Effects of Fluoxetine?

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Hi everyone. I wonder if anyone can help me. I went to my doctor about a week ago, saying I felt depressed, so he asked me questions about my mood and my life etc etc, and I had do fill in a little survey thing, then he concluded that he thought I had quite bad depression. So, he prescribed me Fluoxetine (20mg a day) and I have been taking it for about 8 days now.

The first couple of days, I felt less tired, managed to wake up quite early, (but had trouble actually getting to sleep at night) and felt a little bit sick/ sometimes abit dizzy. I lost my appetite a bit as well.

But then, around day 5 of taking it, all of these physical side affects just seemed to dissapear. And I started sleeping excessively again, and got quite bad mood swings, ranging from being quite hyper and laughing one minute, to angry, or confused/ upset the next.

I'm also getting quite paranoid, like, for example, I keep on thinking that the doctor has just prescribed me placebo pills so he can try and fool me or something.

I've got another appointment with him next week, and I keep thinking that if I don't go back to him saying I've experienced the ''right'' set of side affects, that he'll think I was just lying about being depressed or something.

I also keep on getting quite violent thoughts of self harm. I've self harmed for 4 years, so that's not really anything new, but this is the first time I've started thinking about cutting on possibly more dangerous places (don't want to say where incase it triggers anybody or something) and am having thoughts of suicide, but was having suicidal thought before i went on the pills anyway, so it's hard to judge if they're still there because of the pills or not.

Is any of this normal? Should I tell my doctor about the self harm? Would there be any chance at all that I could be sectioned (which I really don't want.) Or would he have to inform any one else if i admitted to suicidal thoughts??

Sorry for such a long post. If anybody could possibly answer any these questions it would be gratefully appreciated.

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  • Posted


    Don't know if it will help but I can share my own experience. I find it very difficult to know if anything I experience is due to the drugs, the depression or just me. I started self-harming a few weeks into taking fluoxetine, but again that could have been a dip because of being so low - who knows? I went back to my GP after a couple of weeks of self-harming and got further help - was sent for an assessment by a pscyhiatrist, and have since seen a CPN regularly, and am starting to see a psychologist next week. And my dose was increased to 40mg.

    Since then, things have improved, though the self-harm is still there (at the very least the urge to do so) and suicidal thoughts to a certain extent.

    It scared me witless when I was sent straight to hospital to see a pyschiatrist, and I thought, why on earth did I tell anyone any of this? However, the extra support has been incredibly useful, especially the CPN who is lovely.

    As I have children, I was very clear to my GP and psych that although I had suicidal thoughts I didn't believe I would do anything to act on them because I know it is the worst thing I could do to them. That doesn't always make getting through the day very easy, which is why I needed some more support. There was never any suggestion of me being sectioned, or even being a voluntary in-patient, but I am glad to be \"in the system\" as it makes me feel safer.

    I am wittering now and as you can tell my sleeping is not quite what it could be so I will stop now. Don't know if I've helped with any of your questions, but let me know.

  • Posted

    Hi Gretchel, thanks for your reply.

    Did your doctor suggest you go see a pyschiatrist, or was it a compulsary thing that he/she made yo do? Does sound rather scary, glad you found it helpful though.

    Did you find any improvement from going from 20mg to 40mg?


  • Posted

    Well, when I went back to say things were not going well, I had to see a GP registrar rather than my own GP, and I don't think they knew what to do with me, so sending me straight to the hospital was probably the only thing they could think of doing - I am normally very meek and mild, yet I got very angry with her because I felt she wasn't listening and I really did feel I had reached breaking point.

    I did find it useful seeing the psychiatrist and since then the CPN because they have much more time to talk, whereas I am very conscious that a GP only has a few minutes with you.

    I started taking the increased dose in May, and towards the end of June I had a couple of really good weeks. Since then it's been up and down, but I have found even the bad days much easier to cope with - perhaps I am able to see them now as bad days, rather than the start of a slide towards the worst I have ever felt. So, yes, I did feel the increased dose helped but it took a long time.

    I can't really advise as to whether you should tell your GP or not about the self-harm and suicidal thoughts, but in my experience I have been treated with absolute respect and care, and don't feel I would have got through the last few months as I have if I hadn't got extra help. And they have heard it all before, even if it's hard to talk about such things. I ended up writing things down because I just couldn't articulate them.

    Good luck - when do you go back to your GP? Are you off work or still working? Take care.

  • Posted

    That's good that increasing the dose has helped you. Did you experience any side effects when it got increased?

    I'm thinking I should maybe just tell my GP about the self Harm and suicidal thinking, after all, I suppose they can't really help me unless I'm being honest. But shall wait and see. I go back to see him on friday, (22nd), so shall see how brave I feel I guess.

    No, I'm not working, been unemployed for 7 months, which I think is partly causing me to feel so hopeless, but I'm starting a college course in September, so that should improve things hopefully.

    Thanks for all your advise, it's been helpful. Take care.

  • Posted

    I'm glad my replies have been helpful.

    Did I experience side effects? Well, I'm still very unsure what is me / what is the depression / what is the drugs. However, if I assume that all thoughts of self-harm, suicide, lack of motivation and all that are part of the depression, then the worst side effect I have had is getting very sweaty, mainly at night. That seems to have settled down more or less now though, thankfully. My memory and concentration are quite poor, but again I am still not sleeping brilliantly so that could certainly explain that. I have quite vivid dreams.

    Good luck seeing your GP tomorrow. I do believe that being honest is the only way for them to help us properly. If you don't think you can tell him or her, write things down - GPs are used to being presented with things this way - and it gets the conversation started (just realised I said that before - told you my memory's rubbish!)

    Good luck with your college course too - I do think that having some sort of structure is good too, I have kept working throughout (though only part-time) and although it's been hard, it has at least got me out the house.

    I look forward to hearing how you get on. Take care.


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