How to switch from Prozac to Effexor? (5 causes of Prozac discontinuation) 

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In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “How to switch from Prozac to Effexor?”. Prozac is one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants and can be used for a variety of mental health-related problems. 

However, not everyone can tolerate Prozac well and some people may not be able to continue the treatment. This is why some doctors may change your antidepressant from Prozac to Effexor. We will also talk about the safety and efficacy of Effexor. 

How to switch from Prozac to Effexor?

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The best way to switch from Prozac to Effexor is to gradually taper off Prozac, wait for 7 days, and then start Effexor from the lowest effective dose. However, it is not recommended to switch your antidepressant without your doctor’s approval. 

It is also not recommended to switch directly from Prozac to Effexor. Prozac (Fluoxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin by blocking serotonin transporters (SERT). This way more serotonin is available in the synaptic cleft to bind to its respective receptors. 

Effexor (Venlafaxine), on the other hand, is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It works by inhibiting the reuptake of two excitatory monoamine neurotransmitters; serotonin and norepinephrine. It does so by blocking serotonin and norepinephrine transporters, SERT and NET respectively. 

This makes more serotonin and norepinephrine available to bind to their respective receptors. They’re both inhibiting the reuptake of excitatory neurotransmitters to counteract the symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, and several other mental health-related problems.

How to switch from Prozac to Effexor? (5 causes of Prozac discontinuation) 

What are the causes of Prozac discontinuation? 

There are a few causes which lead to the discontinuation of Prozac. These include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction 
  • Drug-drug interaction 
  • Drug-disease interaction 
  • Disturbing side effects 
  • Insufficient therapeutic response

Signs of an allergic reaction

If a person develops signs of an allergic reaction soon after taking their first ever Prozac dose, there is no point in the continuation of treatment. If your body is allergic to the active ingredient of Prozac, that is Fluoxetine, or any excipient present in it, your treatment will be discontinued right away. 

The most common symptoms of an allergic reaction include 

  • Redness of skin
  • Itching
  • Rash or hives
  • Burning sensation
  • Painful blisters
  • Blue-purple patches
  • Tightness of chest
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty in breathing 
  • Hoarseness 
  • Swelling of eyes, lips, tongue, throat, etc. 

These symptoms can vary from person to person. People who get severely allergic to Prozac can develop unbearable throat swelling and it even becomes difficult for them to breathe. These reasons lead to the discontinuation of treatment. 

This is because if you can’t even tolerate a single dose, how can you expect to tolerate taking it on a daily basis, that too for months? Make sure you inform your healthcare provider if you have been allergic to Prozac in the past. 

Drug-drug interaction 

Drug-drug interaction is another common reason which can lead to the discontinuation of treatment. There are many people who are not just taking antidepressants, but several other kinds of medications as well. 

We are all aware of the fact that chronic conditions like diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, asthma, etc require daily treatment doses for the better management of the symptoms associated with these conditions. 

When any such prescription medication does not interact well with Prozac, it simply indicates that you can comfortably go along with the treatment. You need to change either one or both of the incompatible medications to achieve a safe and effective therapeutic response. 

In this case, your doctor may gradually taper off your Prozac and switch you to another antidepressant, like Effexor, which belongs to an entirely different class of antidepressants. 

This way, your entire prescription may become compatible and you can safely take all the meds without any possible drug-drug interaction. These interactions, if they occur, can become extremely difficult to deal with. 

They may not appear overnight and you may not even know that you’re taking two incompatible medications because of no symptoms. However, this does damage your body if the treatment is continued for a long time. 

The symptoms start to show when there has been significant damage to your normal physiological functions. This is why you should always talk to your healthcare provider before taking two or more meds together. 

Drug-disease interaction 

Drug-drug interaction is not the only interaction that you should watch out for. Some medications interact with your pre-existing health conditions. 

Prozac is an antidepressant that can affect your brain in more ways than you can imagine, but it can do far more damage if you have an underlying mental condition that is not compatible with Prozac. 

Studies suggest that Prozac should not be used in patients who have underlying bipolar disorder. This is because Prozac can significantly exacerbate the symptoms of psychosis in such patients and may trigger manic episodes.

Prozac is also contraindicated to be used in people with glaucoma. This is because this antidepressant is said to increase the intraocular pressure in such patients which can worsen their glaucoma and related symptoms. 

You should also rule out the occurrence of any kidney or liver-related diseases. These two organs play an important role in the movement of a drug throughout your body. 

