Prozac may be more accurately characterized as “abused” by pharmaceutical manufacturers and company paid psychiatrists than by patients taking the drug. The most dangerous abuse of this chemical is an overdose causing a toxic level of buildup of serotonin levels in the brain placing a patient at risk of severe mental and physical health complications and even death.
The most dangerous risk of taking Prozac concerns the making of an accurate “guess” at the correct dosage level for a child or adult taking the drug. There is no clinic test to determine the levels of serotonin in the human brain and therefore there is in truth no genuine clinical method to determine that a serotonin imbalance in fact and in truth exists prior to making an attempt to treat the imbalance with drugs like Prozac. If there is no genuine serotonin imbalance existing then a patient is placed at risk for a drug induced serotonin overdose condition called serotonin syndrome that can in certain situations be fatal.
Serotonin syndrome involves three categories of symptoms:
- Cognitive-behavioral symptoms like confusion, disorientation, agitation, irritability, unresponsiveness and anxiety.
- Neuromuscular symptoms like muscle spasms, exaggerated reflexes, muscular rigidity, tremors, loss of coordination and shivering.
- Autonomic nervous system symptoms like fever, profuse sweating, rapid heart rate, raised blood pressure and dilated pupils.
A patient taking Prozac for five weeks or more will need to decrease the medication by 10mg increments to safely withdraw from its use. Within a couple of days of decreasing the medication the patient will begin to exhibit severe flulike symptoms - headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, chills, dizziness and fatigue. There may also be insomnia, agitation, impaired concentration, vivid dreams, depersonalization, irritability and suicidal thoughts. These symptoms last anywhere from one to seven weeks and vary in intensity and are the result of SSRI discontinuation syndrome due to stopping taking drugs like Prozac.
Risky Prozac Side Effects
Side effects of taking Prozac are extremely numerous and widely varied and are generally interact specifically as to each patient’s health problems while he or she is taking the drug. However common side effects include nausea, digestive problems, insomnia, fatigue, and decreased libido and other adverse sexual side effects. Most side effects disappear a few weeks after the medicine is started, but the sexual side effects will usually remain with the patient for the duration of treatment.
Dangers in the Use of Generic Prozac
In theory, the brand name Prozac and generic Fluozetine should function in the same manner. Manufacturers of generic drugs have to meet the same FDA requirements as the brand name drugs. Some patients report that they have become increasingly depressed three weeks after switching to Fluoxetine, the generic form of Prozac. Because of the long-half-life of Prozac the three week lag is exactly what one would expect if the generic product were inferior in some way. It is impossible to determine if this result was one created by the manufacturer of Prozac or if there is genuinely any change in the patient brain levels of serotonin created by each drug where there exists to clinical test to accurately determine those levels.
Legal Action Available
If you believe that you or one of your family members has suffered a physical or mental injury due to the use of the drug Prozac it is important to consult with a product liability attorney as soon as possible in order to protect your right and interest and prevent any additional harm or injury from occurring or continuing. You or your family member may have a cause of action in strict liability in connection with a defective pharmaceutical product manufactured by a pharmaceutical provider. A products liability attorney can assist you in filing a claim against that drug manufacturer or retail supplier and help the injured patient to recover the costs of additional treatments to correct or improve any injury and emotional distress and humiliation arising due to adverse reactions to this drug.