Individual differences |
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|ATC code |
|Chemical formula||C17H18F33NO, HCl|
|Max concentration||6-8 hours|
|Metabolism||4-16 days ?|
|Elimination half-life||4-6 days ?|
|Legal status||Prescription only (USA), POM (UK)|
|Routes of administration||Oral|
Fluoxetine hydrochloride is an antidepressant drug used medically in the treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and panic disorder. Fluoxetine is also used (off-label) to treat many other conditions, such as ADHD. It is sold under the brand names Prozac®, Symbyax® (compounded with olanzapine), Sarafem®, Fontex® (Sweden), Foxetin® (Argentina), Ladose® (Greece), Fluctin® (Austria, Germany), Prodep® (India), Fludac*® (India) and Lovan® (Australia). Fluoxetine was derived from diphenhydramine, an antihistamine found to inhibit reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Compared to other popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, fluoxetine has a strong energizing effect. This makes fluoxetine highly effective in treatment of clinical depression cases where symptoms like depressed mood and lack of energy prevail. Although stimulating, it is also approved for a variety of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.
FDA approval and marketing campaign
Eli Lilly's Prozac was approved by the FDA on December 29, 1987 and introduced in the US at the beginning of 1988. The drug became very popular, with millions around the world having taken the medication. In the fall of 2001, Eli Lilly lost a patent dispute with Barr Laboratories and now fluoxetine hydrochloride is manufactured by many companies. Prozac's popularity and selling success has been aided greatly by Lilly's extensive marketing campaign for the drug, considered one of the most successful in the history of American pharmaceuticals.
Fluoxetine hydrochloride is approved in the United States to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and panic disorder. In the United Kingdom, it is approved to treat depression with or without anxiety, bulimia nervosa, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
In December 2003 the FDA approved Symbyax® to treat bipolar depression. Symbyax is a combination of fluoxetine and olanzapine. (However, the pure form of fluoxetine can cause mania, mixed-states, rapid cycling and psychosis in bipolar patients, particularly if the patient is not also taking a mood stabilizer.)
In 2003, Michel Harper, Fukodome Takayasu, and Andrew G. Engel reported that fluoxetine given over a period of three years at doses of up to 80-120 mg/day to two patients with slow-channel congenital myasthenic syndrome who were allergic to quinidine resulted in substantial subjective and objective improvement in muscle strength.
Mechanism of action
Recent research indicates that fluoxetine may increase the production of new neurons (brain cells) in adult brain (adult neurogenesis), and that it interacts with the system of "clock genes", the transcription factors involved in drug abuse and possibly obesity ,.
Common adverse effects include anxiety, which is possibly associated with an interaction of fluoxetine with the pineal gland, in addition to restlessness and insomnia. Weight loss, trembling, weakness, skin rash, anorgasmia, itching, and a decrease in sexual drive, have also been reported. Finally it has been reported to cause subsequent weight gain.
Like other SSRIs, an overdose of fluoxetine or combining it with other antidepressants can lead to serotonin syndrome.
Fluoxetine is eliminated very slowly by the body. The half-life of fluoxetine after a single dose is two days and, after multiple dosing, four days. The liver then metabolizes fluoxetine into norfluoxetine, a desmethyl metabolite, which is also a serotonin reuptake inhibitor; norfluoxetine has an even longer half-life, i.e. 8.6 and 9.3 days for single and repeated dosage respectively. These long half-lives may be helpful in those patients with compliance issues, but fluoxetine is most effective when taken daily. Other SSRIs have, by comparison, a very short half-life.
Some professionals feel that it is fluoxetine's long half-life that gives it much of its therapeutic utility, however this has never been proven under rigorous scientific study. Nevertheless, its long half life is also relevant because suddenly discontinuing SSRIs is known to produce both somatic and psychological withdrawal symptoms, a phenomenon known as "SSRI discontinuation syndrome". It is generally accepted that fluoxetine´s withdrawal symptoms are much smoother than with other SSRIs, as the substance takes several days to completely leave the system. Fluoxetine is a potent CYP2D6 inhibitor, which can decrease metabolism of other medications.
Fluoxetine is sold in capsules containing 10, 20, 40 or 90 mg of active ingredient, in tablets containing 10 mg, or in an oral solution with concentration of 20 mg/5 ml. Dosages in the range of 20-60 mg per day are standard, with 80 mg considered a maximum.
Prozac Weekly® is 90 mg of regular enteric-coated fluoxetine, taken every 7 days. The coating causes the fluoxetine to be dissolved in the intestines instead of the stomach. 4 or 5 regular 20mg doses taken at once will have a similar effect to Prozac Weekly with significantly lower costs, especially when using generic versions.
