As with any medication, you need to carefully follow the instructions and be aware of any potential side effects or interactions with other medications or herbal supplements. Prozac, although known for having very little risk of side effects, is no exception. This drug is commonly used to treat a multitude of mental illnesses, specifically depression, excessive emotional responses and generalized anxiety disorders.
While anti-depressants are frequently used to help reduce the symptoms associated with mental disorders, they are not an absolute cure. Instead, they are designed to ward off further stressors and allow individuals to cope with larger issues without suffering additional negative effects. They are typically used in combination with other forms of treatment such as regular counseling sessions. Many patients, especially those who are experiencing a temporary but traumatic life event (such as the death of a loved one or divorce) are able to find relief, adjust their lifestyle and stop taking the medication. Of course, this should always be completed under the guidance of a medical professional.
Speak with a medical professional if you begin to experience any unusual symptoms after taking a new medication. Always take medication as directed, and only as directed. If you should happen to miss a dose, read the packaging or consult a physician before independently doubling up on the dosage. In general, anti-depressants do not take effect immediately, so you should not expect relief like you would after taking pain medication for a headache. Rather than seeing a reduction in symptoms within twenty minutes, you should expect several weeks before noticing a change in feelings or behavior. Prozac can and has provided relief of depression in countless patients worldwide, but it must be given proper time to effectively perform as designed. Patients should consider that, in the same way feelings take time to develop, the brain chemistry needs time to adjust to medication and respond to the new receptor patterns.
As with most other anti-depressants, Prozac users usually begin with a very low dose, which can be increased if symptoms do not improve. If there is no change with one medication, a primary care physician may decide to switch to an alternate medication. Additionally, patients taking anti-depressants should have regular follow-up appointments with their health care provider. Until the best dosage or combination of medicines and dosages are found for a particular patient, there may be a period of trial and error. The general goal is to have patients on the lowest productive dose of any medication. For these reasons, it is imperative that patients keep appointments and monitor any change in mood or behavior. Likewise, because this medication is typically used to treat depression, patients should continue taking their regular dose unless otherwise directed by their physician.
As with antibiotic medications, patients tend to stop taking their medication when symptoms diminish; however these medications work on a timed release formula, and must be used as directed. If you or someone you know may be suffering from a mental illness, seeking immediate treatment is certainly advised.