Aim:  This medication is intended to correct the chemical changes in your body, which are associated with depressive illness.  This normally takes 3 to 4 weeks, but may take 6 weeks.  This medications is part of a new generation of antidepressants known as the group Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), of which Prozac was the first.  At present, it is not possible to predict which particular medication is best suited to any individual patient’s chemistry, so that the antidepressant first prescribed may need to be changed after some time if it is not effective.  Statistically, any antidepressant has a 70% chance of helping an individual patient.


Prozac / Lovan dosage:  Most people only need one tablet a day, usually taken in the morning.  The normal maximum dose is 4 tablets/day . Liquid and soluble tablet preparations of Prozac are avaialable


Length of treatment:  Once you recover, you will need to keep taking the tablets for some months afterwards, to prevent the chemical imbalance from returning.  These tablets are not at all addictive.


Prozac / Lovan side effects:  Side effects of this medication are usually much less than with older antidepressants.  You may experience some or none of the following:

  • Agitation, restlessness or anxiety:  this side effect usually subsides over a few weeks.  Temporarily reducing or splitting the dosage or taking half tablets should resolve this problem.  Starting with ½ doses for a few days lessens this problem.
  • Difficulty sleeping:  this symptom usually subsides when the depressive illness has been eradicated.  Take the medication in the morning, as the medication usually makes your mind more stimulated.
  • Sexual difficulties:  these are usually related to the dose of the medication you are taking, and occur in about 50% of people.
  • Headache, nausea:  usually mild.  Stop the medication if severe.
  • Less common:  increased or decreased appetite, dry mouth, blurring of vision, excessive sweating, shakiness, diarrhoea, vaginal bleeding.
  • Weight gain:  occurs in many people with long term use.


Need to vary dosage:  This medication will eventually overwhelm your symptoms, if it works for you.  With no symptoms left to absorb the powerful medication, you may experience yawning, drowsiness, difficulty finding the right word, or simple errors in spelling or calculation.  Reduce the medication for 2 or 3 days, until these problems resolve, and continue at a lower dose.  At times of extra stress, you may need to increase the dose (so that your concentration and memory are back to normal, being good indicators or good symptom control).


Precautions:  Do not take these tablets:

  • If you develop a rash or hives while taking this medication.
  • If you have taken Parnate or Nardil etc., within the previous 2 weeks.
  • If you intend becoming pregnant in the next 2 months.


Prozac / Lovan and alcohol:  You can have a small amount of alcohol quite safely with these tablets, but do remember that you will probably become drunk or sleepy much more easily.


Stopping the medication: Prozac is unique in having a very long duration in your bloodstream, so withdrawal reactions are very rare even if you suddenly stop the medication, or take it very irregularly.


This information is intended to improve your knowledge of the treatment you are receiving.  Any further points can be discussed at your next consultation with your doctor.


Important Disclaimer:  This site is medical information only, and is not to be taken as diagnosis, advice or treatment, which can only be decided by your own doctor.

65 thoughts on “Information About SSRIs – Prozac, Lovan (Fluoxetine)


    ive been on lovan for 5 years . the chemist is asking if i have plans on weaning off. i have tried to wean off but come into stress and its all on again
    II have been in a failed business that i ran with my hubby and went into voluntary insolvency with 100,000 debt im paying 3rd of my wage and have many other debt that im working through. My daugther has a back injury (20Years old) and requires emotional assistance , My hubby also is an ex injured police officer. My life is very demanding and i also work as a car detailer full time so im exhausted most days.
    just wondering why people keep asking me to wean off the LOVAN when it helps me cope.

    • Janet Jordan says:

      Don’t necessarily listen to your Pharmacist, your Dr or Specialist who put you on them in the first place is the person to speak to. I have been on these now for almost thirty years because I am bi-polar, they keep me stable

      • Kh says:

        If you don’t mind me asking. After 30 years do you find it to have stopped working or do you increase your dosage? I’ve been on it for maybe 18 years and am starting to feel my anxiety slowly getting worse

  2. Kathryn Cameron says:

    my daughter was put on Lovan for anxiety with school exams after she took an overdose. now she seems to have these episodes where she is in a small trance. She no responsive and then doesn’t know what has happened. I have asked the doctor and he is not sure if it is the medication. Can this be a side affect of the medication?

