting to think it’s a withdrawal symptom. I also lost almost all mobility in my neck and could barely move it from side to side. I am still suffering major pain in my back, however I did regain some flexibility in my neck motion.

    I have been to a chiropractor twice and have had numerous massages. One interesting piece of information I have come across is that antidepressants are often prescribed for people with chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia. There is also a strong link between depression and muscle aches and pain. I am curious if any of you have experienced severe back and neck pain after withdrawing from Prozac.

    If so, how long did it last? I am tempted to 10 to 20 mg of my left over Prozac to see if the pain goes away. Thanks for taking the time to read this post.

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