Can you go back on Prozac after stopping it? (good idea?)

As a BetterHelp affiliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided

In this blog post, we are going to talk about restarting prozac after stopping it. Prozac is an antidepressant which is used to treat a variety of mental health related problems. 

However, sometimes the medicine is discontinued but it results in depression or anxiety relapse, which can lead to restarting the treatment. This article is all about that. We will also discuss the circumstances which lead to the discontinuation of treatment in the first place. 

Can you go back on prozac after stopping it? 

Yes, you can go back on prozac after stopping it if you suffer from a relapse of the mental health condition for which you started using this antidepressant in the first place. 

Studies have suggested that most of the population taking prozac might need to restart it if the drug is stopped at any point of the treatment. However, this is not the case if you can’t tolerate prozac. 

If the med didn’t help relieve your symptoms previously, there’s no point of restarting it as nothing much will change this time and you will still experience little to no therapeutic results. 

Some studies suggest that restarting prozac may require dose escalation as there’s a chance that your antidepressant may not work on lower doses. 

So, this treatment is started with a moderate dose, which is increased if your doctor deems fit. Make sure you take your doctor’s approval before restarting your med as this is not something you should do on your own. 

What to expect when you start taking Prozac again?

There are a few common things you need to understand before restarting prozac. These include:

Your drug will not start working overnight 

When your healthcare provider recommends you to restart using prozac, don’t think that it will provide immediate relief from your systems. Just because you used to take it, it doesn’t mean the drug will start working readily. 

It will still take a few weeks to kick in, just like it did the first time. Make sure you give your body enough time to adjust to the medication and it is strongly prohibited to stop using abruptly. 

If you accidentally miss a dose and you’re way past the usual time at which you take your med, do not take it. It will cause you to overdose when you take your next dose, which is not too far away. It’s better to skip the missed dose and take the next one. 

If you remember your missed dose earlier, it’s safe for you to take it. In case of overdose, immediately go to the hospital. Make sure you properly guide them about how much drug you have taken and when.

You may still experience some side effects 

There’s a chance that you will again suffer from side effects but hang in there. These side effects will begin to subside within 2 to 3 weeks of treatment. 

Restarting prozac should only be an option when you gained benefits from it prior to stopping it. If the reason behind your discontinuation was prozac intolerance, it should not be restarted as it will again cause intolerability and will do you no good. 

Common side effects of prozac include:

  • Restlessness 
  • Anxiety 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Skin rash
  • Muscular pain
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Tiredness 
  • Sweating 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Loss of sexual desire 

Prozac is also associated with some serious side effects, which often require immediate medical attention. These include:

  • Allergic reaction associated with symptoms like redness of skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, blue-purple patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. 
  • Convulsions 
  • Dark grey-brown colored vomiting
  • Tarry or bloody stools
  • Eye problems including pain, swelling, redness, vision changes etc. 
  • Abnormal mood changes including, excitement following by sudden sadness, erratic behaviour, paranoia etc
  • Kidney function abnormalities, including severe pain, elevation of serum creatinine, difference in urine output and colour, blood urea nitrogen levels etc. 
  • Suicidal behavior 
  • Excessive muscle tremors 

Make sure you’re restarting from the right dose 

It is important to ensure that the dose from which you are restarting your prozac is safe and effective for you. The dose is usually determined by your healthcare provider on the basis of your withdrawal duration. 

If you have had a long gap without prozac, it is advised to start from the lowest effective dose. This strategy, however, will provide results a bit late and you will have to give your body enough time to adjust to the med again, just like you did previously. 

However, if you relapse right after stopping prozac, you will have to start from the same dose at which you stopped taking your prozac. This can result in side effects but will provide relief earlier than the low dose. 

What circumstances lead to the discontinuation of Prozac? 

Prozac is an antidepressant which is used to treat multiple illnesses including mild to severe episodes of depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, eating disorders like bulimia nervosa and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). 