  3. Ellie says:

    Kathryn if you might like dizzy blackouts yes I get them too. Also check your daughter’s iron level with a blood test though, cos I just found out I’m very low on iron. Once my iron levels are good I will be interested to see if I still get dizzy blackouts. I have been feeling a lot of unexplained anxiety and stress lately, so I am going to try doing half a pill for a little while and see if the anxiety goes.

  4. Christopher greenbury says:

    l have been on Lovan for at least 3 to 4 years now and on a daily bases my problem prier was anger short tempered not at everything but inconsiderate thoughtless ignorant arrogant nasty people l would just loose it,l lost a lot of really good job over my attitude so l staredt on the tablets consistently every day and in two week l felt sooo much calmer relaxed l didn’t and haven’t noticed any real bad side affects but now that l have read everything on this site it makes me wonder about my weight when l started taking these tablets l was a 90kg man now lm between 107 and 110kg and l just can’t shake it,so from this day 10/9/2017 l pledge to start taking 3 to 4 tabs a week until Christmas then l will drop down to one tab per week until Feb 2018 then l will stop the tabs and see how my mental health go’s,l will be back on here to tell you how l went…….but truly good luck to you all

  5. Rosemary Brooks says:

    My daughter has been on Lovan for approx 18 months as she was quite depressed and anxious and very often violent. The Lovan has helped enormously, however, lately the anxiety and associated anger/violence is returning. She is on 30mg/day. Is it possible that the efffects of the Lovan are wearing off and she needs to come off it. She was on another medication 3 years ago and it was only of benefit for 12 mths and then the psych took her off it.

  6. Jenny says:

    My new doctor suggested changing from Effexor after 8 years to Lovan. He doubled the dose and suggested I would have lots more energy and weight would begin to drop off. 3 months later I was being tested for many things trying to work out why I was so damn tired. Waking tired after 9 hours sleep, and having to sleep every afternoon just to cope. Well I took matters into my own hands and started weaning off Lovan a week ago. I can honestly say I am not anywhere near as tired and starting to feel normal again. I think we all know our own body better than anyone else!!

  7. Luke says:

    I have been on lovan 20 for 11 months – has not made me feel any better and I have gained 10 kgs.Im like Jenny above-worn out all the time and just want to sleep.Im gonna try to ween off lovan.

  8. Lindsay says:

    I have just started on Lovan and just a week in I have insomnia and lost sexual drive. I also have an upset stomach. I see on the net these are common issues with antidepressants. I love long distance running but since starting these tablets I don’t feel overly motivated. Maybe this is a factor in the issue of weight gain mentioned by others. Anyway I plan to stick with it for a month before I make any rash decisions to quit taking them. The biggest hurdle I have found is the personal feeling of failure I have with taking these drugs- brought up in an ‘old school’ environment where men were blue collar workers and never complained or showed weakness, to admit depression is difficult.

    • Pommy Maryan says:

      Depression is not weakness.
      It’s just a biological malfunction as far as I can see. Either that, or a perfectly reasonable response to an unreasonable life situation.
      Don’t beat yourself up. Do whatever you need to feel better & be able to get on with your life.
      If you’re into books, there’s one called Lost Connections by Johann Hari. He’s well researched, but easy reading, which I find an unusual combination.

      • Kathryn says:

        I have been ob Lovan for minimim 15 yrs. it changed mr life. I would never had met someone, had a family or progressed in my career without it. I couldn’t manage these things up until I started taking it.

