Luvox (Fluvoxamine) - Oral

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What Is Luvox?

Luvox (fluvoxamine) is a prescription medication that is used for adults and children aged 8 and older to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It is available as an extended-release Luvox CR capsule, as well as standard-release generic fluvoxamine maleate tablets.

This medication increases the action of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is thought to control the symptoms of OCD. Luvox is a selective serotonin (5-HT) reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that prevents serotonin from being reabsorbed into nerve terminals (reabsorption normally reduces the action of serotonin).

Antidepressants like Luvox can increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children and young adults with major depressive disorder and other psychiatric conditions. Luvox is not approved for use in children except those with OCD.

Drug Facts

  • Generic Name: Fluvoxamine
  • Brand Name(s): Luvox, Luvox CR
  • Administration Route(s): Oral
  • Drug Availability: Prescription
  • Therapeutic Classification: Antidepressant
  • Available Generically: Yes
  • Controlled Substance: N/A
  • Active Ingredient: Fluvoxamine
  • Dosage Form(s): Tablet, extended-release capsule

What Is Luvox Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration approved Luvox to treat symptoms related to OCD.

OCD is a chronic mental health condition that causes obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. It is associated with severe, specific, distressing anxieties, such as a fear of getting germs or causing harm. It is generally accompanied by ritualistic behaviors that are often related to obsessive thoughts and may include actions such as excessive organizing or cleaning. The condition interferes with a person’s emotional well-being, and sometimes with a person’s physical well-being as well.

How to Take Luvox

Your healthcare provider will prescribe this medication for daily use to prevent your OCD symptoms. It is not used to make the symptoms go away while you are having them.

The CR formulation is taken once per day at bedtime. You should not crush or chew the tablets.

You can take the standard-release formulation once per day at bedtime. Daily doses higher than 100 milligrams (mg) per day are divided into two doses per day. Some strengths of the generic tablet doses are scored and can be divided. For children aged 8 to 17 years old, divide the doses if they are greater than 50 mg per day.

You can take Luvox with or without food.

Storage

Keep Luvox in its original container, away from moisture and humidity, and out of the reach of children and pets.

Luvox CR capsules must be stored at a room temperature of 77 F. You can briefly take it in temperatures between 59 F to 86 F, but not above a temperature of 86 F.

Fluvoxamine tablets must be stored at a room temperature range of 68 F to 77 F, but they can be exposed to temperatures ranging from 59 F to 86 F.

Off-Label Uses

Healthcare providers can prescribe this medication off-label for the treatment of several other conditions not listed by the FDA. Research studies have shown that Luvox can be clinically beneficial for these purposes.

Luvox can be used off-label to help manage symptoms related to autism. It is also sometimes prescribed for symptoms of borderline personality disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic, post-traumatic stress, and social phobias.

Using Luvox off-label can carry risks of other side effects that don’t typically occur when being used for OCD. Tell your healthcare provider about any unusual side effects you experience while taking Luvox.

How Long Does Luvox Take to Work?

This medication can start having effects on the body within a few hours. It may take several days or longer before you begin to experience a change in your symptoms of OCD.

What Are the Side Effects of Luvox?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A medical professional can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a medical professional. You may report side effects to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

This medication can cause both minor and severe side effects. Sometimes side effects can be bothersome or dangerous and may require stopping treatment.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of Luvox are:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Low energy and sleepiness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle aches
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Sore throat
  • Indigestion
  • Yawning

Sedative effects are more common in people taking Luvox compared with other SSRIs.

You should tell your healthcare provider if you experience any of these side effects, even if they are mild. Changes in your side effects can be an indication that you are sick or have a medication interaction.

Severe Side Effects

Taking Luvox can cause serious side effects, some of which may be life-threatening.

