Fluvoxamine is initially prescribed as a once-daily dose, taken in the evening. If your dose is increased to over 150 mg daily, you will be asked to take the tablets in divided doses over the day.
Swallow the tablet with a drink of water. You can take fluvoxamine with or without food.Please tell your doctor if you feel that you are getting worse, or if you experience any troublesome side-effects.
|Type of medicine||A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant|
|Used for||Depression; obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)|
Fluvoxamine belongs to a group of medicines called SSRI antidepressants. You will have been prescribed it for either the treatment of depression or for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Both depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder can develop for no apparent reason, but they can also be triggered by a life event such as a relationship problem, a work-related problem, bereavement, or illness. Whatever the cause of the problem, when the symptoms are severe enough, they can interfere with normal day-to-day activities. When this happens, taking a medicine such as fluvoxamine can help to ease the symptoms and restore normal daily routines. Fluvoxamine works by regulating the level of a certain chemical, called serotonin, in your brain.
Before taking fluvoxamine
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine can only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking fluvoxamine it is important that your doctor knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have any problems with the way your liver works, or any problems with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have a heart condition.
- If you have epilepsy.
- If you have sugar diabetes.
- If you have increased eye pressure (called glaucoma).
- If you have ever had a bleeding disorder, or a stomach or duodenal ulcer.
- If you have ever had abnormally 'high' moods, called mania.
- If you are being treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take fluvoxamine
- Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about fluvoxamine and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take fluvoxamine exactly as your doctor tells you to. It is usually prescribed as a once-daily dose, taken in the evening. After a few weeks, your doctor may decide to increase your dose gradually if this becomes necessary. Increasing it slowly allows your doctor to make sure that you have the dose that helps your condition, but avoids any unwanted symptoms. Depending on the increase, your doctor may ask you to take your new dose divided into two or three doses over the day.
- Try to take the tablets at the same time(s) of day, each day. You can take fluvoxamine either with or without food. The tablets are best swallowed with a drink of water.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the following day, leave out the forgotten dose from the previous day and take the dose that is due as normal. Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
- You may feel that fluvoxamine is not helping you straightaway. This is because it can take a week or two before the effect begins to build up, and a few weeks more before you feel the full benefit. It is important that you continue to take fluvoxamine, even if it takes a little while for your condition to improve.
- If you develop any depressing or suicidal thoughts or ideas, you should let your doctor know about it as soon as possible. These thoughts can be associated with your condition and also with your treatment (particularly when the treatment is first started). It is very important that you tell your doctor about any distressing thoughts or ideas.
- There are several types of antidepressants and they differ in their possible side-effects. If you find that fluvoxamine does not suit you then let your doctor know, as another may be found that will.
- If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice about drinking while you are on fluvoxamine. Drinking alcohol could increase the risk of unwanted effects such as feeling sleepy.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with fluvoxamine. This is because several medicines which are available from general retail outlets can increase the risk of unwanted effects. In particular, do not take the herbal remedy called St John's wort, and please ask for advice before buying any anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
- Keep taking fluvoxamine until your doctor tells you otherwise. Your treatment is likely to last for several months - this is normal and helps to prevent your symptoms from recurring. Stopping suddenly can cause symptoms such as headache, sickness, anxiety, dizziness, shakiness and sleeping problems, so when it is time for your treatment to finish, your doctor will reduce your dose gradually over several weeks.
Can fluvoxamine cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the more common ones associated with fluvoxamine. The best place to find a full list of the side-effects which can be associated with your medicine, is from the manufacturer's printed information leaflet supplied with the medicine. Alternatively, you can find an example of a manufacturer's information leaflet in the reference section below. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common fluvoxamine side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling or being sick, indigestion, tummy (abdominal) discomfort, diarrhoea||Stick to simple meals - avoid fatty or spicy food. Drink plenty of liquid to replace any lost fluids|
|Headache||Drink plenty of water and ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum, or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Feeling dizzy or sleepy||Do not drive and do not use tools or machines while affected|
|Feeling restless, weak, shaky, or anxious||This usually settles within a few days. If it becomes troublesome or severe, speak with your doctor|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well-balanced diet containing plenty of fibre, and drink several glasses of water each day|
|Changes in appetite and weight, increased sweating, a feeling of having a 'thumping heart' (palpitations), and sleeping problems||If any becomes troublesome, speak with your doctor|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store fluvoxamine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Faverin® Tablets 50 or 100 mg film-coated tablets; BGP Products Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated September 2016.
- British National Formulary; 72nd Edition (Sep 2016) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Prof Cathy Jackson