Prozac is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987 to treat depression. In children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Prozac can be effective in treating self-injury, aggression, anxiety, overactivity, and certain stereotypic behaviors. Prozac is also known by its drug name, Fluoxetine hydrochloride.
Prozac should be used with caution in people who have a history of depression, seizures, anorexia, glaucoma, and heart problems, as well as those who are taking diuretics.
Prozac is an antidepressant. Prozac is believed to work by changing the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain.
How do I take it?
Your doctor will likely begin your child on a low dose of Prozac and increase the dosage gradually in order to avoid side effects.
Prozac is taken orally one or more times a day. If taken once a day, Prozac should be taken in the morning.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Prozac.
A study published in 2009 examined whether a low dose of Fluoxetine (Prozac) was effective in reducing repetitive behaviors in 158 children ages five to 17 with ASD. Researchers found that Fluoxetine was no more effective at reducing repetitive behaviors than the placebo.
Serious side effects of Prozac can include serotonin syndrome, which may be life-threatening. The risk for serotonin syndrome is greater in people who are also taking certain other medications at the same time as Prozac. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include hallucinations, delirium, dizziness, fast heart rate, tremors, seizures, nausea, and vomiting. Seek medical help immediately if you experience these symptoms while taking Prozac.
Common side effects of Prozac include nausea, skin rash, dizziness, drowsiness, insomnia, anxiety, loss of appetite, and sweating.
Notify your doctor if you experience vision changes, abnormal bleeding, or suicidal thoughts while taking Prozac.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions that, in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips or tongue.