Serious side effects of Luvox include:

  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Bipolar disorder in predisposed individuals
  • Serotonin syndrome, which causes restlessness; agitation; confusion; widened pupils; changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature; and muscle rigidity
  • Angle closure glaucoma, also called closed angle glaucoma
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Activation of mania or hypomania
  • Seizures, which can occur if you have epilepsy
  • Low sodium levels, which can cause dizziness, loss of consciousness, coma, or death

Get medical attention right away if you experience any of these side effects.

Long-Term Side Effects

Suddenly stopping Luvox can cause withdrawal. 

Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hypomania

Side effects related to this medication should go away within a week after you stop taking it. However, long-term consequences of serious side effects can persist if organ damage occurred (such as organ damage due to bleeding).

Report Side Effects

Luvox may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Luvox Should I Take?

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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

For treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder: 

  • For oral dosage form (extended-release capsules): 
  • Adults—At first, 100 milligrams (mg) once a day at bedtime. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 300 mg per day.
  • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor. 

For oral dosage form (tablets):

  • Adults—At first, 50 milligrams (mg) once a day at bedtime. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 300 mg per day. If your daily dose is higher than 100 mg, your doctor may want you to take it in 2 divided doses
  • Children 8 to 17 years of age—At first, 25 mg once a day at bedtime. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 200 mg or 300 mg per day based on age. If your daily dose is higher than 50 mg, your doctor may want you to take it in 2 divided doses.
  • Children younger than 8 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

Older adults (aged 65 years or older) and people with liver disease may need a dose adjustment. Your healthcare provider may start you at a lower dose and increase it more slowly than usual.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medication, you should take it as soon as you remember to, unless it is time for your next dose. If it is almost time for your next dose, take your next dose and then resume your regular medication schedule.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Luvox?

Taking too much of this medication can cause serious health issues that may require urgent medical attention and treatment.

Symptoms of a fluvoxamine overdose include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension (can cause dizziness or fainting)
  • Low potassium level (can cause weakness, vomiting, twitching, and muscle cramps)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Increased reflexes
  • Slow or fast heart rate
  • Convulsions
  • Liver damage
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) abnormalities
  • Coma

Treating a Luvox overdose includes the medical management of your breathing, heart rhythm, blood pressure, and blood electrolytes. Sometimes some of the medication can be removed from the body with activated charcoal or gastric lavage (a tube is placed into the mouth and advanced to the stomach to remove the medication).

What Happens If I Overdose on Luvox?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Luvox call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Luvox, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow for changes in the dose and to help reduce any side effects. 

Do not take alosetron (Lotronex®), pimozide (Orap®), ramelteon (Rozerem®), thioridazine (Mellaril®), or tizanidine (Zanaflex®) while you are taking fluvoxamine. You could have more side effects than usual if you use these medicines together. 

Do not take fluvoxamine with a monoamine oxidase (MAOI) inhibitor (eg, isocarboxazid [Marplan®], linezolid [Zyvox®], methylene blue injection, phenelzine [Nardil®], selegiline [Eldepryl®], tranylcypromine [Parnate®]). Do not start taking fluvoxamine during the 2 weeks after you stop a MAO inhibitor and wait 2 weeks after stopping fluvoxamine before you start taking a MAO inhibitor. If you take them together or do not wait 2 weeks, you may develop confusion, agitation, restlessness, stomach or intestinal symptoms, a sudden high body temperature, an extremely high blood pressure, or severe convulsions. 

Fluvoxamine may cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome if taken together with some medicines. Do not use fluvoxamine with buspirone (Buspar®), fentanyl (Abstral®, Duragesic®), lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®), tryptophan, St. John's wort, amphetamines, or some pain or migraine medicines (eg, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, tramadol, Frova®, Imitrex®, Maxalt®, Relpax®, Ultram®, Zomig®). Check with your doctor first before taking any other medicines with fluvoxamine. 

Fluvoxamine may cause some people to be agitated, irritable or display other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause some children, teenagers, and young adults to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies or to become more depressed. Some people may have trouble sleeping, get upset easily, have a big increase in energy, or start to act reckless. If you, or your caregiver notice any of these side effects, tell your doctor right away. Let the doctor know if you or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) or has tried to commit suicide. 

