Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). One of the earliest of these drugs to be developed, it is widely perceived in the popular culture to be paradigmatic of the class. It is commonly used in the treatment of depression and the more severe anxiety disorders (e.g., obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder). Fluoxetine is also approved for the treatment of bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. A distinguishing pharmacokinetic feature of the drug is its long elimination half-life (up to 4-6 days during long-term use and up to 2 weeks for the major active metabolite norfluoxetine). As with other SSRIs, the most common troublesome side effect of fluoxetine is sexual dysfunction (dysorgasmia and erectile dysfunction); mild side effects include drowsiness, headache, and nausea. Some patients develop a syndrome of psychomotor activation upon starting the drug, which has been characterized as similar to akathisia.
► Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
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