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Why Is Discontinuation Syndrome Less Likely With Prozac?

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Updated September 01, 2011

Question: Why Is Discontinuation Syndrome Less Likely With Prozac?
Answer:

One important factor in determining whether an antidepressant is likely to produce a discontinuation syndrome is its half-life. If an antidepressant takes a longer amount of time to clear out of your system, you are less likely to experience a sudden drop in serotonin or its attendant discontinuation syndrome.

Of all the antidepressants, Prozac (fluoxetine) has the longest half-life (2-3 days). Not only that, its active metabolite, norfluoxetine, has a much longer half-life (from 7 to 10 days).

Because Prozac takes so long to metabolize and be excreted from your body, this gives Prozac a built-in tapering off and reduces the likelihood that you will experience a discontinuation syndrome with it.

Source:

Moore, David P. and James W. Jefferson. Handbook of Medical Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Mosby, 2004.

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