Does Fluoxetine shorten your life? (3+tips)

In this article we will discuss if Fluoxetine can shorten your life, the long-term effects of taking Fluoxetine, how Fluoxetine impacts lifespan, and what you should keep in mind when using Fluoxetine. 

Does Fluoxetine Shorten Your Life?

No, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that Fluoxetine, or any other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), shortens your life (1). 

However, like all medications, Fluoxetine can have side effects, and long-term use can lead to potential long-term effects such as emotional numbness, night sweats, sexual problems, weight gain, reduced positive feelings, and/or suicidal thoughts (2). 

It’s important to discuss any concerns about side effects or long-term use with your healthcare provider.

What are the long-term effects of taking Fluoxetine?

Long-term use of Fluoxetine may be associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease and an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease (3). However, these risks were greater for non-SSRI antidepressants. More research is needed to understand these risks fully. Some of the other long-term effects of taking Fluoxetine include:

  • Tolerance: Some individuals may experience a decrease in the effectiveness of Fluoxetine over time, requiring higher doses or alternative treatments.


  • Side Effects: Long-term use can lead to persistent side effects, which might include weight gain, sexual dysfunction, or gastrointestinal issues.


  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Stopping Fluoxetine after long-term use may result in withdrawal symptoms, such as flu-like symptoms, mood swings, and sensory disturbances.


  • Bone Health: Some research suggests that long-term use of SSRIs like Fluoxetine may affect bone density, potentially increasing the risk of fractures.


  • Serotonin Syndrome: Although rare, the risk of serotonin syndrome can increase with long-term use, especially when Fluoxetine is combined with other medications that affect serotonin levels.


  • Psychological Dependence: Long-term use might lead to psychological dependence in some individuals, making it challenging to discontinue the medication.

It’s crucial for individuals considering or currently using Fluoxetine for the long term to consult with their healthcare provider regularly. Healthcare professionals can monitor the medication’s effectiveness, assess potential side effects, and make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed. Additionally, open communication with a healthcare provider is vital when deciding to discontinue Fluoxetine to minimize withdrawal symptoms and ensure a safe transition.

What does research say about Fluoxetine’s impact on lifespan?

Research on the impact of Fluoxetine on lifespan is not conclusive. Some studies suggest that long-term use of antidepressants, including Fluoxetine, may be associated with certain health risks. For instance, a meta-analysis of 17 studies found that people who used antidepressants had a 14% higher risk of heart attacks and strokes and a 33% greater risk of death (4). 

However, it’s important to note that these findings do not necessarily imply a causal relationship and more research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects of these medications.

On the other hand, another study found that long-term use of antidepressants, including Fluoxetine, reduced the risk of relapse in patients with depression. The study concluded that remaining on antidepressants long-term is appropriate for many people receiving long-term treatment from their healthcare provider (5).

It’s crucial to discuss any concerns about the long-term use of Fluoxetine or any other medication with your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance based on your specific situation and health status.

What should you keep in mind when taking Fluoxetine?

The response rate to Fluoxetine is strictly related to each patient’s characteristics. When taking Fluoxetine, several individual factors and variables should be considered:

Age and Health Conditions:

The patient’s age can influence the dosage and potential side effects of Fluoxetine.

Certain health conditions, such as liver disease or bipolar disorder, can affect how Fluoxetine is processed in the body and how it affects the individual.

Dosage and Other Medications:

The specific dose of Fluoxetine can influence its side effects and effectiveness. Fluoxetine can interact with other medications, which can affect its efficacy and side effects.

Individual Differences:

Each person’s body reacts differently to medication. Some people might experience significant side effects, while others might not notice any changes at all.

It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider who can provide guidance based on these individual factors and variables.

Tips to manage the potential health risks when using Fluoxetine

Here are some tips that might help manage the potential health risks when using Fluoxetine:

  • Take your antidepressant with food: Unless otherwise directed, taking your antidepressant with food can help minimize side effects.


  • Drink plenty of fluids: Staying hydrated with cool water can help reduce side effects.


  • Consult your doctor about a dosage change or a slow-release form of the medication: Adjusting the dosage or changing the form of the medication might help reduce side effects.


  • Do not stop suddenly without your doctor’s advice: A dose of antidepressants should be slowly reduced, normally over several weeks, and sometimes longer.


  • Be alert for worsening mood and suicide-related thoughts or behaviors: Seek medical advice if changes are apparent.


Remember, it’s important to discuss these strategies with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication regimen. They can provide guidance based on your specific situation and health status.

Final words

While there are potential risks associated with the long-term use of Fluoxetine, current research does not conclusively support that it shortens lifespan. As with any medication, it’s important to weigh the benefits against potential risks in consultation with a healthcare provider.

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Sohel AJ, Shutter MC, Molla M. Fluoxetine. [Updated 2022 Jul 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


Cartwright C, Gibson K, Read J, Cowan O, Dehar T. Long-term antidepressant use: patient perspectives of benefits and adverse effects. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2016 Jul 28;10:1401-7. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S110632. PMID: 27528803; PMCID: PMC4970636. 


Yekehtaz H, Farokhnia M, Akhondzadeh S. Cardiovascular considerations in antidepressant therapy: an evidence-based review. J Tehran Heart Cent. 2013 Oct 28;8(4):169-76. PMID: 26005484; PMCID: PMC4434967.


Dubovicky M, Belovicova K, Csatlosova K, Bogi E. Risks of using SSRI / SNRI antidepressants during pregnancy and lactation. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2017 Sep;10(1):30-34. doi: 10.1515/intox-2017-0004. PMID: 30123033; PMCID: PMC6096863.


Kato M, Hori H, Inoue T, Iga J, Iwata M, Inagaki T, Shinohara K, Imai H, Murata A, Mishima K, Tajika A. Discontinuation of antidepressants after remission with antidepressant medication in major depressive disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Mol Psychiatry. 2021 Jan;26(1):118-133. doi: 10.1038/s41380-020-0843-0. Epub 2020 Jul 23. PMID: 32704061; PMCID: PMC7815511.

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