Can Prozac cause Allergies? (3+ allergy symptoms)

In this article, we will discuss whether Prozac can cause allergies. We will also explore the allergic symptoms associated with Prozac, how to manage them and factors that influence Prozac-induced allergies.

Can Prozac cause Allergies?

Like most medications, Prozac (Fluoxetine) can cause allergic reactions (1). However, this is a rare side effect of this widely prescribed antidepressant medication. Allergies refer to hypersensitive reactions to medications that can cause discomfort to the medication user.

According to the prescribing information Prozac as an antidepressant may cause side effects during the early course of treatment, including nausea, heartburn, insomnia, etc. However, an allergic reaction is a serious response to Prozac which should be managed immediately.

Prozac-induced allergies are reported in about 7% of the patients on this medication. However, it is important to note that the actual incidence may be higher as some cases may go unreported or unnoticed (1,2).

What does Research suggest?

There is limited research data available for establishing a direct relationship between Prozac and allergies (2,4). Most clinical studies have listed skin rashes, itching, pain in joints, and respiratory distress as the most common presentations of Prozac-induced allergy symptoms (2).

Although very rare, serious lupus-like symptoms due to vasculitis have been reported in some of the patients with rash. This allergic presentation could be severe and potentially life-threatening (2).

While the exact mechanism behind Prozac-induced hypersensitivity is unclear, some studies have attributed this effect to an increase in serotonin levels associated with Prozac use (5,6).

Common allergy Symptoms associated with Prozac use:

Some of the common signs and symptoms of a Prozac-induced allergic reaction include:

Allergic skin reactions:

This is the most common presentation of allergies while on this medication. It presents as a generalized skin rash, and red welts (urticaria) (2,3). You may also experience generalized itching indicative of an allergic reaction.

It is important to seek immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms.

Respiratory distress:

Several studies have indicated that in serious cases Prozac can develop acute respiratory deficiency and cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This may present as dyspnea (shortness of breath) and lung infiltration (7).

Gastrointestinal reactions:

Allergic reactions can also cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.


This reaction refers to a severe allergic reaction to Prozac. Prozac-induced hypersensitivity reaction in this case presents as serum sickness (2,4,6). This reaction presents as fever, painful joints (polyarthralgia) and arthritis (2,6).

What factors influence the development of Prozac-induced allergies?

Allergic reactions to Prozac are relatively rare however, the following factors can play a role:

  • Individual Sensitivity

Allergies are highly individualized side effects of medications. An individual’s response to developing allergic reactions is dependent on a person’s genes.

  • Previous allergic reactions

If you have had allergic reactions to other medications in a similar class as Prozac, you may be predisposed to having allergic reactions with Prozac.

  • Underlying health conditions

Underlying health conditions such as autoimmune disorders may make you susceptible to allergic reactions such as serum sickness disorder.

  • Dose and duration

Higher doses and prolonged drug use may sometimes increase the likelihood of an individual developing an allergic reaction.

  • Medication Interaction

Taking multiple medications can sometimes increase the risk of allergic reactions. Informing your doctor of all your medications is important to prevent potential interactions.

  • Drug Formulation

Drug formulations often vary due to differences in inactive ingredients. Some inactive ingredients in the medication may trigger allergic reactions.

What to do if Prozac induces allergic reactions?

If you experience severe allergic reactions such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, face, tongue and lips or rapid onset of hives you should rush to the nearest emergency room for treatment. In severe cases, you should be administered Epinephrine. Severe allergic reactions can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.

Additionally, if you experience mild symptoms, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider who will assess and adjust your treatment plan with a focus on your specific needs. In some cases, your doctor will discontinue the medication and switch you to a new medication for your specific needs.

Your healthcare provider can also prescribe antihistamines or corticosteroids to help you manage the allergic reaction.


Although Prozac-induced allergies may be rare, they can be serious. To prevent allergic events, it is important to inform your healthcare provider about any medication allergies that you may have before starting any new medications. You should never attempt to manage an allergic reaction on your own!

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Sohel AJ, Shutter MC, Molla M. Fluoxetine [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. Available from:






Tuman TC, Tuman B, Polat M, Çakır U. Urticaria and Angioedema Associated with Fluoxetine. Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience [Internet]. 2017 Nov 30 [cited 2019 Nov 21];15(4):418–9. Available from:



Edinoff AN, Akuly HA, Hanna TA, Ochoa CO, Patti SJ, Ghaffar YA, et al. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Adverse Effects: A Narrative Review. Neurology International [Internet]. 2021 Aug 5;13(3):387–401. Available from:



Abdala-Valencia H, Berdnikovs S, McCary CA, Urick D, Mahadevia R, Marchese ME, et al. Inhibition of allergic inflammation by supplementation with 5-hydroxytryptophan. American Journal of Physiology Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology [Internet]. 2012 Oct 15 [cited 2020 Mar 15];303(8):L642-660. Available from:



Rixe N, Tavarez MM. Serum Sickness [Internet]. PubMed. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020. Available from:



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