Luvox Uses, Effects & Withdrawal

Luvox is the brand name for the drug fluvoxamine. It is used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and social anxiety disorder (SAD). There are several risks associated with taking this medication. Luvox use is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18. 
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What is Luvox & What Does it Treat?

Most commonly, fluvoxamine (Luvox) is prescribed to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The medication decreases intrusive and obsessive thoughts and reduces the urge to repeatedly develop these thoughts.

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People whose obsessive thoughts and repeated actions interfere with daily life benefit from using Fluvoxamine.

Luvox pill

Fluvoxamine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

All of the drugs in this category work in a similar way by increasing the chemical serotonin in the brain.

Is Luvox Good For Anxiety?

Luvox CR (the controlled-release form of Luvox) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat social anxiety disorder (SAD) in February 2008.

If you take Luvox CR for anxiety, you may notice an improvement in energy, appetite, and sleep within one to two weeks. Positive changes in mood and enjoyment in activities may take up to eight weeks to improve.

Graphic human body showing symptoms.

What Are The Side Effects Of Luvox?

Fluvoxamine effectively treats obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but it also triggers side effects in many users. In some cases, these side effects can be severe.

For example, some users experience suicidal thoughts or actions. Because of this, the FDA now requires the manufacturer of Fluvoxamine to include a black box warning about this 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 (Luvox) is not recommended to anyone under 18 years of age without medical advice.

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

  • 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

Common Side Effects of Luvox

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 (flatulence)
  • 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 life.

Serious Side Effects of Luvox

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 

Does Luvox Cause Weight Gain?

No, Luvox does not usually cause weight gain. 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 Luvox 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 and supplements. It’s important to tell your doctor everything you are taking before using 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

Luvox Withdrawal & Addiction Symptoms

Luvox has a heavy influence on neurotransmitters, which can lead to physical dependence in patients who are actively using it. Like many SSRIs, it increases serotonin levels in the brain.

Quitting Luvox without tapering triggers withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms mimic a typical addiction and make it difficult to stop using the drug.

Luvox Withdrawal Symptoms

Many of the symptoms associated with Luvox withdrawal are similar to the flu, and may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Body aches and pains
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Other flu-like symptoms

Other symptoms of Luvox withdrawal can affect your mental health or physical body:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Problems sleeping
  • Weight changes
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Balance problems
  • Blurred vision
  • "Brain zaps"
  • Indigestion (e.g., constipation, diarrhea)
  • Flatulence

How Long Does Luvox Withdrawal Last?

For most people, Luvox withdrawal symptoms last several weeks. The intensity of these symptoms varies based on the length of time and dosage taken.

Luvox has a half-life of about 15 hours, which is the shortest of all selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This may contribute to the development of discontinuation syndrome (withdrawal symptoms).

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How Do I Wean Off Fluvoxamine?

To avoid withdrawal symptoms when stopping Fluvoxamine use, it’s important to gradually taper off the drug in a clinical setting. You should never detox from a drug without professional guidance.

Gradual detoxification is an important step in breaking physical dependence. Doing so enables the brain to naturally restore its ability to produce the appropriate amount of serotonin without relying on Luvox.

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.

Luvox addiction is different from other drug addictions. However, it is still important to seek treatment when stopping use, especially in the early days when withdrawal symptoms are severe.

Can Luvox make anxiety worse?

When you first start Luvox or change doses, you may experience unwanted symptoms. These can include increased anxiety, agitation, hostility, impulsive behaviors, and suicidal thoughts. These symptoms typically improve within a few weeks of taking the drug.

Can Luvox make you gain weight?

Luvox does not usually cause weight gain, but it can cause weight loss.

Does Luvox cause suicidal thoughts?

In the beginning stages of taking Luvox, you may experience thoughts of suicide, self-harm, and/or harming others. These symptoms are typically temporary and resolve within a few weeks as your body adjusts to the drug.

What happens if you suddenly stop taking Luvox?

Missed doses of Luvox increases your risk for relapse of anxiety symptoms. If you stop taking the drug abruptly (cold turkey), withdrawal symptoms will develop. These symptoms may include dizziness, vomiting, headaches, nausea, irritability, agitation, and tingling sensations on the skin, among others.

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Resources

“Fluvoxamine | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses, and More.” Healthline, www.healthline.com/health/fluvoxamine-oral-capsule#about.

“Luvox Side Effects: Common, Severe, Long Term.” Drugs.Com, www.drugs.com/sfx/luvox-side-effects.html.

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Updated on: November 3, 2020
Author
Addiction Group Staff
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Medically Reviewed
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Annamarie Coy,
BA, CADACII/ICADC, ICPR, MATS
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