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Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 370
Experience:  19 years conducting therapy; book author; newspaper columnist; former co-host of radio show
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What is the difference from Fluxotene (Prozac) and Cymbalta?

Customer Question

What is the difference from Fluxotene (Prozac) and Cymbalta? I was on Cymbalta for 6 months and then I stopped taking them about 1 month ago. I'm still have anxiety so my dr. put me on Fluxontene (Prozac). I've ready some negative things about Fluxontene... question will this cause seizures or cardiac arrest or anything like that??
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 4 years ago.
Hi Shellken:

The main difference between Cymbalta and Prozac lies in the neurotransmitters they affect in the brain. Prozac affects Serotonin almost exclusively, while Cymbalta, one of the newer formulations, affects Norepinepherine in addition to Serotonin. I am guessing your physician switched you because Cymbalta has been known to create energy, and may have amped your anxiety slightly. Prozac may be a better alternative for tending to the anxious symptoms.

As for your concerns regarding side-effects, Prozac's will be pretty similar to Cymbalta's. You will probably have an upset stomach for the first week or two, and may have trouble falling to sleep. Too, Prozac has been known to interfere with orgasm and sex drive. But the most serious side-effects don't typically have anyhting to do with seizures of heart attack - in fact, Prozac is one of the most mild SSRIs in the event that you skip a dose or two ("discontinuation syndrome"). The only really obnoxious side-effect that your doctor should know about right away is if you develop a bad rash after taking the medicine. Otherwise, Prozac is relatively safe.

Heck, it has been around since the mid-1970s, so it has the most proven track record of any anti-depressant. Seriously though, I understand that with anxiety, you tend to focus on the potential negatives. I hope I put some of your fears to rest. The Prozac may or may not help the anxiety (everyone has a different chemistry set between their ears), but it should be safe for you. And as always, make sure to talk this over with the prescribing physician as well.

Thanks!

Dr. Steve

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes I was on Cymbalta for 6 months at 60mg and it seems like it became to much so I stopped cold turkey. My anxiety never went away so that when my doctor prescribed me with Fluxontene (Prozac) because he said I should be able to handle better. So my next questions are, how long does it stay in your system and if I wanted to take it for just a month will that be ok or will I have a hard time getting off of this drug? I'm not into taking medication but the older I've gotten my anxiety has surfaced full force.
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 4 years ago.
Hello again:

Thanks for the additional info. Well, look... I am going to answer, but would be remiss if I did not adivse you to: (1) NOT ever just stop an anti-depressant cold turkey, and (2) don't make a medical move without the advice and assent of your physician.

Okay?

But to your question... As with the Cymbalta, you will need to take the Prozac for a couple/few weeks to build to a therapeutic level in the bloodstream. The exact level will vary depending upon variables unique to you, but your doc can figure those out. Once you are at that level, the taper should take two weeks to fully come off. There is (again) a little bit of wiggle room with the two week rule-of-thumb to account for your unique chemistry and the strength of the dose you were on, but that it a good rough estimate.

Thanks!

Dr. Steve

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Oh I stopped the cymbalta because 60mg became to much and I went back to my doctor who then gave me samples of 30 mg. I told him that I wanted to come off of it because by that time I hadn't been on it for 2 weeks and everything was fine. He told me that since I haven't taken it for 2 weeks then that was ok, I started to have withdrawl symptons and told myself I would never get on cymbalta again, I really got on it for pain not for anxiety. I just want to make sure Prozac is safe to take, I guess I'm just paranoid because I see alot of celebrites that have pass away due to Cardiac Arrest and one of the drugs that they were taking was Fluxotene, so I'm just nervous, but this is day 2 of me being on Fluxontene (Prozac). And you're sure it doesn't cause damage to the brain or heart?
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 4 years ago.
Yup... I am sure. Frankly (I am going to offer a personal opinion here), heart attacks at a young age, in the absence of a significant family history of cardiac issues, is alm ost invariably the result of stimulant use (cocaine, meth, ecstasy). The celebs lie dead, the media reports the prescription medicines they were taking - but neglect to lay out the plethora of illegal substances they may or may not have ingested. Then people are left to wonder if they will meet the same fate because they are taking the same medications.

When the hyper stimulants are introduced, they push the heart beyond its ability to keep up, and cardiac arrest ensues. Anyway, Prozac doesn't push the body in that way.

In fact (speaking of the brain now), there have been studies which suggest Prozac actually helps the brain correct its neurochemical issues permanently, such that after while, folks may not need to take it anymore.
Best of luck-

Thanks!

Dr. Steve

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
WOW!!! You have seriously put me at ease. I will keep you posted. Oh yeah I forgot to tell you that the Fluxotene (Prozac) is 10mg which is the lowest dosage I believe. So that should be ok...right??? And as far as my age I'm 37.
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 4 years ago.
LOL! Yes, you will be fine. I wish you the best, XXXXX XXXXX has been a pleasure talking with you today!

Thanks!

Dr. Steve

Dr. Steve, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 370
Experience: 19 years conducting therapy; book author; newspaper columnist; former co-host of radio show
Dr. Steve and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
It was a pleasure speaking to you as well!! Thank you so very much!!!
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 4 years ago.
You're welcome. Be well-
Dr. Steve

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Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve
370 Satisfied Customers
19 years conducting therapy; book author; newspaper columnist; former co-host of radio show