Avoid drinking alcohol with fluvoxamine. 

This medicine may cause some people to become drowsy, less able to think clearly, or to have blurred vision or poor muscle control. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert or able to see clearly. 

Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine without checking with your doctor first. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are taking before stopping it completely. This is to decrease the chance of having withdrawal symptoms such as agitation, confusion, headache, irritability, numbness or tingling, restlessness, trouble sleeping, or unusual drowsiness or weakness. 

This medicine may increase your risk for bleeding problems. Make sure your doctor knows if you are also taking other medicines that thin the blood, such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents also called NSAIDs (eg, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil®, Aleve®, Celebrex®, Voltaren®), or warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®). 

Hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood) may occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have confusion, difficulty concentrating, headaches, memory problems, weakness, and unsteadiness. 

Tell your doctor right away if you develop a rash or hives, swelling of the face, eyes, or mouth, or trouble breathing after taking this medicine. 

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Luvox?

Some conditions can increase your risk of side effects from taking Luvox.

While Luvox isn’t contraindicated, your healthcare provider may use extra caution with this medication if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a high risk of suicide, have a bleeding disorder, or have glaucoma.

What Other Medications Interact With Luvox?

Luvox can have many medication interactions, some of which are very serious.

You should not take Luvox with diazepam, thioridazine, tizanidine, pimozide, alosetron, ramelteon, linezolid, or intravenous methylene blue.

Other drugs that interact with Luvox include:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): Do not use Luvox and MAOIs within 14 days of each other.
  • Medications that inhibit or are metabolized by cytochrome P450, such as warfarin and omeprazole 
  • Carbamazepine: Luvox causes carbamazepine levels to be elevated and increases the risk of carbamazepine toxicity.
  • Tryptophan: Taking this medication with Luvox can cause severe vomiting.
  • Diltiazem: This combination can cause a slow heart rate.
  • Propranolol or metoprolol: Luvox can elevate the levels of these medications.
  • Other SSRIs and SNRIs, triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, amphetamines, and St. John’s Wort: These can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.
  • Drugs that affect blood clotting, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, or warfarin: Taking these drugs with Luvox can increase the risk of bleeding.

Tell your healthcare provider about any other prescription or over-the-counter medication you are taking.

What Medications Are Similar?

There are several SSRIs used to treat depression and other mental health conditions.

Other medications that are approved for treating symptoms of OCD include:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Luvox used for?

    Luvox is indicated for the treatment of symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is a mental health condition characterized by obsessions and compulsions that interfere with daily life.

  • How does Luvox work?

    This medication increases the action of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects the brain and the rest of the body.

  • What drugs should not be taken with Luvox?

    Luvox has many drug interactions. You shouldn’t take it with diazepam, thioridazine, tizanidine, pimozide, alosetron, ramelteon, linezolid, or intravenous methylene blue. Taking it with certain antipsychotics and antidepressants increases the risk of serotonin syndrome. Taking Luvox with medications that affect blood clotting can increase the risk of bleeding.

  • What are the side effects of Luvox?

    Luvox causes many side effects, including dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, sexual dysfunction, and more. It can also cause serious side effects that can harm your health, such as serotonin syndrome, bleeding, convulsions, and more.

  • How do I safely stop taking Luvox?

    This medication can cause withdrawal effects, so you need to reduce your dose gradually (under the supervision of your healthcare provider) when you stop taking it.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Luvox?

While taking Luvox, it is important that you talk to your healthcare provider about counseling and behavioral therapy to help manage your OCD. Be sure to take your medication as prescribed, and don't skip doses or take extra doses.

Tell your healthcare provider about any medical conditions that you develop while you are taking Luvox—this may necessitate a change in your dose. Tell your doctor and your pharmacist about any medications, supplements, and herbs that you take so you can avoid drug interactions.

Familiarize yourself with the side effects of this medication so you can get medical attention if you need it.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for education purposes only and not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare professional. Consult your doctor before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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