Fluvoxamine (Luvox) is a prescription drug that is used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, social phobia and anxiety. Luvox is an antidepressant that belongs to a group of medicines collectively known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This drug works by targeting nerve cells and inhibiting them from reabsorbing certain chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters. More specifically, fluvoxamine inhibits the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain — a chemical that is believed to have an impact on mood.
People who suffer from depression are thought to have lower levels of serotonin in their brain. Once the chemical is absorbed into the nerve cells, it ceases to have an impact on mood. By stopping this reabsorption, fluvoxamine forces the body to generate more serotonin, increasing the chemical in the brain and thereby affecting a person’s mood. While effective, it typically takes a few weeks before a person starts feeling the benefits of Luvox.
Fluvoxamine is mainly used in the treatment of OCD, though it also works to alleviate depression, social anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses, including panic attacks and even schizophrenia. Luvox belongs to a larger class of drugs known as SSRIs, which includes fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft). Although these drugs work the same way, they all use different active ingredients.
Luvox helps in the treatment of OCD by decreasing a person’s urges to repeat certain tasks. It also helps block out obsessive thoughts, though exactly how this works is still unknown in the medical community. For mental disorders like depression, Luvox increases the level of serotonin in the brain, which helps to alter and lighten the mood of patients.
Luvox is typically prescribed in pill form and is taken orally once or twice a day. It normally takes a few weeks before Luvox starts working, though this largely depends on the person’s age and dosage amount. Taking more Luvox than the prescribed daily amount can result in an increase in side effects.
Fluvoxamine addiction works differently than other prescription drugs on the market. Luvox is not considered an addictive drug by nature, but it can cause a person to become dependent because of how it interacts with the body. Luvox increases the levels of serotonin in the brain, and quitting the drug can spark intense withdrawal symptoms, which is why people have such a hard time quitting. With the right kind of program, a person with this substance use disorder can experience long-term recovery.
Commonly reported side effects associated with Luvox include drowsiness, fatigue, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, sexual and weight changes, and nausea. The drug has also been linked to violence in certain individuals. Deaths from overdosing on the drug are less common but do occur. Over the past ten years, over 500 people have reportedly overdosed on Luvox — with 55 ending in deaths.
Luvox withdrawal symptoms typically last for weeks after the drug has left a person’s system. The withdrawals depend on several different factors, including dosage, length of time on the drug, metabolism rate, genetics and diet. Because of the intensity of the withdrawals, patients are encouraged to gradually stop using Luvox instead of quitting cold turkey. Tapering off the drug will help alleviate some of the withdrawals. Common withdrawals include the following:
- Weight changes
Aftercare is an important step in the recovery process. With antidepressants like Luvox, managing the withdrawal symptoms is key in helping a person get off the drug. The withdrawal symptoms for Luvox are intense and are known to last for weeks, depending on how long a person has been taking the drug and their daily dosage amount. Because of the length and intensity of withdrawals, it is recommended to gradually taper off Luvox instead of quitting all at once. Tapering helps bring serotonin levels back to their original state without shocking the system. Using this method can also decrease the intensity of withdrawals and help you get your life back on track.
Once the withdrawals have ceased, it is important to undergo an aftercare program to help deal with underlying physical and emotional issues associated with this type of addiction. For SSRIs like Luvox, aftercare treatment usually includes a support network in conjunction with counseling sessions. Some programs may also offer a nutritional component to further aid in the long-term recovery process.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.