Fluvoxamine for anxiety & depression.

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Is fluvoxamine (luvox) right for you?

There are many different types of antidepressant medications, and it’s important to find the one that’s right for you. At Brightside, we’re here to help. Our providers are knowledgeable about each type of medication for anxiety and depression and specialize in finding the best fit for your individual needs. As part of your treatment, your provider may recommend an antidepressant called fluvoxamine to help you feel better.

Fluvoxamine is a commonly used medication that is often well tolerated and effective for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Below, we offer some helpful information about fluvoxamine so you can work with your provider to determine if it’s right for you and make an informed decision about your care.

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Mimi Winsberg, MD

Chief Medical Officer
Stanford-trained Psychiatrist with 25 years of practice

Get a fluvoxamine prescription and ongoing anxiety & depression care for only $95 / month.

What’s included in a Brightside Medication Membership:

  • Ongoing support from an expert psychiatric provider
  • Unlimited daily messaging & video follow-ups
  • Regular progress tracking

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Getting started is simple.

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Step 1

Fill out our free mental health assessment.

Start with a clinically-proven set of questions to shed light on how you’re feeling. We’ll help you understand your symptoms, then recommend the best treatment plan for you–including medication, therapy, or both.

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Step 2

Connect with your provider for a personalized treatment plan.

Get matched with an expert provider for an online video consultation. Share how you’re feeling and then decide on next steps–together.

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Step 3

Make progress and start feeling better.

Stay in touch with with unlimited messaging, plus monthly video sessions with your Therapist and unlimited video consults with your Psychiatric Provider.

Then measure your progress with regular check-ins to monitor your symptoms and make adjustments until your treatment is right for you.

Everything you need to know about fluvoxamine

What is fluvoxamine, and how does it work?

Fluvoxamine, commonly sold under the name Luvox, is a type of prescription antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that we use to treat various mental health conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Serotonin is a natural substance in the brain that produces a feeling of mental wellbeing and helps maintain mental balance. We use SSRIs to help balance the serotonin levels in your brain—increasing those levels can improve your mood. Serotonin is one of the major chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) used to carry a signal from one brain cell to another.

An antidepressant medication like fluvoxamine produces more serotonin in your brain. With more serotonin, your brain can grow new cells and form stronger connections. This type of drug also blocks neurons from reabsorbing serotonin, which means more serotonin is available to help transmit messages between neurons.

Fluvoxamine may also help grow cells in an important part of your brain that regulates mood and anxiety. This region is called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). When cells in this region are activated, they can help regulate mood, memories, anxiety, anger, and fear.

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What conditions does fluvoxamine treat?

At Brightside, our psychiatric providers specialize in personalizing treatment for each person. We give you the personal attention and expert advice you deserve and can count on—we explain all your options and use our expertise to find the medication that’s right for you. It’s important to us that you understand how medications work and what to expect so that your treatment is worry-free.

Fluvoxamine is a medication we may prescribe if you’ve been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If you’re new to this medication or medical treatment for OCD, don’t worry—your Brightside provider will stay with you through every step to make sure the treatment is a good fit. 

Providers may also prescribe fluvoxamine for other mental health conditions, including:

  • Eating disorders, including bulimia and binge-eating disorder
  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Social anxiety disorder or social phobia
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What symptoms can fluvoxamine help treat?

Taking fluvoxamine can help you with symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which include:

  • Unwanted, recurrent, and disturbing thoughts (obsessions)
  • Repetitive behaviors that you feel the need to perform to reduce anxiety (compulsions)

Fluvoxamine can also help you with symptoms of depression, such as:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling bad about yourself 
  • Feeling sad, empty, or tearful 
  • Irritability or anger 
  • Restlessness 
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideas of self-harm

If we prescribe fluvoxamine for social anxiety disorder, it can help reduce symptoms you may feel in social situations, such as:

  • Blushing
  • Difficulty talking
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Shaking

Brightside providers have an in-depth knowledge of the strengths and drawbacks of each medication. You’ll get all the information you need to make an informed choice about your treatment.

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Will fluvoxamine work for me?

We understand that you may be feeling a bit uncertain about starting a new medication and whether it will help you feel better. You’re not alone—many patients have similar questions and we’ll work together with you to find the answers.

It’s important to keep in mind that some medications work better for certain people than others because each person is different. Our genetics, age, and gender, among other differences, can all affect how we respond to a medication, so your response to fluvoxamine may be different from someone else’s response. Underlying health conditions, other medications you take, and dietary considerations can also play a role in how you react to a new medication.

At Brightside, we can help you find the right medication to help you feel better.

Before starting a new medication like fluvoxamine, you should get a comprehensive health assessment from a provider who understands your health history. You should only take fluvoxamine if a physician or other qualified psychiatric provider prescribed it for you.

It can take several weeks before you start feeling the effects of fluvoxamine. We understand that this can feel like a long time, but it’s important to continue taking your medication even if you don’t feel improvement right away.

In most cases, your provider will have you start on a low dose of fluvoxamine and gradually increase your dose over a few weeks. At Brightside, our board-certified providers will closely monitor your progress to make sure this medication and dosage is right for you.

If you ever have questions about your medication or need to meet with a provider to talk about your treatment—don’t wait. Your board-certified Brightside provider will keep a close eye on your progress and make any appropriate adjustments to ensure your medication and dosage offer you the best results. We also offer telehealth services and provider consultations that can be scheduled within 48 hours.

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How long do people generally take fluvoxamine?

