Luvox, the brand name of the drug fluvoxamine, is part of a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This medication is only available via prescription and is used to treat social anxiety and obsessive compulsive thoughts and behaviors. It brings relief by increasing the amount of serotonin—a neurotransmitter that affects mood—in the body. In certain instances, this medication may be used to treat symptoms of depression.
- How should I take this medication?
Luvox can be prescribed as a tablet or as an extended-release capsule. The extended-release capsule is taken once per day, usually at bedtime, while the tablet may be taken once or twice per day depending on your doctor or psychiatrist’s recommendation. Do not crush or chew extended-release capsules; swallow them whole. Your physician may start your treatment as a low dose, and gradually increase the amount of medication you take each day to find what is ideal for you. Do not take more or less of this medication, or take this medication for a longer or shorter period of time than is prescribed by your doctor—even if you feel well. Follow your doctor’s instructions exactly. It may take several weeks for the medication to accrue in your system in order to feel the therapeutic effects of this drug. Read the medication guide each time you refill your tablets or capsules as there may be new information regarding Luvox or SSRIs.
- What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
Take the dose you forgot as soon as possible. If the time for your next scheduled dose is close, then skip the missed dose altogether. Taking more than the prescribed amount of medication, or taking two doses too quickly may lead to an overdose.
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Call a poison control help line or call your healthcare advisor immediately. Signs of overdose include lowered potassium levels, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, breathing problems, drowsiness, and vomiting.
- Are there ways to get more out of my treatment with this drug?
Many mental health conditions for which SSRIs are prescribed also show a range of positive results from treatment with psychotherapy. Social anxiety, OCD, and depression, for example, can all be treated with various types of psychotherapy. While medication may help a person find relief from debilitating symptoms, drugs do not teach a person to cope in healthy ways when emotions, behaviors, or thoughts are triggered by mental health conditions. Finding a qualified counselor or therapist may help improve a person’s quality of life more than seeking treatment with psychotropic drugs alone. Additionally, many therapists can help you find additional relief by helping you develop a meditation, breathing exercise, or yoga routine.
- How should I store this medication?
Keep Luvox tightly closed in its original container, at room temperature. Do not store this medication in locations which may be exposed to periods of excessive heat or moisture (for example, in the bathroom or kitchen). Keep this medication out of the reach of children.
- Should I take Luvox if I am pregnant?
You should talk to your doctor about alternative treatments if you become pregnant while taking this medication. If taken during pregnancy, this drug may cause high-pitched crying, tremors, difficulty sleeping, and other withdrawal symptoms in newborns. Newborns may also experience heart malformations and other serious heart and lung conditions. Do not breastfeed while taking this medication as fluvoxamine may pass into breast milk. However, do not stop taking this medication unless advised to do so by your physician.
Antidepressant medications such as Luvox have reportedly caused an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior in some children, teens, or young adults under 24. Ask your doctor about the risks associated with this drug and if they are outweighed by the benefits you may experience.
Talk to your doctor before you take Luvox if you have ever had seizures, blood clotting issues, or problems with your liver, adrenal glands, kidney, or heart. Let your doctor know if you take or have taken street drugs, or if you use alcohol frequently; these substances may interfere with this medication. You should also mention any serious reactions you may have had to other similar medications.
Luvox may interact with other medications or supplements, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, other antidepressants, migraine medications, antihistamines, antacids, anticoagulants, anxiolytics, herbal supplements, sleeping pills, antipsychotics, blood pressure medications, and more.
Serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition, may develop if another SSRI is taken along with Luvox.
This medication, in addition to many SSRIs, carries significant risks of which to be aware including some of the following:
- Avoid driving or working with heavy machinery until you know how your prescription affects you.
- Do not drink alcohol while using this medication as it may increase the frequency and severity of side effects.
- Cigarettes and tobacco use may interfere with the effectiveness of this medication.
- If you are having any type of surgery, including oral surgery, tell your doctor or anesthesiologist that you are taking Luvox.
Call your doctor right away if you experience serious or severe side effects from taking this medication. Serious side effects may include:
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Vomiting blood or a substance that looks like coffee grounds
- Bloody or black stool
- Dizziness or loss of consciousness
- Muscle stiffness
- Chest pain
- Rash or hives
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Difficult or slow breathing
- Numbness, pain, or tingling in extremities
Less serious side effects of this drug may include:
- Difficulty with memory or concentration
- Drowsiness, weakness, or unsteadiness
- Dry mouth
- Nausea, stomach pain, gas, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Noticeable change in sexual performance or drive
- Decrease in appetite, weight loss
If you need to stop taking this medication, your doctor will work with you to slowly reduce the amount of Luvox you take over time. Symptoms of withdrawal may include:
Inform your doctor if you experience any withdrawal symptoms.
- Citizens Commission on Human Rights International. (2012). The side effects of common psychiatric drugs. Retrieved from http://www.cchrint.org/pdfs/The_Side_Effects_of_Common_Psychiatric_Drugs.pdf
- Drugs.com. (2014). Luvox. Retrieved from http://www.drugs.com/mtm/luvox.html
- Medline Plus. (2014). Fluvoxamine. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a695004.html
- RxList. (2011). Luvox. Retrieved from http://www.rxlist.com/luvox-drug.htm
- United States Food and Drug Administration. (2014). Medication guide: Fluvoxamine tablets. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/drugsafety/ucm249169.pdf
Page content reviewed by James Pendleton, ND.