Prozac Addiction

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Prozac Addiction is possible, even if this drug isn't considered to be addictive. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ranks addiction potential based on a scale from five up to one, with Schedule II drugs having the most potential for addiction (Schedule I may also be highly addictive, but this classification also includes drugs with no medical use that aren't -- like LSD).

Prozac (Fluoxetine) is not ranked on this scale, not even to the level of codeine containing cough medicines.

This doesn't mean Prozac addiction cannot exist, but that the FDA doesn't find much, if any, potential for abuse. The manufacturer, Eli Lilly, claims there is little to no evidence to support a warning about Prozac addiction withdrawal or drug-seeking, a key metric when evaluating Prozac addiction.

The FDA view on Prozac addiction

In the literature provided to physicians about the drug, the FDA states,

"PROZAC has not been systematically studied, in animals or humans, for its potential for abuse, tolerance, or physical dependence. While the pre-marketing clinical experience with PROZAC did not reveal any tendency for a withdrawal syndrome or any drug seeking behavior, these observations were not systematic and it is not possible to predict on the basis of this limited experience the extent to which a CNS active drug will be misused, diverted, and/or abused once marketed."

Can patients feel bad if they stop taking Prozc? Certainly. The question is whether this is return of previous symptoms or a withdrawal reaction.

There are two things that make the question about Prozac Addiction hard to answer. The first is the sheer number of people prescribed the drug. With more than 40 million people taking it over the last 20 years very rare events might emerge -- Prozac addiction being one.

The second is the population prescribed the medication. Because it is an anti-depressant, patients may have underlying problems that cause emotional, rather than physical addictions. This doesn't mean that Prozac addiction isn't real, but without a measurable, physical basis, they will not be counted by the medical community as addictions.

The solution, to both these problems, is to forget the general case and help each patient as they come along, by treating everyone on an individual basis. Recommendations are to have monitoring by a physician or psychiatrist in place should any suicidal thoughts or depression emerge when stopping Prozac therapy.

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