In the late 1990s, backlash grew against Prozac. Prozac's manufacturer, Eli Lilly and Company, which had earned billions from the drug's success became the target of numerous accusations (see David Healy affair). Lawsuits amounting to millions were instigated, alleging the drug made users feel suicidal and/or caused other serious side effects. The accusations and lawsuits have been unsuccessful in stemming the prescription and use of the medication, as well as in making the accusers some of Lilly's profits. Recently, the US FDA considered similar controversial issues regarding Prozac and its use in children and adolescents; it issued a "black box warning" (its most serious warning) for Prozac and other antidepressants (SSRI's and antidepressants of related classes) due to findings of increased suicidality in some children and adolescents on the drugs.
A more recent controversy embroiled Lilly, and a class action lawsuit has been filed after several people received in the mail free samples of Prozac Weekly™. The suit alleges that the samples' recipients' right to privacy was mishandled.
In August 2004 a report by the Environment Agency found trace amounts of fluoxetine in UK drinking water, although the Drinking Water Inspectorate said that it was unlikely to pose a health risk. However, the effects from ingestion of fluoxetine in drinking water have not been investigated.
In January, 2005, the British Medical Journal leaked official Eli Lilly documents from the 1980s suggesting there was a link between fluoxetine and suicide and psychosis. It was originally claimed that the documents had not been previously disclosed, and they were subsequently provided to the FDA for further investigation. However, Eli Lilly later claimed that the documents had been released in earlier litigation. The British Medical Journal ultimately retracted its claim that the documents had not been previously disclosed, and apologized to Eli Lilly.
- ^ Eli Lilly and Company (2005). PROZAC Product/Prescribing Information. (PDF) Official Prozac Website. Eli Lilly and Company. URL accessed on 8 February, 2006.
- ^ Discovery Pharmaceuticals (2004). Oxactin Capsules 20mg. (html) electronic Medicines Compendium. Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. URL accessed on 8 February, 2006.
- ^ Malberg, Jessica E., Amelia J. Eisch, Eric J. Nestler, and Ronald S. Duman (December 15, 2000). Chronic Antidepressant Treatment Increases Neurogenesis in Adult Rat Hippocampus. The Journal of Neuroscience 20 (24): 9104-10. PMID 11124987.
- ^ Harper, Michel, Takayasu Fukodome and Andrew G. Engel (27 May 2003). Treatment of slow-channel congenital myasthenic syndrome with fluoxetine. Neurology 60 (10): 1710-3. PMID 12771277.
- ^ Manev, Hari, Tolga Uz, Neil R. Smalheiser and Radmila Manev (January 5, 2001). Antidepressants alter cell proliferation in the adult brain in vivo and in neural cultures in vitro. European Journal of Pharmacology 411 (1-2): 67-70. DOI:10.1016/S0014-2999(00)00904-3.
- ^ Uz, Tolga, Rehan Ahmed, Mustafa Akhisaroglu, Murat Kurtuncu, Marta Imbesi, Ahmet Dirim Arslan and Hari Manev (2005). Effect of fluoxetine and cocaine on the expression of clock genes in the mouse hippocampus and striatum. Neuroscience 134 (4): 1309-16. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2005.05.003.
- ^ Yuferov, Vadim, Eduardo R Butelman and Mary J Kreek (October 2005). Biological clock: Biological clocks may modulate drug addiction. European Journal of Human Genetics 13 (10): 1101-3. DOI:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201483.
- ^ Manev, Hari, Tolga Uz (January 2006). Clock genes as a link between addiction and obesity. European Journal of Human Genetics 14 (1): 5. DOI:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201524.
- ^ Uz, Tolga, Nikola Dimitrijevic, Mustafa Akhisaroglu, Marta Imbesi, Murat Kurtuncu, and Hari Manev (March 22, 2004). The pineal gland and anxiogenic-like action of fluoxetine in mice. Neuroreport 15 (4): 691-4. PMID 15094477.
- ^ Tamam, Lut, Nurgul Ozpoyraz (January/February 2002). Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Discontinuation Syndrome: A Review. Advances in Therapy 19 (1): 17-26. PMID 12008858.
- ^ BBC NEWS (2004). Prozac 'found in drinking water'. (html) British Broadcasting Corporation. URL accessed on 9 February, 2006.
- ^ Eli Lilly and Company (2004). Lilly Affirms: No 'Missing' Prozac Documents and No New Scientific Information. (html) Official Eli Lilly and Company Website. URL accessed on 9 February, 2006.
- ^ (29 January 2005)Eli Lilly: Correction and apology. British Medical Journal 330 (7485): 211. DOI:10.1136/bmj.330.7485.211-a.
- NIH Expert Panel Report on the reproductive and developmental toxicology of Prozac (Fluoxetine)
- NIH Monograph on the potential human reproductive and developmental effects of Prozac (Fluoxetine)
- Producer of Prozac®, Eli Lilly and Company, Inc.
- Lilly's Prozac® advertising website
- Open Directory Fluoxetine
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