Fluvoxamine, Oral Capsule

Medically reviewed by University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group on May 17, 2017Written by University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Important warnings

FDA warning: Suicidal thoughts and actions

  • This drug has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.
  • Fluvoxamine may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teenagers, or young adults. These thoughts or actions usually happen in the first few months of treatment or during dosage changes. Call your doctor right away if you notice new or sudden changes in your or your child’s mood, behavior, actions, thoughts, or feelings, especially if they’re severe.

Other warnings

  • Serotonin syndrome warning: This drug can cause a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. This happens when medications cause too much serotonin to build up in your body. Call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of this condition, such as agitation, hallucinations, coordination problems, or muscle stiffness.
  • Abnormal bleeding warning: This drug may increase your risk of bleeding or bruising. You may be at higher risk if you’re also taking aspirin, the blood thinner warfarin, or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (such as ibuprofen or naproxen).
  • Manic episodes warning: This drug can increase your risk of mania. If you have a history of mania, talk to your doctor before using this drug.

What is fluvoxamine?

Fluvoxamine is a prescription drug. It comes as a tablet or capsule that you take by mouth. It’s only available as a generic drug.

Why it's used

Fluvoxamine is used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder.

How it works

Fluvoxamine belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Fluvoxamine helps increase the amount of a chemical in your brain called serotonin. This change helps treat the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Fluvoxamine side effects

Fluvoxamine oral capsule may cause drowsiness. It can also cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The side effects for this drug are slightly different for adults and children.

Side effects for both adults and children can include:

  • nausea
  • sleepiness
  • dizziness
  • anxiousness
  • trouble sleeping
  • shaking
  • not feeling hungry
  • dry mouth
  • diarrhea
  • muscle pain
  • upset stomach

Additional side effects for children can include:

  • hyperactivity or agitation
  • depression
  • heavy menstrual periods
  • gas
  • rash

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Attempts to commit suicide
  • Acting on dangerous impulses
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Thoughts about suicide or dying
  • New or worsened depression
  • New or worsened anxiety or panic attacks
  • Agitation, restlessness, anger, or irritability
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Serotonin syndrome. Symptoms can include:
    • agitation, hallucinations, coma, or other changes in mental status
    • coordination problems or muscle twitching
    • racing heartbeat
    • sweating or fever
    • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
    • muscle stiffness
  • Eye problems. Symptoms can include:
    • eye pain
    • changes in vision, such as blurred or double vision
    • swelling or redness in or around your eyes
  • Manic episodes. Symptoms can include:
    • greatly increased energy
    • severe trouble sleeping
    • racing thoughts
    • reckless behavior
    • unusually grand ideas
    • excessive happiness or irritability
    • talking more or faster than usual

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we can not guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.

Fluvoxamine may interact with other medications

Fluvoxamine oral capsule can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with fluvoxamine are listed below.

Drugs you should not use with fluvoxamine

Do not take these drugs with fluvoxamine. Doing so can cause dangerous effects in your body. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), such as phenelzine or tranylcypromine
    • Do not take these drugs with fluvoxamine. You need to wait at least 2 weeks in between the time you take MAOIs and the time you take fluvoxamine.
  • Linezolid
    • Do not take this drug with fluvoxamine. You should wait at least 2 weeks in between the time you take linezolid and the time you take fluvoxamine.
  • Thioridazine
    • Taking this drug with fluvoxamine can cause serious heart rhythm problems or sudden death.
  • Tizanidine
    • Taking this drug with fluvoxamine can increase your risk of side effects from tinzanidine. These adverse effects can include drowsiness or a drop in blood pressure. These can cause you to be much less alert.
  • Pimozide
    • Taking this drug with fluvoxamine can cause serious heart problems.
  • Alosetron
    • Taking this drug with fluvoxamine can increase your risk of side effects from alosetron, such as stomach pain and severe constipation.
  • Ramelteon
    • Taking this drug with fluvoxamine can increase your risk of negative effects from ramelteon.

Interactions that increase your risk of side effects

Taking fluvoxamine with certain drugs may increase your risk of side effects from the drugs. These drugs include:

  • Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam or diazepam
    • Taking these drugs with fluvoxamine increases your risk of side effects from benzodiazepines. Your doctor may prescribe other drugs that don’t interact with fluvoxamine, or they may change your dosage of these drugs.
  • Clozapine
    • Taking fluvoxamine with clozapine increases your risk of negative effects from clozapine. These effects can include seizures and a dramatic drop in blood pressure when you stand up.
  • Methadone
    • Taking fluvoxamine while you take methadone can cause methadone to build up in your body. This could cause constipation and drowsiness. If the amount of methadone in your body builds up too much, you could stop breathing.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen
    • Taking NSAIDs with fluvoxamine can increase your risk of bleeding.
  • Lithium
    • Taking lithium with fluvoxamine can increase your risk of seizures.
  • Tacrine
    • Taking tacrine with fluvoxamine can increase your risk of nausea, vomiting, sweating, and diarrhea.
  • Triptans, such as sumatriptan
    • Taking a triptan with fluvoxamine can increase your risk of serotonin syndrome. Your doctor will monitor you closely if you need to take these drugs together.
  • Tryptophan
    • Taking tryptophan with fluvoxamine can cause severe vomiting.
  • Diltiazem
    • Taking diltiazem with fluvoxamine can increase your risk of a slow heart rate.
  • Beta-blockers, such as propranolol or metoprolol
    • Taking these drugs with fluvoxamine can increase your risk of a slow heart rate or low blood pressure. Your doctor may decrease your dosage of a beta-blocker when you are taking fluvoxamine.
  • Mexiletine
    • Your doctor may monitor your mexiletine blood levels.
  • Theophylline
    • Your doctor may reduce your dosage of theophylline and monitor your theophylline blood levels.
  • Warfarin
    • Your doctor may monitor your international normalized ratio (INR) more closely.
  • Carbamazepine
    • Your doctor may monitor your carbamazepine blood levels or watch for symptoms of carbamazepine toxicity.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
    • Your doctor may monitor your blood levels of your TCA or may lower your dosage of the TCA.
  • Serotonergic drugs

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we can not guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

Fluvoxamine warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

Fluvoxamine can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your face, eyes, throat or tongue
  • rash, hives, or blisters, alone or with fever or joint pain

If you develop these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

Alcohol interaction warning

Drinking alcohol is not recommended while you take fluvoxamine.

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For people with angle-closure glaucoma: Fluvoxamine can increase your risk of an angle-closure attack, which results in fluid buildup and extreme pressure inside your eye.

For people with history of mania: Fluvoxamine can increase your risk of activating mania. Your doctor should closely monitor you while you use this drug.

For people with seizures: Some people who have used this drug have had seizures. If you have unstable epilepsy, you should not take this drug. If you a history of seizures or controlled epilepsy, your doctor should monitor you closely if you take this drug. If you begin to have seizures or if your seizures happen more often, you should talk to your doctor about stopping this drug.

For people with liver disease: If you have a history of liver disease, your body may not clear this drug as quickly as it should. This could lead to a buildup of this drug in your body. To prevent this, your doctor may start you at a lower dosage and carefully monitor you during dose increases.

Warnings for other groups

For pregnant women: Fluvoxamine is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk. Your doctor may decide that another drug is safer for you during your pregnancy.

If you become pregnant while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.

For women who are breastfeeding: Fluvoxamine may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

For seniors: Older adults are more likely to be more sensitive to fluvoxamine and may process the drug more slowly. As a result, a higher amount of a drug stays in the body for a longer time. This raises the risk of side effects, especially low sodium levels.

For children: The safety and effectiveness of the use of fluvoxamine extended-release capsules has not been established in people younger than 18 years.

How to take fluvoxamine

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

Dosage for obsessive-compulsive disorder

Generic: Fluvoxamine

  • Form: Extended-release oral capsule
  • Strengths: 100 mg, 150 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • The typical dosage is 100 mg per day, taken at bedtime.
  • Your doctor may increase your dosage each week by 50 mg if needed.
  • The maximum daily dosage is 300 mg.

Child dosage (ages 8–17 years)

The fluvoxamine extended-release capsules have not been studied for use in people younger than 18 years. A dosage has not been established for this age group.

Child dosage (ages 0–7 years)

It has not been confirmed that fluvoxamine is safe and effective for use in people younger than 8 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults are more likely to be more sensitive to fluvoxamine and may process the drug more slowly. As a result, a higher amount of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may adjust your dosage to keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we can not guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

Take as directed

Fluvoxamine oral capsule is used for long-term treatment. It comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all: Stopping fluvoxamine may cause serious symptoms, including anxiety, irritability, high or low mood, and restlessness or changes in sleep habits. Symptoms also include headache, sweating, nausea, dizziness, tingling sensations, shaking, or confusion.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule: Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much: You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • trouble breathing
  • racing or abnormal heartbeat
  • extreme sleepiness
  • shakiness

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose: Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working: You should have reduced symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Important considerations for taking fluvoxamine

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes fluvoxamine for you.

General

  • You can take fluvoxamine with or without food.
  • If you take this drug once a day, take it at bedtime.
  • Do not crush or chew the oral capsules.

Storage

  • Store fluvoxamine at room temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Refills

A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t harm your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled container with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor should monitor your behavior while you take this drug. Your doctor will watch for:

  • Unusual changes in your mood
  • Changes in your weight or appetite. Children should have their height and weight monitored during treatment.

Sun sensitivity

Fluvoxamine can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. This increases your risk of sunburn. Avoid the sun if you can. If you can’t, be sure to wear protective clothing and sunscreen.

Availability

Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead to make sure your pharmacy carries it.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained here in is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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