Luvox is the brand name for the drug fluvoxamine. It is used to treat OCD. There are several risk factors involved in taking this medication, and it is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18. 
Evidence Based
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What Is Fluvoxamine (Luvox) Used to Treat?

Fluvoxamine (Luvox) is a medication prescribed for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It decreases intrusive and obsessive thoughts and reduces the urge to repeatedly perform those tasks. People whose obsessive thoughts and repeated actions interfere with daily life benefit from using Fluvoxamine.

How Does Luvox Work?

Luvox pill

Fluvoxamine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). All of the drugs in this category work in a similar manner by increasing the chemical serotonin in the brain.

Graphic human body showing symptoms.

Fluvoxamine Side Effects 

Fluvoxamine is effective for treating OCD, but it triggers side effects in many users. These side effects are serious in some cases.

For example, some users of the drug experience suicidal thoughts or actions. The concern for this occurring was so high that the FDA now requires the manufacturer of Fluvoxamine to include a black box warning regarding the risk. This side effect tends to occur most often in youth and young adult users. It typically begins within the first few months of use or after a change in dosage.

Fluvoxamine is not recommended to anyone under 18 years old without medical advice.

Call 911 or contact your doctor immediately if you or a loved one experiences any of the following after taking Fluvoxamine:

  • Suicide attempt
  • Dangerous impulses
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of dying
  • Attempts to commit suicide
  • Acting on dangerous impulses
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Thoughts about suicide or dying
  • New or worsening depression
  • New or worsening anxiety or panic attacks
  • Agitation, restlessness, anger, or irritability
  • Trouble sleeping

Fluvoxamine also causes other potentially severe side effects including manic episodes, abnormal bleeding, and serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome is a life-threatening event that happens when too much serotonin builds up in the body. Its symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Coordination problems
  • Muscle stiffness

The following could be an indication of a manic episode:

  • Significantly increased energy
  • Severe insomnia
  • Racing thoughts
  • Reckless behavior
  • Grandiose ideas
  • Excessive happiness or agitation
  • Talking more than usual 

Common Side Effects

Other common, less severe side effects of Fluvoxamine include:

  • Anxiousness
  • Changes in vision
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Eye pain, redness, or swelling
  • Excessive yawning
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Sexual problems
  • Shaking
  • Sleeping problems
  • Sore throat
  • Weakness

In addition to the side effects listed above, children taking Fluvoxamine might also experience:

  • Depression
  • Gas
  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Hyperactivity
  • Skin rash

Mild symptoms associated with Fluvoxamine use tend to ease within a few days or weeks. Contact your doctor if symptoms persist or are severe enough to interfere with daily living.

Does Fluvoxamine Cause Weight Loss? 

Fluvoxamine causes a decrease in appetite for some people, which means it can lead to weight loss. It’s important, especially for children, to monitor Fluvoxamine use and weight loss. This ensures kids grow as they should.

Two pills mixing equals dangerous

Fluvoxamine Risks & Drug Interactions

Fluvoxamine interacts with several drugs, as well as supplements. It’s important to tell your doctor everything you are taking before using Fluvoxamine or Luvox. 

You should not take Fluvoxamine if you are using any of the following medications:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), such as phenelzine or tranylcypromine
  • Linezolid
  • Thioridazine
  • Tizanidine
  • Pimozide
  • Alosetron
  • Ramelteon

Other medications might be safe to use for some people taking Fluvoxamine, but increase the risk for side effects. These drugs include:

  • Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam or diazepam
  • Clozapine
  • Methadone
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen
  • Lithium
  • Tacrine
  • Triptans, such as sumatriptan
  • Tryptophan
  • Diltiazem
  • Beta-blockers, such as propranolol or metoprolol
  • Mexiletine
  • Theophylline
  • Warfarin
  • Carbamazepine
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
  • Serotonergic drugs

Certain drugs and supplements increase the risk of serotonin syndrome when taking Fluvoxamine, including:

  • Other SSRIs, including fluoxetine and sertraline
  • SSNRIs, including duloxetine and venlafaxine
  • TCAs, including amitriptyline and clomipramine
  • Fentanyl 
  • Tramadol
  • Buspirone
  • St. John’s wort
  • Amphetamines
Graphic of head filled with pills

Is Luvox Addictive?

Luvox is not considered addictive, but using it can lead to dependence. Like many SSRIs, it increases the serotonin in the brain. Quitting the drug without tapering its use triggers withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms mimic a typical addiction and make it difficult to stop using the drug.

For most people, Luvox withdrawal symptoms last several weeks. The intensity of these symptoms varies based on the length of time and dosage amount used. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Weight changes
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Fluvoxamine Addiction Treatment

To avoid withdrawal symptoms when stopping the use of Fluvoxamine, it’s important to gradually taper the use of the drug. Gradual detoxification is important for successfully breaking dependence on the drug. This enables the brain to naturally restore its ability to produce the appropriate amount of serotonin without relying on Fluvoxamine to do this.

Someone with a dependence on Fluvoxamine can benefit from a support program after the detoxification process is over. This helps with any physical and mental issues associated with drug dependence and usually includes counseling, nutrition guidance, and ongoing emotional support.

Despite a Fluvoxamine addiction being different from an addiction to other drugs, it is still important to seek treatment when stopping the use of the drug, especially in the early days when withdrawal symptoms are severe.

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“Fluvoxamine | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses, and More.” Healthline,

“Luvox Side Effects: Common, Severe, Long Term.” Drugs.Com,

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Updated on: July 20, 2020
Addiction Group Staff
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Medically Reviewed: May 1, 2020
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Annamarie Coy,
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