When a tablet is taken orally, it undergoes first-pass metabolism in the liver through which the drug is converted into its metabolites. These metabolites are then eliminated from your body via urine. 

If there is any underlying liver or kidney disease, your body may not be able to process a drug normally. For some people, drugs like Prozac can be difficult to tolerate. Your doctor may ask you to switch to a safer option and that too is started from the lowest effective dose. 

Disturbing side effects 

Prozac is associated with some side effects, like every other antidepressant. However, these side effects may disturb some people more than others. 

This is because every single person on this planet has a different physiological composition and everyone reacts differently when exposed to antidepressants. Some people can get away with mild side effects, whereas some people are severely affected. 

Such people can not bear this antidepressant and it results in the discontinuation of the treatment with Prozac. It is a known fact that antidepressants don’t work overnight. 

The symptoms associated with depression are not that easy to deal with and you have to give antidepressants a considerable amount of time to start counteracting the said symptoms. 

This clearly means that you have to keep taking antidepressants on a daily basis for several months to achieve a promising therapeutic response. If your antidepressant gives you unbearable side effects, how can you expect to take it regularly? 

This is why many people often switch antidepressants until they find the one which works in the best possible way for them. Your antidepressant has to be comfortable enough for you. Some of the 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 

Insufficient therapeutic response

Prozac, although it is a very good antidepressant, may not work well for everyone. It is a common fact that these medications take at least 4 to 6 weeks to kick in. Before that, you can not expect to see any changes in your mental health condition. 

Even when they do kick in, they can take up to months to start making noticeable changes. However, they may not work at all for some people. Studies suggest that 1 in 200 people may not even respond to Prozac. 

Some case studies included people who took Prozac for more than 13 weeks, but they did not even notice the slightest difference in their depression. This indicates that Prozac is just not made for some people and no matter how properly they take it, it will never work well for them. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed switching from Prozac to Effexor. Prozac is one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants and can be used for a variety of mental health-related problems. 

However, not everyone can tolerate Prozac well and some people may not be able to continue the treatment. This is why some doctors may change your antidepressant from Prozac to Effexor. 

The best way to switch is to gradually taper off Prozac, wait for 7 days, and then start Effexor from the lowest effective dose. However, it is not recommended to switch your antidepressant without your doctor’s approval. It is also not recommended to switch directly from Prozac to Effexor.

FAQs: switching from Prozac to Effexor 

Can you switch from Fluoxetine to Venlafaxine?

Yes, you can switch from Fluoxetine to Venlafaxine, but only if your healthcare provider thinks that you can achieve a better therapeutic outcome with Venlafaxine, as compared to Fluoxetine. The best way to switch is to gradually taper off Fluoxetine, wait for 7 days, and then start Venlafaxine from the lowest effective dose. 

However, it is not recommended to switch your antidepressant without your doctor’s approval. It is also not recommended to switch directly from Fluoxetine to Venlafaxine.

Can you stop Prozac and start Effexor?

Yes, you can stop Prozac and start Effexor, but not directly. If your healthcare provider believes that Effexor is a better choice of antidepressant for you and you’re currently on Prozac, the first thing your doctor will do is gradually taper off Prozac. 

This way, you will not be subjected to the disturbing symptoms which are commonly associated with abrupt Prozac withdrawal. According to the guidelines, you should wait at least a week after stopping Prozac to give your body some time to eliminate the drug properly. After a week is passed, your doctor will start Effexor from the lowest effective dose. 

Is Effexor better than Prozac?

Both Effexor and Prozac are strong antidepressants. They both are commonly prescribed and are usually well tolerated. However, some people may achieve a better therapeutic response with Prozac as compared to Effexor, and vice versa. 

Can you switch from an SSRI to an SNRI?

Yes, you can switch from an SSRI to an SNRI, but only if your healthcare provider asks you to. There are a few ways to switch, but that depends on the SSRI that you are taking at the moment and the SNRI you wish to switch to. However, it is not recommended to switch antidepressants without your doctor’s approval. 

What to expect when switching antidepressants?

When you’re switching from one antidepressant to another, you have to remember that it’s not a magical process. Your new antidepressant won’t start working overnight or treat your symptoms in a blink of an eye. The new drug will take its time to kick in and your body will take its time to adjust to this new antidepressant. You may also suffer from some side effects. However, they will begin to subside soon after your body adapts to the new antidepressant. 

References 

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