Does fluvoxamine increase anxiety? (3+ tips)

In this article, we will discuss whether fluvoxamine increases the level of anxiety as a side effect or not. We will also discuss what research suggests on this, the potential relationship between fluvoxamine and increased anxiety, symptoms related to increased anxiety and what to do if you experience fluvoxamine-induced anxiety.

Does fluvoxamine increase anxiety?

Yes, fluvoxamine (Luvox) can increase the level of anxiety in some individuals as a side effect. It’s important to remember that every person is different and responds differently to medications, so not everyone will experience this side effect. (1)

Fluvoxamine is an antidepressant which belongs to the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It works primarily by increasing the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain which plays a crucial role in regulating mood. (1)

If you start taking fluvoxamine and notice more anxiety or any other concerns, talk to your healthcare provider. They can evaluate your situation and make adjustments to your treatment plan if necessary.  

What is the relationship between fluvoxamine and increased anxiety?

Fluvoxamine is a medication often used to help with anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression. However, like any medication, it can affect people differently. For some people, it might cause an increase in anxiety as a side effect. (1,2)

Fluvoxamine works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain which helps with mood regulation and its higher levels are usually associated with improved well-being and reduction in anxiety symptoms. 

However, during the early stages of treatment, some individuals may temporarily experience heightened anxiety. This paradoxical effect is not fully understood but it often diminishes as the body adjusts to the medication. 

The primary mechanism involves blocking the reuptake of serotonin and allowing it to stay longer in the brain. If someone experiences persistent or concerning side effects, it’s important to consult with your doctor.

They can assess your situation, consider potential adjustments to your treatment plan or explore alternative medications. The goal is to find a balance that effectively addresses your symptoms with the fewest side effects.

What does research suggest?

Research indicates that while fluvoxamine is commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), there is a potential for increased anxiety as a side effect in some individuals. (2)

A study was conducted on 128 children who were 6-7 years of age for the treatment of social phobia or generalized anxiety disorder. The children were randomly assigned to be given fluvoxamine at a maximum dose of 300mg per day for 8 weeks. (5)

The results showed that 5 children in the fluvoxamine group (8%) discontinued taking fluvoxamine because of its side effects which included heightened anxiety during the start of treatment as well. (5)

However, it’s essential to remember that research shows variations in individual responses. Studies and clinical trials have found that some people may experience heightened anxiety when taking fluvoxamine, especially during the initial course of treatment. 

This could be related to the impact of fluvoxamine on serotonin levels in the brain. It’s important to note that research doesn’t suggest that everyone will experience increased anxiety, and many people find fluvoxamine beneficial in managing their anxiety symptoms. (1)

What are the symptoms of fluvoxamine-induced anxiety?

If you suspect that you are experiencing anxiety while taking fluvoxamine, some common symptoms you must notice include: (3)

  • Increased worry- Experiencing excessive worry about various aspects of life.
  • Restlessness- You may feel unable to relax or sit still.
  • Irritability- You can easily become agitated.
  • Nervousness
  • Sleep disturbances- You can experience changes in your sleep patterns, including difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Muscle tension
  • Racing thoughts
  • Increased heart rate- feeling your heart beating faster than usual.

What are the factors contributing to increased anxiety due to fluvoxamine?

Feeling more anxious due to fluvoxamine can be influenced by various factors, some of which may include: (3,4)

  • Initial adjustment period: Many individuals may experience increased anxiety during the initial stages of treatment as the body adjusts to the medication.
  • Individual sensitivity: Each person’s body reacts differently to medications, some individuals may be more sensitive to the effect of fluvoxamine. 
  • Dosage: Some people may be more prone to anxiety from fluvoxamine if they are taking higher doses.
  • Serotonin fluctuations: Changes in serotonin levels in the brain could contribute to anxiety symptoms in some individuals.
  • Pre-existing anxiety: Individuals with a history of anxiety disorders are more at risk of experiencing anxiety as a side effect. 
  • Interaction with other medications: If you are taking other medications, they can interact with fluvoxamine and contribute to increased anxiety.
  • Diet and lifestyle choices: Diet, including the consumption of too many stimulants like caffeine, can influence the levels of anxiety. High amounts of caffeine present in coffee and some other beverages may exacerbate anxiety symptoms.

It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider if you are experiencing increased anxiety or any other side effect related to fluvoxamine or any medication. They can assess your specific situation and provide personalized guidance.

What to do if you are experiencing increased anxiety from fluvoxamine?

If you are experiencing increased anxiety from fluvoxamine, it is essential to take the following steps: (2,3)

Pharmacological therapies:

Contact your healthcare provider: Reach out to your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Inform them about the increased anxiety and any other related symptoms you may be experiencing. 

Provide a medication history: Share details about your medical history, including the duration of fluvoxamine use, any recent dosage changes and the presence of any other medication or supplements.

Avoid self-adjustment: Do not make changes to your medication without consulting your healthcare provider. Suddenly stopping or altering your dosage without professional guidance can have adverse effects.

Non-pharmacological therapies: 

Non-pharmacological therapies can help manage anxiety, whether it is a side effect of fluvoxamine or related to other factors. Here are some approaches that may help you:

  • Therapy and counselling: Share your feelings with friends, family or a support group. Talking can help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns contributing to anxiety.
  • Relaxation techniques: Practice deep breathing exercises to calm your nervous system. You can also try relaxing your muscles one by one.
  • Lifestyle modifications: Limit your caffeine intake as it may contribute to anxiety. Eat a healthy diet rich in nutrition, fix your sleeping schedule and exercise regularly. 


In this article, we have discussed the increase in anxiety levels due to fluvoxamine, as a potential side effect. We have also discussed the factors contributing to this side effect and the coping strategies to overcome it.

In my opinion, if you are experiencing more anxiety from fluvoxamine, it’s really important to discuss it with your healthcare provider. Share information about all the medications you’re taking and any recent changes.

Listen to your doctor’s advice and follow their recommendations, which might include adjusting your dosage or trying other solutions. 

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National Library of Medicine. Fluvoxamine: Medline Plus Drug Information [Internet]. Available from:

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