  9. Terri says:

    I’ve suffered from anxiety all of my life. I had two workplace situations of bullying, which lead to me having a complete emotional breakdown then experiencing severe anxiety and depression. I also have Fibromyalgia and widespread arthritis. I’ve tried Amitryptilene, Cymbalta and another antidepressant but all have failed to help in the long term. After not using any antidepressants for about a year, my dark moods have progressively worsened to the point where I’ve lost all motivation, not drawing any joy from anything. I believe that I need SSRI’s to cope with life in general.
    I’m about to see my GP and ask for Prozac/Lovan to help with my horrific moods. I’m also about to embark on a move overseas, selling all of our possessions and the associated chore of it all is causing a huge amount of anxiety. This should be a happy time but it’s overwhelming me. So, I’m giving a new drug a try just so that I can survive the journey ahead without any “meltdowns” or a breakdown. Wish me success

  10. Paul Jowsey says:

    My wife has suffered from menopause for a decade, real bad often. She has also been on Lovan all these ten years. When she gets acute mood swings and depression, as in too much wine everyday, she doubles the Lovan dosage. She has now left me, seriously overweight, alcohol dependent, numbed out and spinning on Lovan. Don’t trust it ever!

    • J says:

      The alcohol was possibly a major issue! You aren’t supposed to drink excessively when using anti depressants! Feeling for you both, it’s not easy being around an addict and a depressed person! I hope you’re ok!

    • Juju says:

      The alcohol was possibly a major issue! You aren’t supposed to drink excessively when using anti depressants! Feeling for you both, it’s not easy being around an addict and a depressed person! I hope you’re ok!

  11. chiktionary says:

    Michael Green – do not give any human anti-depressants to dogs. Ask your vet for help of you feel your dog is depressed. Paul Jowsey, your wife’s weight problem could be connected to high alcohol consumption, there’s a lot of sugar in alcoholic beverages, even wine. Sorry you’re going through a tough time right now.
    I’m just starting on Lovan due to dark moods, depression and anxiety. I looked up this website because I was seeking info on how to take the medication. My doctor advised to dissolve 10mg in water and drink that for the first four days and then take tablets thereafter. Does anyone know if I have to keep dissolving the tablets or do I switch from solution to swallowing tablets whole? Thanks in advance, and best of luck everyone in your recovery journeys. x

  12. MattKW says:

    Paul Jowsey, alcohol causes its own form of depression once the initial high wears off. So your wife was fighting a battle on two fronts, and the mood swings weren’t surprising. As for weight gain, antidepressants have this effect indirectly, because it makes us crave food as a form of satisfaction.
    Terri, ask GP about some Valium. I’ve been on it for 10 years at does of 5mg per day or less. Taken like that with some awareness of your issues should help you through it all. Some GPs are reluctant to give out Valium for fear of dependence. I initially got mine from my psychiatrist.
    Fighting depression and anxiety can be a long battle, but when I think of how I was in the past, I’m in a better state by far.
    I came here because I have been on Cymbalta for a year and it’s been slightly less helpful than Cipramil – I have a friend who has had good results with Lovan, so going to talk to GP today about swapping over. Been on antidepressants for 12 years, tried to come off a couple of times but terrible results, so I have to accept as lifetime medication. Tried CBT with a good psychologist, but wasn’t my kind of thing. Good luck to all!

  13. Debbie says:

    I have bn on these for 4 weeks now I’ve noticed over this time I have bn feeling really angry & it’s my body that feels depressed not my mind… I’m not to sure what is going on with me…

    • Renee Koutsis says:

      There are tests now you can take either saliva or blood test that your doctor can get you to do to determine which medication is right for you. If the medication is not agreeing with you, go off it. Don’t stay on it.

  14. Sandra says:

    I have been on antidepressants on and off for 20 years. Life hasnt been so kind always. Anyway, since starting Lovan I have gained 20kgs. For reaons I won’t go into I decided to wean off them. Gone is my voracious appetite. I have NO food cravings and have gone back to healthy eating even though I thiught there was nothing wrong with my diet. My appetite feels like it did when I was young. The hunger pangs have all gone. I am losing weight inadvertently. This was never my intention in stopping the AD’s. I had literally forgotten what a normal appetite felt like. I will never ever go on AD’s again. I always thought it was depression causing weight gain. Wrong. It was the AD’s. Thank God I found this out now so I can enjoy a normal life again.

  15. Annika says:

    are you able to take lovan while trying for a baby? if so does anyone know of the side effects of it?
    I have just been put on lovan but my doctor is saying that it takes about 6 months before i can come off.

