Q: What is fluvoxamine?
A: Fluvoxamine is in a class of medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Fluvoxamine is a generic medicine used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Q: Has there been any news about fluvoxamine?
A: In 2006, the FDA issued two alerts related to fluvoxamine. The first FDA alert announced the results of a medical study concerning the use of antidepressant medicines during pregnancy by mothers of babies born with a serious condition called persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). However, in 2011, after careful evaluation of the evidence and available case studies, the FDA concluded that it would be premature to link SSRI use with PPHN.
The second FDA alert states that a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome can occur when SSRIs (such as fluvoxamine) and medicines used to treat migraine headaches known as 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonists (triptans), are taken together.
In addition, the FDA has worked closely with the manufacturers of all marketed antidepressants (such as fluvoxamine) to fully evaluate the risk of suicidality in children, adolescents, and adults treated with these medications. This led to the FDA's 2007 decision requiring that all antidepressant medications include a black box warning—the FDA’s strongest warning—about the increased risk of suicidality in young adults (ages 18-24) during initial stages of treatment.
Q: Who should not take fluvoxamine?
A: You should not take fluvoxamine if you take another drug that treats depression, called a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI), or if you have stopped taking an MAOI in the last 14 days. Taking these two drugs close in time can result in serious (and sometimes fatal) reactions including high body temperature, coma, and seizures (convulsions).
Q: Are there any serious health risks associated with fluvoxamine?
A: Harmful side effects may occur if you stop taking fluvoxamine suddenly. Your healthcare professional should slowly decrease your dose as necessary. Other risks of fluvoxamine use include an increased risk of having suicidal thoughts or actions, bleeding problems, mania, seizures, and sexual problems. There are also increased risks if you take fluvoxamine while you are or may become pregnant.
Q: Are there any side effects associated with fluvoxamine?
A: Side effects associated with fluvoxamine use include nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, difficulty sleeping, nervousness, shakiness, sweating, weakness, decreased appetite, and sleepiness.
Q: What should I tell my healthcare professional before he or she prescribes fluvoxamine?
A: It is important to tell your healthcare professional about all known medical conditions, especially if you have liver or kidney disease, or glaucoma. Also, tell your healthcare professional if you breast-feed or plan to breast-feed your baby.
Q: Can other medicines or foods affect fluvoxamine?
A: It is important to tell your healthcare professional about all prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements that you take. Medicines of special concern include certain benzodiazepines (treats anxiety), Mextil (treats heartbeat problems), theophylline (treats asthma), and warfarin (treats blood clots). Talk to your healthcare professional if you plan to drink alcohol while taking fluvoxamine.
Q: What should I do if I think I have been injured as a result of taking fluvoxamine?
A: Patients who were injured by fluvoxamine, including those who gave birth to children with birth defects, may have a legal claim against the manufacturer of the drug. The cost of caring for a child with birth defects can place a strain on families. In a successful product liability lawsuit, parents can receive compensation for those costs. To learn more about filing a product liability lawsuit, it's in your best interest to talk to a drug and medical device attorney in your area.
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