Before you start taking fluvoxamine, you may have some concerns about how long you’ll need to take this medication. The amount of time you take an antidepressant will depend on your treatment plan—it varies based on your symptoms and how you respond to the medication. Some people may only need the medication for a few months, while others may stay on a medication for several years.

Once you start taking fluvoxamine, you may notice some improvement in your sleep and energy levels in the first couple of weeks. However, you’ll likely have to stay on fluvoxamine for a few months to get the full benefit of the medication. For example, your depression symptoms may not start to fade until you’ve been on the medication for 6-8 weeks.

Several studies have shown that fluvoxamine can help with symptoms of OCD and social anxiety disorder, but patients in these studies stay on the drug for at least 10-12 weeks.

If this is your first time taking depression medication, we may recommend that you stay on the treatment for six to 12 months. Remember that your treatment may take longer if you need to switch doses or medications, add medications, or if your anxiety or depression doesn’t respond to treatment.

Your Brightside provider will work with you to determine what course of treatment is best for your specific needs. Most importantly, we recommend that you keep taking your medication until your provider says it’s time to stop—even after you start to feel better.

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How effective is fluvoxamine?

Studies have shown that antidepressants such as fluvoxamine relieve symptoms about 40-60% of the time, and additional treatments (such as therapy and lifestyle improvements) on top of medication often lead to the best outcomes.

To get the best results with medication, it’s important to consistently measure progress during treatment. This is known as Measurement Based Care, and it’s the approach we use at Brightside. It’s common to adjust the dose and/or medication when starting antidepressants until you find just the right fit.

Fluvoxamine is a safe and effective antidepressant. However, it’s important to keep in mind that its effectiveness varies from person to person.

Several studies have shown that fluvoxamine effectively treats many types of anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and panic disorder. Studies have proven that fluvoxamine can help treat these conditions in adolescents and children, too.

When it comes to treating depression, studies have shown that fluvoxamine is neither better nor worse than other antidepressants.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), trials have shown that adults who take between 100-300mg of fluvoxamine experience improvement in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms.

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Does fluvoxamine change my personality?

We understand that you may have some concerns about how fluvoxamine affects you, but you don’t have to worry about it changing your personality. The goal of this treatment is to help you feel better—like yourself again—and restore your good mental health. But remember, it doesn’t happen overnight. Keep taking your medication as prescribed, and talk to your provider if you have any questions or concerns.

Are there side effects associated with fluvoxamine?

Fluvoxamine is a safe medication, but it’s important to talk with your Brightside provider about potential side effects of this treatment.

 The side effects from fluvoxamine are usually temporary, but don’t hesitate to talk to your provider if any of these symptoms become severe or don’t go away:

  • Change in sex drive or ability
  • Change in taste
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Gas
  • Headache
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Memory problems
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Stomach pain
  • Unsteadiness 
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss

In rare cases, fluvoxamine can also cause severe side effects. Call a provider right away if you experience:

  • Bloody nose
  • Changes in vision or swelling around the eye
  • Chest pain
  • Coordination problems
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Fever and sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Hives
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Rash
  • Red blood in stool or black, tarry stool
  • Seizures
  • Severe muscle stiffness
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising 
  • Vomiting blood

At Brightside, your health and safety are our highest priorities. We make sure you get individual attention and guidance to make sure you feel your best.

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Does fluvoxamine have withdrawal symptoms?

Antidepressants are not physiologically or psychologically addictive, but they can cause discontinuation syndrome if stopped abruptly.

Discontinuation syndrome is a consequence of abruptly stopping certain types of antidepressants––particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

Discontinuation syndrome can include a range of symptoms that may occur in patients who suddenly stop their SSRIs or SNRIs. These are the most common symptoms of discontinuation syndrome:

  • Feeling anxious
  • Feelings of vertigo
  • Odd sensory symptoms, such as tingling feelings in the skin or what some people describe as a “zapping” sensation in the brain
  • Trouble sleeping

Your Brightside provider will prescribe fluvoxamine to help you feel better. After you start to feel these positive effects, you may be tempted to stop taking the medication. However, in most cases, fluvoxamine contributes to these good feelings, and stopping the medication could cause your anxiety or depression to come back.

Make sure to talk to your provider before stopping or changing how you take your medication so that they can create a plan that gives your body enough time to adjust. This will keep you feeling well and prevent symptoms from returning.

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Can I take fluvoxamine during pregnancy or while nursing?

If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, you should talk to your provider before making any medication changes. At Brightside, we can also help you weigh the pros and cons of continuing your medication while pregnant.

Some SSRIs like fluvoxamine during pregnancy may contribute to complications, such as low birth weight and premature delivery (delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy). Although there is minimal risk of birth defects, there may be safer ways to manage your symptoms while you’re pregnant.

Because fluvoxamine can pass into breast milk, it’s also important to talk to your provider if you plan to breastfeed. You and your provider can develop a plan to manage your symptoms and feed your baby safely.

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Is fluvoxamine addictive?

Fluvoxamine is not addictive and is not a controlled substance, but if you have concerns about your dependence on this medication, don’t hesitate to talk to your Brightside provider.

What does the FDA say about fluvoxamine?

You can view the FDA black box warning for fluvoxamine here. If you have questions about whether the black box warning for fluvoxamine applies to you, please talk to your doctor.

Conditions we treat with fluvoxamine

Brightside Psychiatric Providers prescribe fluvoxamine alongside other medicines to treat conditions including:
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