What is Luvox (Fluvoxamine): Uses, Dosage, Interactions, & Side Effects

July 5, 2021

Luvox is a prescription medication that also goes by the generic name Fluvoxamine. It comes in the form of a tablet or capsule that is taken by the mouth. 

It belongs to a class of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which block the reabsorption of serotonin into the brain, therefore making it more abundant and available for use. Serotonin is a neurochemical that regulates mood, sleep, appetite, and more.

Luvox (Fluvoxamine) is commonly prescribed to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, but it is also used to treat a number of other mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.

If you’re thinking about taking Luvox for a mental health condition, it’s helpful to have some background information before talking to your doctor. Here is everything you need to know.

Luvox (Fluvoxamine) for Anxiety

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that occurs when a person experiences unwanted, recurring, and disturbing thoughts (obsessions) that must be satisfied through repetitive, ritualized behaviors (compulsions). Luvox is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat this disorder.

However, since it works to increase the levels of serotonin available in the brain, it might also be helpful as an off-label treatment for other anxiety disorders such as panic disorder or social anxiety disorder. An off-label treatment means that it is not approved by the FDA, though it may still be prescribed by doctors as an effective treatment method.

In a review of studies, Luvox also seemed to be effective for treating disorders in the OCD spectrum. This includes disordered eating, specifically bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, as well as pathological gambling, compulsive buying, and body dysmorphic disorder. 

It even showed promise in alleviating some of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, namely those associated with restrictive and repetitive behaviors.

Luvox (Fluvoxamine) for Depression

Luvox is not approved by the FDA for treating major depressive disorder, but it might still be effective. 

One review compared the efficacy of Luvox to other prescription antidepressants and found that it was neither inferior nor superior to its competitors regarding response, remission, and tolerability.

SSRIs are among some of the most commonly prescribed types of antidepressant medications. With that in mind, Luvox may be prescribed by your doctor for treating depression if you don’t respond well to others. Additionally, it might be used in conjunction with another medication to enhance its effectiveness.

Luvox (Fluvoxamine) Dosage

Luvox is normally taken two times a day with or without food. Your doctor will likely start you at a lower dose and then gradually increase it over the next few weeks as your body adjusts. Your dose might range from anywhere between 50 mg and 300 mg. The extended-release formula for Luvox may only need to be taken once daily.

If you miss a dose, you should take it as soon as you remember unless it is close to the time of your next dose. Never double your dose or take extra to make up for forgotten doses.

Missing doses can affect the efficacy of the medication and cause a relapse in your symptoms. Use pillboxes, calendars, or phone reminders to try to reduce the risk of missing doses.

Luvox (Fluvoxamine) Side Effects

As with any antidepressant medication, taking Luvox may come with some side effects

Some of the most common ones include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Increased sweating
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia

These side effects should improve over time. However, sexual side effects like ejaculatory delay or loss of libido may not improve.

Luvox may potentially come with some serious side effects as well. One of these is low sodium blood levels, often marked by headache, weakness, and difficulty concentrating. 

Taking Luvox may also increase the risk for serotonin syndrome. Although rare, this is caused by excessive amounts of serotonin in the body. Symptoms include agitation, hallucination, racing heartbeat, sweating, vomiting, muscle twitching, or muscle stiffness.

This antidepressant can also cause eye problems like changes in vision, swelling or redness around the eye, or pain in the eye.

If you stop taking Luvox abruptly, it may lead to a withdrawal syndrome marked by irritability, nausea, drowsiness, nightmares, vomiting, or tingling sensations on the skin.

Finally, Luvox may react differently for people with bipolar disorder. It might cause an individual to “switch” between depression and manic symptoms, often denoted by racing thoughts and very high self-esteem.

Drug Interactions with Luvox (Fluvoxamine)

Taking certain medications at the same time as Luvox may lead to unwanted side effects and interactions. Additionally, it might cause the medication to become ineffective. The following list of medications does not reflect all possible interactions. 

Talk to your doctor before you take any medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements alongside your antidepressants.

Combined use of SSRI antidepressants with blood thinning medications like aspirin, pain relievers, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication should be supervised by a physician. Additionally, it might increase the risk of developing serotonin syndrome.

Luvox should not be taken with MAOIs, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors. This might increase the levels of serotonin in the body to a potentially toxic level. You also should not take Luvox within two weeks of stopping an MAOI.

You also should avoid taking Zanaflex (Tizanidine), which is a short-term muscle relaxant. Luvox may increase its adverse side effects such as drowsiness or an intense drop in blood pressure.

Other medications like benzodiazepines, clozapine, or methadone might increase the severity of side effects associated with Luvox. 

Additionally, alcohol should be avoided when taking this medication, as it might decrease its efficacy and increase depressive symptoms.

In Conclusion

Luvox (Fluvoxamine) is an SSRI antidepressant that is most commonly prescribed for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder. It also has shown efficacy for OCD related conditions such as bulimia nervosa, pathological gambling, and the repetitive behaviors associated with autism spectrum disorder. While not FDA approved for this specific use, it has shown some promise in helping with major depressive disorder.

Luvox comes with some common side effects that are consistent among most antidepressant medications. However, it may also lead to abnormally low sodium levels or serotonin syndrome.

You shouldn’t take other medications alongside Luvox without first talking to your doctor, as there are some potentially serious side effects. Additionally, you should not stop taking it abruptly, as it might lead to withdrawal symptoms.

If you struggle with the symptoms of OCD or related mental health disorders, Luvox might be an effective way to help.

YANA Mental Health can get you on the path to recovery by pairing you with a doctor who will develop a personalized treatment plan that’s right for you. If prescribed, medication will be sent straight to your door — quickly and discreetly. 

YANA provides quality mental health care on your terms, at your own pace. 

Click here to learn more about the YANA difference.

Sources:

 Fluvoxamine in the treatment of anxiety disorders | NCBI

Fluvoxamine verses other anti-depressive agents for depression | NCBI

Fluvoxamine (Oral Route) Side Effects | The Mayo Clinic

Serotonin Syndrome | The Mayo Clinic

Fluvoxamine (Luvox) | National Alliance on Mental Illness