What's Your Experience With Prozac (Fluoxetine)?
Prozac had been around for about 6 years when I was prescribed it in 1994. From one of the deepest depressions I ever had, it raised me into mild hypomania that lasted fully for a year, then waned over the next two years. I also gained 30 pounds in the first two years I took it, going from an underweight 115 (I was 5’10" and looked good between 125 and 135 pounds) to a beginning-to-be-unattractive 147.
After that, the effect waned fast, and by 1999, just 5 years later, it wasn’t working at all. That’s when I went to a psychiatrist for the first time and was diagnosed with bipolar II.
I still miss that mild hypomania. It had almost no negative symptoms and it was about the best I ever felt in my life. But many others tell me Prozac - now available in the cheaper generic fluoxetine - wasn’t so good for them. Here’s some of what people told me:
- I didn’t like Prozac. It would make me extremely manic.
- It didn’t agree with me.
- It made me numb. Now emotions what so ever. Didn’t even cry at my grandma’s funeral. Didn’t like it at all and I took it for many years.
- I’ve taken it in the distant past. It did nothing for my mood, plus it made me gain weight - lots of it* Made me hyper, aggressive and seriously consider ending it all. Was told should not be prescribed with bipolar.
- I took it a few years ago and it made me aggressive.
- I have taken it a couple of times. I get totally emotionless and it makes me manic.
- When they first put me on it, it felt like a bunch of little mice running around in my head. The sensation was kinda scary. I can’t really tell you if it works or not my - moods are different every fricken day, sad, glad, or mad.
- Didn’t do me much good. Made me numb and gave me terrible headaches.
- Made me eat a hell of a lot. I gained lots of weight.
Not one single good experience. That surprised me - no one even had the initial positive reaction I did, and I didn’t have any of the reactions (except weight gain) the others mentioned.
It’s true that antidepressants must be prescribed with caution to someone who has bipolar. A lot of people wind up with a correct bipolar diagnosis when an antidepressant, taken alone, unmasks symptoms of mania or hypomania that weren’t recognized by the patient until then. But they can be prescribed, usually with a mood stabilizer to balance the response.
So what’s your experience with Prozac or fluoxetine?
Marcia wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Mental Disorders.