  16. Mandy Tomlin says:

    My daughter has been on lovan for a few years now and she has trouble sleeping, has a huge appetite. She is always tired and still can be quite moody. It’s not often we see her smiling and happy which is pretty sad for a 22 year old. Maybe she needs to get off them and see if her weight changes and her moods and sleep patterns are affected by the lovan

  17. Jarrad says:

    I was recently diagnosed with anxiety disorder and my psychiatrist has put me on lovan. I’ve also suffered mild bouts of depression on and off for the last 4-5 years now and previously I was put on Serequol which made me erratic and didn’t seem to be the right med for me. I swore I’d never take ADP’s, but honestly, I’ve come to the realization now that I definitely need them. Hopefully not for the long term, but I’m 5 days in so far and to Sarah Smith, I had this exact same reaction initially as what I understand can be an initial side effect. Talk to your sons doctor/psych, but with all due respect, you shouldn’t be telling people not to touch them because you yourself may find that once he’s adjusted, they may in fact have a positive impact. For your young man and everyone else here, hang in there. Each individual is different, and there’s a solution/answer out there for all of us. Stay strong people. Good luck to you all. Cheers, Jarrad

  18. Angela bornino says:

    I’ve been taking Prozac 20mg for over 25 yrs and was fine with it. But for the past 2 years i’ve Been crabby, inpatient,moody and very sensitive. My doc told me to taketwo instead of-one capsule i’ve Been feeling like a new person and I like myself now. But I notice I don’t sleep good at night I’m awake and have a hard time falling back to sleep. And also i’m Forgetting simple words when I talk I just can’t think of them when I talk. Could this be a side effect or is the dosage to strong . I’m taking 40 mg instead of 20mg

    • Renee says:

      Hi Angela. How are you going? I think you might need to change your medication. There are tests now that can help your doctor find which medication is right for you.

  19. christine says:

    My 29 year old son was put on lovan about 6 weeks ago for depression he seems so tired and sleeps all the time except at work he also sleeps through meal time is this a side affect

  20. Kath says:

    My daughter has been on Lovan for 6 years. Dose was reduced to 10 mg for about 3 years but due to MH issues becoming stronger dose has been increased to 20 mg for the past 3 weeks. One of the problems she is having is a painful burning feeling when urinating from bladder out. She also complains of bad lower back pain. When doctor tests urine sample blood is indicated but doesn’t culture bugs. My daughter has also been taking 40 mg of Zeldox twice daily.
    Does anyone else have the above symptoms?

  21. Mandapanda says:

    I’ve had a look at the comments here, and my GP has put me on Lovan, with similar side effects to everyone re being tired/sleepy all the time – so she suggested I have it at night time, and I’m sleeping like a log and actually feeling good during the day – it has helped with my mood swings and my depression and my anxiety – maybe some of you need to discuss switching when you take your dose with your doctors? (I was on it for 18 months last time with the same side effects – taking it at night just seems to work for me)

  22. Elise Browne says:

    I was on efexor for menopause night sweats (very grateful not to suffer depression) doc suggested switching to Lovan last week. I have never felt worse! I can’t concentrate, I’m teary, tired and emotional, everyday is a fog (similar to sleep deprivation post having a baby, or being permanently drunk!). This is terrible as my job requires mental alertness. I can’t stand how going from one to another has messed with my brain chemistry, but I’m too afraid to stop/switch back in case it messes me up more. There are so many different accounts of this drug as everyone’s brain chemistry is genetically different, so off to the doc for me. Wish I’d left well enough alone.

    • Simone says:

      You hopefully are feeling much better now… but thought id say I found coming off Efexor terrible to… really bad withdrawals from that drug. One of the hardest things to go through!

  23. Jamie King says:

    I have been on lovan for then last 8 years taking 60mg per day.I can only say that I have not been harming myself nor attempted to kill myself over this period. This medication has changed my life. I did not laugh for 20 years now I have a sense of humour and enjoy life. Nothing appears to phase me anymore. It is great stuff.

  24. Michele says:

    I have been on Lovan 20 mg for the last 10 years,I have mantained my weight and could not function without them.i have suffered from depression since I was a little girl.Sometimes
    you need some help and if it is Lovan you need to take them.