It can also be used off-label for the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), migraine, erectile dysfunction and pain associated with diabetic neuropathy. This medication is discontinued due to a number of reasons. These include:

Maximum therapeutic outcome has been achieved 

Your doctor may start tapering you off prozac if your depression symptoms have subsided completely. This antidepressant works differently in different individuals. 

Some people have reported complete relief from side effects associated with different mental illnesses which are treated by prozac. When this relief persists, it is advised to slowly start tapering the dose in order to make your brain independent of medications again. 

Inability to tolerate prozac 

Prozac is not for everyone. Some people can not seem to tolerate this antidepressant, no matter how properly they take it. Several surveys have revealed that some people start exhibiting the signs of allergic reactions soon after taking their first ever dose. 

These reactions include redness of skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, blue-purple patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. This response to prozac requires immediate discontinuation. 

Common side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, acid reflux, loss of libido etc can be managed and they usually begin to fade away once your body adjusts to the medication. 

Abrupt withdrawal 

Some people stop using prozac abruptly just because they can’t stand the side effects. 

It is not recommended to stop using your antidepressant cold turkey or you’ll end up opening your doors for disturbing withdrawal symptoms. Instead of stopping it abruptly, consult your healthcare provider. 

Your doctor gradually decreases the dose over the period of a few weeks, to ensure safe and effective withdrawal of prozac and other SSRIs. 

Sudden withdrawal causes deficiency and your receptors end up craving the excess amount of serotonin. So, if you abruptly stop taking it, your receptors which are dependent on it will start to have a major impact of serotonin deficiency.

This is exactly why dose tapering is considered extremely important with antidepressants. It is a safe and effective method to withdraw SSRIs. Your healthcare provider simply just reduces the dose of your antidepressant.

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed going back on prozac after stopping it. Several studies suggest that it is okay to restart your treatment with prozac if you suffer from a relapse of the mental health condition for which you started using this antidepressant in the first place. 

If the med didn’t help relieve your symptoms previously, there’s no point of restarting it as nothing much will change this time and you will still experience little to no therapeutic results. 

When you start taking prozac again, just remember that your drug will not start working overnight and it will still cause side effects. Experts also suggest that prozac may not work that well if it is restarted from the dose you commonly used to take. 

Just make sure you do exactly what your healthcare provider recommends and do not deviate from the prescribed dose. Take it as directed by your doctor and do not stop the treatment halfway. 

FAQs: going back on prozac after stopping 

What happens when you stop taking fluoxetine then start again?

Stopping fluoxetine can make you go through withdrawal symptoms, including chills, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, headaches, excess sweating/night sweats, insomnia, dizziness, brain zaps, mood swings, anxiety or depression relapse etc. This often results in restarting the treatment to help relieve these symptoms. 

How long after stopping antidepressants can you relapse?

It depends on the severity of your mental health condition at the time of treatment withdrawal. It also depends on how you stopped taking your antidepressant. If you stop abruptly, you will not only experience relapse but will also suffer from disturbing symptoms associated with discontinuation syndrome. If you stop after complete treatment, it may take up to 6 to 8 to relapse, if you relapse at all. 

Does your brain go back to normal after antidepressants?

Your brain does go back to normal after you stop using antidepressants, but it takes time and this time taken depends on the duration of your antidepressant therapy. It could take up to 10 months to go back to your normal serotonin levels, after long-term antidepressant therapy.

How long does it take for Prozac to leave your system?

Prozac is a long acting antidepressant with a half life of about 4-6 days. It means that the concentration of the drug is reduced to half after this time period. The remaining amount is further reduced to half in the next 4-6 days. This process keeps on ongoing until the drug is completely washed out from your body. 

What happens if you miss 2 days of prozac?

If you miss your prozac, you will experience effects similar to those of withdrawal syndrome. These include chills, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, headaches, excess sweating/night sweats, insomnia, dizziness, brain zaps, mood swings, anxiety or depression relapse etc. 

Can prozac be taken intermittently?

Prozac can be taken intermittently only when it is used for the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). In case of mental health illnesses, it should be taken daily and right on time in order to achieve the maximum therapeutic outcomes. 

References 

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

[Sassy_Social_Share type="standard"]