Can One Overdose on Prozac? Symptoms of Fluoxetine OD

Last Updated: June 24, 2020

Authored by Roger Weiss, MD

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Prozac is one of the most popular antidepressants available on the market today, and it is also commonly referred to as fluoxetine. This medicine is used to treat illnesses such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, serious anxiety and more. It is safe to use in small quantities, although there are a couple of Prozac side effects people should know about. Some of these side effects include yawning, sweating, loss of appetite, decreased sex drive, etc. This medicine is responsible for influencing the neurotransmitters in the brain which in turn can affect one’s mood and emotional status.

People take Prozac to relieve stress and to manage the symptoms of various illnesses. If it is consumed in small quantities, it can improve one’s mood, alleviate anxiety or depression symptoms and even raise the self-esteem of a person temporarily. However, it is not uncommon to exceed the maximum Prozac dose which can lead to serious health consequences.
A Prozac overdose happens when a person takes a high amount of this drug, usually in combination with other substances such as alcohol. One can get Fluoxetine OD by ingesting something between 20mg and 80mg a day, but it heavily depends on various factors such as gender, age, state of mind, etc.

What Causes Prozac Overdose?

A Fluoxetine overdose can happen because of various factors and the most popular is taking too much Prozac in a short amount of time. Another risk factor for an overdose on Prozac can be mixing it with alcohol or similar substances. One can get overdosed on Prozac if takes other types of drugs in combination with Fluoxetine. Some of these drugs include isocarboxazid, pimozide or thioridazine which is an antipsychotic drug. Lastly, people who have suicidal tendencies might attempt overdosing on this popular antidepressant, but there are very few cases when taking too much Fluoxetine was actually lethal.

What are the Symptoms of a Prozac OD?

Many people ask what happens if one overdoses on Fluoxetine and the answer is that certain symptoms will appear quickly. The list of Prozac overdose symptoms includes but is not limited to:

  • Drowsiness – especially when Prozac is combined with alcohol, one can get drowsy quickly
  • Blurred vision – people have a hard time seeing clearly into the distanceyoung woman leaning on the table holding her chest feeling sick
  • Tremor – this is another common symptom which can last for hours
  • Vomiting – such symptom is healthy as it’s the body’s attempt to eliminate the ingested Prozac
  • Fast heart rate – this is a serious symptom very common with a high overdose of Prozac
  • Breathing hard – this symptom might indicate brain damage and it is very dangerous as it can lead to Prozac overdose death
  • Coma – in some of the worst cases, people can go in a coma as a result of a Fluoxetine overdose

In some cases, people also hallucinate as a result of a Prozac overdose or have uncontrolled muscle spasms which last for hours. These symptoms can be augmented if Fluoxetine is administered in combination with other SSRI drugs or alcohol, nicotine, etc.

Can Taking Too Much Fluoxetine Cause Complications?

People who are curious about what happens if one takes too much Prozac should know that a Fluoxetine overdose can lead to death in the worst cases, but such occurrences are rare if it is properly treated. The max dosage of Prozac from which a patient has recovered was 8mg. One of the most popular complications that can appear as a result of Fluoxetine overdose is having trouble breathing which might indicate brain damage.

What is serotonin syndrome?

Other complications can lead to something called the serotonin syndrome which takes place when the body has too much serotonin. The serotonin syndrome consists of a series of symptoms which result from consuming various selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Fluoxetine. Some of these symptoms include increased reflexes, extreme body temperature, agitation, and more.

What factors affect the possibility and severity of complications?

The gravity of the complications greatly depends on how much Prozac one has taken, for how long this substance remained in his body, how fast proper medical treatment was administered, whether the substance has been consumed in combination with other drugs, etc. A common myth refers to the fact that there are high amounts of fluoride in Prozac, which can cause overdose and health problems, but the myth is false. This antidepressant contains trace amounts of covalent bond fluorine atoms which are harmless to the human body and cannot cause additional complications.

What to Do in Case of Prozac Overdose?

There are people who can develop Prozac addiction and they have a higher chance of overdosing with Fluoxetine. It is important to act as quickly as possible if someone gets overdosed with Fluoxetine. These are a few tips on what to do if someone gets overdosed:

  • Call 911 or the local emergency numberman felt sick on the street and the woman came to rescue and called 911
  • Never leave the patient alone until the paramedics arrive and try to keep the patient awake
  • Never attempt to make the patient vomit unless it is specifically mentioned by the medical personnel. Provoking vomit without doctor supervision might lead to choking
  • Find relevant information such as the patient’s medical history, age, height, amount of antidepressant ingested, etc

How Is a Fluoxetine Overdose Treated?

There are a number of ways of treating patients who take too much of this antidepressant, depending on when was this substance ingested and other factors. For example, the doctor starts by measuring the vital signs such as blood pressure, body temperature, and others. If the patient has ingested a combination of Fluoxetine and alcohol in the last hour, the doctor might want to provoke vomiting, so that these dangerous substances are not completely absorbed by the body.

Medications for Prozac overdose treatment

Depending on the amount of Prozac ingested, doctors might also attempt to administer activated charcoal to the patient. This substance is known for its absorbent properties and it can save one’s life if it is given at the right time. Doctors might also attempt to hydrate the patient intravenously to keep him alive while Fluoxetine is eliminated from the body. In the worst cases, seizure medications might be required to save an overdosed person’s life.

Serious Fluoxetine OD Shall Be Treated in Rehab Facilities

Prozac is a potentially dangerous drug which should be used in small quantities only. Taking too much is definitely life-threatening, so every second counts in saving the patient. There are multiple rehab centers and facilities where patients are treated for Fluoxetine overdose and the majority of the patients recover successfully.

Page Sources

  1. Jeffrey R. Suchard, Fluoxetine Overdose-Induced Seizure,
  2. Richard Lee-Kelland, Sabeeka Zehra, Pradeesh Mappa, Fluoxetine overdose in a teenager resulting in serotonin syndrome, seizure and delayed onset rhabdomyolysis,

Published on: June 27th, 2018

Updated on: June 24th, 2020

About Author

Roger Weiss, MD

Dr. Roger Weiss is a practicing mental health specialist at the hospital. Dr. Weiss combines his clinical practice and medical writing career since 2009. Apart from these activities, Dr. Weiss also delivers lectures for youth, former addicts, and everyone interested in topics such as substance abuse and treatment.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.


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