Prozac and caffeine (Is there any interaction?)

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In this blog post, we are going to talk about the possible interactions between prozac and caffeine. Prozac is one of the most commonly used antidepressants. This blog will cover all you need to know about the safety concerns of consuming coffee with this antidepressant. 

Is there any interaction between Prozac and Caffeine? 

The interaction between prozac and caffeine only exists at higher doses and is associated with the symptoms similar to those of serotonin syndrome, including chills, fever, confusion, muscle twitching, agitation etc. 

Some studies suggest that antidepressants can inhibit the metabolism of caffeine. When the metabolism is affected, the chemical stays longer in your body as it normally should, hence it produces prolonged effects. 

A 2017 study found that low dose caffeine can enhance the efficacy of antidepressants in the treatment of major depression. A cup of coffee in the morning will not harm you as much as larger quantities will. 

A closer look to prozac 

Prozac, brand name for fluoxetine, is an antidepressant which belongs to the class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Prozac actively inhibits the reuptake of serotonin from the synaptic cleft back to the presynaptic neuron by blocking serotonin transporters (SERT). 

This results in an increased amount of serotonin in the body, which is an excitatory neurotransmitter responsible for modulating mood, cognition, reward, learning, memory, and various other psychological processes. 

Side effects of prozac 

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 

A closer look to caffeine 

Caffeine is characterised as a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. It is stimulatory in nature and once inside your body, it binds to its respective receptors in your brain and causes alertness. 

Caffeine is also a part of some medications, like Panadol extra (paracetamol + caffeine), a product of GlaxoSmithKline. Such meds can be used to treat pain, tiredness, drowsiness and fatigue. It is also believed that drinking coffee can lower your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. 

Caffeine has a mild taste and it holds no nutritional value. It just provides you with energy, that’s all. The most widely used source of caffeine is coffee. For some, coffee is the first thing to go for in the morning, as stated earlier, it creates alertness. 

Caffeine is also recommended by fitness experts. Studies suggest that caffeine boosts metabolism, which helps burn calories. It is recommended to drink coffee before a workout session to enhance the calorie burning process.  

It is also suggested to drink after high fatty food consumption as it decreases the storage of fats in your body.

Side effects of caffeine 

Some common side effects of caffeine include:

  • Anxiety 
  • Sleep disturbance or insomnia. It also decreases sleep quality
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Tachycardia 
  • Dehydration, as it causes diuresis 
  • Muscle pain
  • Addiction
  • Fatigue
  • Tolerance
  • Gastrointestinal issues like nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea etc.

Studies have shown that prozac can interfere with caffeine metabolism, hence it is not broken down into its inactive metabolites. A chemical needs to be broken down before being eliminated from the body. 

This way more caffeine is available, for a prolonged period of time. It results in caffeine intoxication, which means enhanced and prolonged effects of caffeine. 

How to use prozac and caffeine safely? 

You can use prozac and caffeine safely if you stick to optimum amounts. There’s no harm in drinking a cup of coffee in the morning while you’re being treated with prozac. 

Literally no one, not even your doctor would make you stop drinking coffee, but you must remember how much to take. Too much coffee can cause a lot of complications that we have already discussed. 

Caffeine intoxication is common in coffee addicts and this coupled with prozac can make your depression or anxiety much worse. Make sure you always discuss such matters with your healthcare provider and ask how much coffee is too much for you to take with your antidepressant. 

Don’t rely on other people’s journey. Every human body reacts differently when it is exposed to medications. If your friend seems to work well with coffee and antidepressant, it doesn’t mean the same thing will happen to you. 

If you see someone else taking antidepressant intermittently, it does not mean you can take it like that too. The effects of antidepressants are unique to everyone. You might not suffer from the side effects your friend or someone else around you have experienced, and vice versa. 

This is exactly why you should suggest medications to someone else and should never take any medication which is recommended by a person who’s not an authorised mental healthcare professional. 

Does prozac interact with any other food or drink? 