  25. Jacki says:

    My daughter been on Lovan 4 weeks she’s tired all the time . So I don’t seem the point continueing. Will go back to doctors.

  26. Mel says:

    I have been taking 40mg of fast release Lovan for the last 8 years due to anxiety (PTSD) I have found it great although I do feel quite lucky to have found one that was suited to me straight away…..I had to go from 20mg to 40mg and found that was perfect. I did ween off them although got straight back on after my symptoms slowly returned it’s not worth mine or my families happiness but I will try again at some point.

  27. Mari says:

    Starting Lovan this week on my 20yr old daughter, after all these comments I’m abit curious to see if she becomes a zombie or gains unwanted weight. Although there was 1 comment that encouraged me to perhaps take it at night instead of morning if the zombie effects come about.
    My daughter has never used anti depressants, but struggled with PTSD , anxiety, social anxiety, tiredness, unable to sleepiness, nausea,, and a few other things.
    I hope she benefits with this Lovan and feels better about life and it’s worth.

  28. sharon says:

    My son is 20 years old and has suffered anxiety for most of his life but only diagnosed within the past year. His anxiety masked itself with vomiting, abdominal pain, ongoing nausea, chest pain, sore throat, inability to breathe and headaches. He had every test under the sun as he thought he was dying of some disease or wanted answers as to why he was feeling this way, nothing was revealed and he is very healthy and all his symptoms were caused by anxiety. It is such a crippling MHD and the sooner you child/adolescent/son/daughter admits they have a problem the sooner you can get them help. He has been on mirtazapine 30mg for a year which was working until he went overseas and his anxiety escalated ten fold so now he is currently doing CBT and also on lovan 20mg for a month now. He sees a psychiatrist, psychologist and gastroenterologist. Since being on Lovan he has constant headaches, drowsiness, extremely tired, hasn’t worked for 3 weeks as unable to get out of bed until 12pm, burning sensation whilst urinating and tremors mainly in his hands. We have been told to hang in there with the Lovan but if his headaches and drowsiness continue not sure where to go to from here.

    • Melissa says:

      Hi Sharon, how is he now? There is a movement practice called Feldenkrais which is excellent for anxiety. If you had had no luck to date, please find a practitioner. It’s the type of thing you find when nothing else works. Good Luck

  29. Vianne McAuliffe says:

    Have been on lovan for about a week, It was prescribed because of difficulty in sleeping. How soon after taking it, did you notice the weight gain. As I don’t need any help with that
    So far I feel no different, Doctor said it take about two weeks to kick in

  30. peter says:

    one problem with SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) is delayed ejaculation and for some patients low libido. As a man you can shag you wife from midnight until 6am with cumming. Gosh! Another issue is yawning subconsciously and repeatedly. All said and done, its a nice medicine and it works wonders.

  31. Mark says:

    I’m about to start taking Lovan 20,lm confused and scared to take it after reading the comments ,l don’t know what to do,

    • Corey says:

      I have been on fluoxitine for 4 years and for some reason lately i been more angry n depressed should I try taking them at night time I’m on 40mg a morning but don’t think that’s working very well anymore 🙁

  32. Rachel says:

    Hello, I found this page very interesting and helpful to read. I usually don’t write in the comments but I thought that my experience might also help others.
    So a bit about me, I am 27, female, fairly active lifestyle, and eat very well – love fresh food but not over the top about it – I have pizza or burgers/takeaway 1-3 times a week. Used to have late nights and party a bit but I have been good for the last 2 years while trying to complete a master’s degree.
    I have a history of depression, which comes back in mostly 1-2 year periods every 4-5 years and twice before I have used Lovan to aid my recovery which has worked. I have had a few different CBT therapists since I was 15, which always went side by side medication but I was fairly stable in my mid 20s.
    I did have some manageable and mild social anxiety from moving countries – to a non-English speaking country. When I was 25, I took a contraceptive pill which resulted in a depressive episode. Once I stopped taking the pill the depressive symptoms lessened but the anxiety had got much worse and I have recently been seeing a psychotherapist, for about 7 months now, I also quit drinking and even sugar for a few months to really try to get my mood swings under control.
    I really appreciate my therapist, and am lucky to have access to one, I have supportive friends and a long-term boyfriend who are happy to listen to any problems I have but 2020 has been hard, for me and for most! I decided to go back on Lovan to help with my anxiety and depression, in an effort to level out my moods and help with concentration.
    I have been back on them for about 2-3 weeks and these are my results:

