Does Luvox increase serotonin? (+3 effects)

In this article, we will discuss whether Luvox has the potential to increase serotonin levels or not. We will further into the potential benefits and disadvantages of increased levels of serotonin in the body. We will dig further into the management strategies for increased serotonin levels. 

Does Luvox increase serotonin? 

Yes, Luvox can increase serotonin levels. Luvox (Fluvoxamine) belongs to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant class of medications which exert their action by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin in the brain, thus resulting in increased serotonin levels. 

This impact of Luvox on the serotonin levels in the brain helps alleviate the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, anxiety, and related conditions. 

The effect of Luvox on the serotonin levels of patients is not consistent. Some may experience a great increase in serotonin levels whereas some may not. 

How does Luvox increase serotonin?

Luvox belongs to SSRI antidepressants and is a potent inhibitor of serotonin reuptake. It blocks the reuptake of serotonin in the presynaptic terminals, resulting in increased serotonin levels (1).

Luvox works by selectively inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin in the nerve cells. Luvox exerts this action by blocking the serotonin transporter which results in an increased level of serotonin leading to enhanced serotonin activity in the brain. 

However, Luvox is a more potent inhibitor of serotonin reuptake than Fluoxetine (Prozac) but less potent as compared to other drugs belonging to the same class such as Sertraline, Paroxetine, and Citalopram (1). 

Luvox is used as a potent drug for the treatment of OCD which is a common condition nowadays. The action of Luvox in the brain for the treatment of OCD is linked to specific serotonin reuptake inhibition in the brain (1).  

Luvox has in vivo selectivity and potency for serotonin reuptake inhibition. As compared to other SSRI medications, Luvox has the weakest efficacy for noradrenaline or dopamine reuptake (1). 

What are the effects of Luvox-induced increased serotonin levels?

The following effects can occur if taking Luvox increases your serotonin levels (2): 

  • Increased mood and energy- One primary advantage of taking Luvox and other SSRIs is that they help improve mood and increase energy levels in patients. By increasing serotonin levels in the brain, Luvox is linked with uplifting mood and energizes depressed patients. 


  • Improved sleep and appetite- Serotonin has a direct impact on the sleep cycle and appetite. Therefore, patients taking Luvox have an increased level of serotonin which ultimately enhances their sleep and changes appetite in patients.

Some patients experience an increase while some experience a reduction in their appetite with increased serotonin levels. Similarly, SSRIs such as Luvox, and Celexa also cause an improvement in sleep disturbances. 


  • Gastrointestinal disturbances- Serotonin also affects the digestive and gastrointestinal systems. Therefore, gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, appetite changes, and constipation usually occur with SSRIs. 

Luvox can also cause certain gastrointestinal problems due to an increase in the level of serotonin in the brain. 


  • Serotonin syndrome- This is a life-threatening condition due to an excessive increase in serotonin levels. This condition may occur as a consequence of increased serotonergic activity which occurs as a result of overdosing with SSRIs or concurrent use of medication that increases serotonin levels (3). 

In most patients with serotonin toxicity, lowering or stopping the drug dosage is usually efficient. Prevention and careful monitoring of the side effects while taking Luvox are essential to avoid serotonin syndrome (4). 

What factors determine Luvox-induced increased serotonin levels? 

The following factors help in determining an increase in serotonin activity in the brain after initiating Luvox treatment in patients:

  • Individual patient variation- Various patients react differently to certain medications based on their metabolism, gender, age, and genetic variations. Luvox induces its effects on serotonin levels based on how quickly or slowly it is metabolised in the patient’s body.  

Genetic variation in some patients can affect the cytochrome P450 system. This may alter the effectiveness and side effects of Luvox in some patients. 


  • Lifestyle and diet- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a nutritious diet and regular physical activity can play a key role in increasing the therapeutic efficacy of Luvox. 


  • Concurrent medications– Luvox tends to interact with other medications that alter the levels of serotonin in the body. Therefore, combining Luvox with other medications that increase the levels of serotonin may result in serotonin syndrome. 

Which other medications increase serotonin levels? 

Various medications target serotonergic levels. They include (4,5): 

  • Other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)- 

Citalopram, Escitalopram, Fluoxetine, Sertraline, and Paroxetine

  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)-

Venlafaxine, Desvenlafaxine, and Duloxetine 

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)-

Phenelzine, Selegiline, Isocarboxazid, and Tranylcypromine

  • Synthetic opioids-

Tramadol, Methadone, Fentanyl, and Dextromethorphan

  • Tricyclic antidepressants-

Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline, Clomipramine, Doxepin, and Amoxepine

  • 5-HT receptor agonists-

Zolmitriptan, Rizatriptan, and Sumatriptan

When to consult your healthcare provider?

You need to consult your healthcare provider if you are on Luvox and you experience side effects such as hallucinations, blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, or gastrointestinal problems.

You should carefully monitor your symptoms and side effects and report them to your healthcare provider who can assess and recommend an alternate medication for you. 

If Luvox is causing extra side effects and discomfort, then your doctor might consider lowering its current dosage strength frequency to avoid such side effects. 

Furthermore, always follow the treatment plan given by your doctor, Do not try to change or stop taking Luvox as it can cause severe consequences. Keep your doctor in the loop and report immediately in case of an emergency. 


In conclusion, Luvox has a direct impact on the serotonergic system. It increases the levels of serotonin in the brain thus exerting its therapeutic effects. 

However, we have also discussed the excessive increment of serotonin may cause life-threatening serotonin syndrome. Therefore, I would suggest that if you are on any medication that impacts serotonin levels, then regularly monitor your signs and symptoms to avoid any such adversities. 

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Dell’Osso, B., Allen, A., & Hollander, E. (2005). Fluvoxamine: a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, 6(15), 2727–2740. doi:10.1517/14656566.6.15.2727


Irons J. Fluvoxamine in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2005 Dec;1(4):289-99. PMID: 18568110; PMCID: PMC2424117.


Chu A, Wadhwa R. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. [Updated 2023 May 1]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:


Foong AL, Grindrod KA, Patel T, Kellar J. Demystifying serotonin syndrome (or serotonin toxicity). Can Fam Physician. 2018 Oct;64(10):720-727. PMID: 30315014; PMCID: PMC6184959.


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