Prozac can interact with the following foods and drinks:

Tyramine rich foods

Tyramine is an amino acid. The combination of prozac with tyramine rich foods, like cheese, milk, chicken liver, beef, avocados, bananas, canned figs, soy beans etc, can cause sudden and dangerous increases in your blood pressure.

Cannabis

Do not use cannabis while you’re on prozac. It will cause symptoms like confusion, panic attacks, seizures, anxiety, nervousness etc. 

Alcohol 

The use of alcohol and prozac or any other antidepressant together is strictly prohibited because of the nerve-racking interactions. This combination can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, which is a troublesome condition. 

The concomitant use can also cause sensory and motor coordination impairment, which creates a number of sensory and motor disturbances, including impaired senses, impaired ability to identify threats, abnormal jerks, tremors, and inability to maintain balance. 

Both alcohol and prozac also have tiredness, fatigue, dizziness and drowsiness as common symptoms. 

When these two are taken excessively together, they cause extreme sedation, which could result in blackouts or unconsciousness. It can also lead to suicidal behavior and intoxication. 

Conclusion 

In this blog, we have discussed the possible interactions between prozac and caffeine. The interaction only exists at higher doses and is associated with the symptoms similar to those of serotonin syndrome, including chills, fever, confusion, muscle twitching, agitation etc. 

Some studies suggest that antidepressants can inhibit the metabolism of caffeine. When the metabolism is affected, the chemical stays longer in your body as it normally should, hence it produces prolonged effects and could also result in intoxication. 

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and prozac is an antidepressant. They both can increase the amount of excitatory neurotransmitters and can cause multiple complications. Always report to your healthcare provider as soon as you can if you suffer from unusual side effects. 

FAQs: prozac and caffeine 

Does caffeine interfere with Prozac?

The interaction between prozac and caffeine only exists at higher doses and is associated with the symptoms similar to those of serotonin syndrome, including chills, fever, confusion, muscle twitching, agitation etc. Some studies suggest that antidepressants can inhibit the metabolism of caffeine. 

What should I avoid while taking Prozac?

  • Monoaminoxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The combination use can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome. 
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). The combination use can increase the risk of bleeding. 
  • Pimozide. The concomitant use can increase the plasma concentration(availability of a drug in the blood) of pimozide to much higher levels. It can result in life-threatening arrhythmia.
  • Controlled substances, including all narcotic analgesics. The concomitant use can cause severe psychological side effects. 
  • Mood stabilisers 
  • Alcohol 

Can caffeine cause serotonin syndrome?

The concomitant use of too much caffeine and a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) can dangerously increase the amount of serotonin in your body and may result in serotonin syndrome. 

It is associated with a number of disturbing symptoms including excessive sweating, chills, fever, restlessness and fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, bradycardia, tremors, muscle twitching, abnormal behaviour etc. 

Is it better to take Prozac in the morning or at night?

It depends on what kinds of side effects you’re going through. 

  • If it causes insomnia, morning is preferred.
  • If it causes drowsiness, night time is preferred.
  • If it causes nausea, night time is preferred.
  • If it causes urinary problems, morning is preferred.
  • If it causes loss of libido, morning is preferred.
  • If it causes loss of appetite, bedtime is preferred. 

What does Prozac feel like when it starts working?

Prozac may start to make your physical symptoms associated with depression a little better. However, it can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to start making your psychological symptoms better. 

You may also experience a few side effects, which may start right after you take your first ever dose, but these side effects begin to subside within 2 to 3 weeks of treatment. 

Does caffeine affect SSRI?

SSRIs can inhibit the metabolism of caffeine. When the metabolism is affected, the chemical stays longer in your body as it normally should, hence it produces prolonged effects. 

Studies have also revealed that low dose caffeine can enhance the efficacy of antidepressants in the treatment of major depression. Both SSRIs and caffeine share some side effects like insomnia, digestive issues, irritability, nausea etc, so the use of high amounts of caffeine can cause synergistic effects. 

References 

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