What Are Side Effects of Stopping Fluoxetine Suddenly?

Fluoxetine is a prescription antidepressant popularly known by the brand name Prozac. Individuals taking fluoxetine can experience side effects upon abruptly stopping fluoxetine use, a general condition known as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. The side effects of fluoxetine discontinuation are generally not dangerous but can cause tremendous discomfort. People taking fluoxetine should follow a physician's advice on how to best end therapy. Typically, a gradual decrease in fluoxetine dosage is recommended rather than a sudden stop of treatment.


Drug safety information provided by Drugs.com explains that anxiety and nervousness are the most common side effects of sudden fluoxetine discontinuation. Approximately two percent of individuals will experience anxiety and nervousness effects upon discontinuation of fluoxetine treatment. A number of other anxiety-related side effects have been reported after sudden discontinuation, including irritability, agitation, crying, tiredness, moodiness, insomnia and vivid dreaming.

Stomach Problems

A 2006 article in the American Family Physician describes several manifestations of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome that can occur when antidepressants such as fluoxetine are stopped abruptly. These include a number of gastrointestinal side effects that can occur as a consequence of sudden fluoxetine discontinuation, including abdominal pain, abdominal cramping and diarrhea. Loss of appetite and nausea and vomiting have also been reported as discontinuation-related gastrointestinal side effects of stopping fluoxetine use.


Neurological side effects are commonly reported as an effect of sudden fluoxetine discontinuation. Dr. Kate Ditto lists potential neurological effects of fluoxetine withdrawal such as headaches and dizziness in an August 2003 article in Postgraduate Medicine. Other neurological symptoms such as tingling and numbing of the skin are also reported as potential immediate side effects upon terminating fluoxetine use.

Movement Difficulties

Fluoxetine users can experience problems with movement and motor coordination when they stop taking fluoxetine. These side effects may manifest as restless leg syndrome, an urge to constantly move and an inability to remain still. Individuals discontinuing fluoxetine abruptly can also experience Parkinson's disease-like symptoms, including tremors, shaking and loss of coordination. Dystonia, or twitching that results from involuntary muscle contractions, can also occur as a side effect of sudden fluoxetine discontinuation.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.