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How and when to take fluoxetine


The usual dose of fluoxetine for adults is 20mg a day. However, you may start at a lower dose and gradually be increased to a maximum dose of 60mg a day.

Some people might need to take a lower dose of fluoxetine. This includes people with liver problems, and older people.

The usual dose of fluoxetine for children is 10mg a day but this may be increased to 20mg a day.

How to take it

You’ll usually take fluoxetine once a day, with or without food.

You can take fluoxetine at any time, but it’s best to stick to the same time every day.

If you have trouble sleeping, try taking it in the morning.

How long to take it for

Once you're feeling better it's likely that you will continue to take fluoxetine for several more months.

Most doctors recommend that you take antidepressants for 6 months to a year after you no longer feel depressed. Stopping before that time can make depression come back.

If you forget to take it

If you occasionally forget to take a dose, just take your next dose the next day at the usual time. Never take 2 doses at the same time to make up for a forgotten one.

If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.

Stopping fluoxetine

If you stop taking fluoxetine suddenly, you may get withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • feeling dizzy
  • feeling sick
  • numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • trouble sleeping
  • feeling agitated or anxious
  • headaches
  • shaking

Talk to your doctor if you want to stop. They will reduce your dose gradually to help you with any side effects.

If you take too much

The amount of fluoxetine that can lead to an overdose varies from person to person.

Taking too much can cause symptoms such as:

  • being sick (vomiting)
  • shaking
  • feeling sleepy
  • feeling agitated
  • feeling dizzy
  • racing heart
  • fits or seizures

Urgent advice: Contact 111 for advice now if:

  • you take more than your prescribed dose of fluoxetine

Go to or call 111.

If you need to go to A&E, do not drive yourself. Get someone else to drive you or call for an ambulance.

Take the fluoxetine packet, or the leaflet inside it, plus any remaining medicine with you.

Page last reviewed: 10 February 2022
Next review due: 10 February 2025