    Starting at 10mg for about 8 days – could feel like kicking in after 3rd or 4th day, an hour or two later after I took them (could be placebo). But I felt lighter in myself somehow.
    After about 5 days I felt a kind of clarity in my mind I haven’t had in years – have been able to concentrate a little more, maybe 15-20%.
    I then upped to 20mg, but it was a bit too strong – felt a kind of high after 2 days of doubling then a crash. I could not sleep at all – even though I took them in the morning and have a regular bedtime.
    So I went to taking 15mg for a few days now and feel like this is a good level for now.

    I will report back here in a few weeks with an update. For me, therapy got me through, I was hesitant to start on meds again but I am glad to be back now they already feel to be working, I think they will help me to get on top of my bad feelings and avoidance habits. For me, even if there is a little weight gain – I think it’s worth it. Some days I couldn’t leave the house or answer the phone!
    Some side effects experienced – very dry mouth, some anxious twitching in my leg (I had this when I took Lovan years ago also). Slight loss of appetite. I’m sure these will subside over the next few weeks.
    Hope this helps!

    • Sally says:

      Thank you for your insight, it was very interesting to read!
      I have just started on 20mg Lovan today after weaning down from Effexor XR 150mg for the past 16 days. I am taking the Lovan to mitigate the significant Anti Depressant Discontinuation Syndrome that I experience with discontinuing Effexor. My diagnosis/diagnoses changed about a month ago and medication is no longer appropriate for me. I am hoping to wean off Lovan once it has done its job at alleviating my discontinuation symptoms.

  33. Gayle says:

    My 19yr old daughter in Lovan for about 3 months now. The last few weeks has started to feel sad anxious and depressed again is this normal? Does medication need to be increased. She is already tired all the time and cannot fall to sleep at night. Any advice

  34. Tracey Rutherford says:

    Hi my 10 year old is on Lovan for anxiety and anger issues. Since starting the tablets he has suffered from headaches every now and again. Lately in the past month he wakes up everyday with a headache and wont go to school. I have been told that no one can wake up with a headache everyday . I was told by a eye specialist that Lovan can cause headaches but is that only for a short time after starting the medication. He also has had high blood pressure.

  35. Corey says:

    I have been on fluoxitine for 4 years and for some reason lately i been more angry n depressed should I try taking them at night time I’m on 40mg a morning but don’t think that’s working very well anymore 🙁

  36. Christine Coates says:

    Have been on Lovan for over 12 years, and have been very well in coping at what life throws me, BUT since and during COVID-19 Lovan is not being brought into this country. The big guns say its not profitable??? Lovan will never be available again in Australia.
    Profit before patients and that really sucks. I’m on Zactin now, but feel exhausted, sleepy, and my dreams would make Steven Speilberg and
    any horror film director unemployable, because I beat them hands down, I dont really want to wake up anymore!

    • Jo says:

      My daughter (15) started on Zactim about a month ago we started on. 1/4 dose of the 20mg tablet and progressively over the four weeks have moved up to the full tablet. Early on she reported feeling lighter and her anxiety and depressive mood certainly appeared to lift. Then almost as soon as we took the full 20mg she became exhausted, almost like apathetic, couldn’t sleep through the night as awake and restless. I went to the Dr who said to take a night but didn’t offer any other suggestions. We decided to reduce the dose to half and then quarter again, and give it longer increasing the dose. She is also very low in iron, so once the supplements foe iron begin to work, I’m hoping the Zactin will work better. So difficult to know.

    • Miranda says:

      I’m the same have had to change to zactin as lovan is unavailable I feel so tired and sick (I’m also 6 weeks pregnant) I don’t know if it’s the change in medication or not but feel horrible and more depressed

    • Alana Hull says:

      I have noticed a change with the zactin brand also; feel drained, flu like symptoms. I know they’re supposed to have same ingredients as Lovan but I feel a definite change in myself since taking them 🙁

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