Does Prozac cause seizures? (+7 preventions)

In this article, we have answered the question, “Does Prozac cause seizures?” and other questions, like How does Prozac cause seizures?; What are SSRIs?; What is the incidence rate of seizures caused by Prozac?; What favours experiencing seizures when taking Prozac?; Is there any safer alternative to Prozac?; Do the dose and duration of Prozac affect seizures? and What are the ways to prevent seizures caused by Prozac? 

Does Prozac cause seizures? 

Yes, Prozac (Fluoxetine) may cause seizures. However, it is uncommon. Seizures are considered a rare side effect of Prozac use, occurring in less than 1% of patients.

The risk of experiencing seizures while taking Prozac is influenced by several factors including the dosage, duration of use, individual patient characteristics and potential interactions with other medications. 

How does Prozac cause seizures?

The exact mechanism by which Prozac may cause seizures is not fully understood. (1) Prozac’s mechanism of action leads to increased levels of serotonin, which generally stabilizes the mood and produces anti-depressant effects. However, in some cases, excessive serotonin may lead to potential seizures. 

The relationship between serotonin and seizures is intricate, involving interactions with other neurotransmitters and neural circuits. 

Proposed mechanisms for the seizure-inducing properties of Prozac include effects on various neurotransmitters such as glutamate, GABA, and histamine as well as interactions with G protein-coupled K+ channels and brain-derived neurotrophic factor. (1)

What are SSRIs?

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed medications for treating depression and various psychiatric disorders due to their safety, efficacy and tolerability. (2)

Approved for both adult and pediatric patients, popular SSRIs include Fluoxetine, Sertraline, Paroxetine, Fluvoxamine, Citalopram, Escitalopram and Vilazodone. (2) 

These medications work by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin, increasing its activity in the synaptic cleft and prolonging stimulation of post-synaptic receptors. (2)

What is the incidence rate of seizures caused by Prozac?

Among five different SSRIs, fluoxetine has the lowest risk of causing seizures (1%) compared to sertraline, paroxetine and citalopram (2%) as well as fluvoxamine (4%). Consequently, there are few documented cases of seizures associated with fluoxetine in medical literature. (3)

Many of these cases involve other substances of underlying brain conditions. There are only a few instances of seizures caused by fluoxetine alone and one case occurred when the prescribed dosage was increased to 60mg per day. (3)

What favours experiencing seizures when taking Prozac?

Several factors can contribute to an increased risk of seizures in individuals taking Prozac. 

  • Individuals with a history of head trauma, brain injury or neurological disorders may have an elevated risk. Also, patients with conditions such as Epilepsy must be monitored. 


  • Certain medications such as Tramadol or other anti-depressants, may increase the likelihood of seizures if taken together with Prozac. 


  • Genetic predispositions may play a role in an individual’s susceptibility to seizures. 


  • Sleep deprivation and high levels of stress may decrease the seizure threshold. 


  • Excessive alcohol consumption and substance abuse can increase the risk of seizures. ‘


  • Abnormalities in electrolyte levels, such as low sodium levels (hyponatremia), may increase the risk of seizures. 


  • The elderly may be more susceptible to side effects including seizures when taking Prozac. 


  • Nutritional factors such as deficiency of Vitamins and minerals may increase the risk of seizures. 

Is there any safer alternative to Prozac?

Yes, there is a safer alternative to Prozac in terms of seizure risk. A study was conducted on the use of Mirtazapine as an alternative treatment option for depression. Mirtazapine, also known as Remeron, is a type of medicine used to treat depression. (4)

Mirtazapine is believed to be very unlikely to cause seizures, with reports suggesting that only a very small percentage of people between 0.0008% to 0.04%, might experience seizures when using it. (4)

If you have epilepsy and also deal with depression, you may like taking Mirtazapine because of its low epileptogenicity. (4)

Do the dose and duration of Prozac affect seizures?

Yes, the dose and duration of Prozac (fluoxetine) affect seizures. A research was conducted in which a patient’s fluoxetine dose was increased from 20 mg to 60 mg, within a short period and they experienced seizures. This suggests that a rapid increase in fluoxetine dose can raise the risks of seizures. (5)

Additionally, it’s important to note that seizures linked to the anti-depressant therapy are more likely to happen within the first few weeks of treatment or after an increase in dose. (5)

To lower the risk of seizures, it’s crucial to carefully consider and monitor the dosage and duration of your fluoxetine dose. (5)

What are the ways to prevent seizures caused by Prozac?

To prevent seizures caused by Prozac (fluoxetine), you should consider the following. 

  • Work closely with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dose of Prozac. Avoid rapid increase in dose. 


  • Keep regular checks in the initial weeks of treatment and after dose adjustments. This can help detect early signs of increased seizure risk.


  • Inform your healthcare provider about your medical history, especially a history of seizures or other neurological conditions.


  • Inform your healthcare provider about any medications or supplements you’re taking as some interactions may increase the risk of seizures.


  • Follow your prescribed medication regime consistently. Missing doses or abruptly discontinuing fluoxetine may increase the risk of seizures or other side effects.


  • Be especially cautious if you’re in a vulnerable population, such as children, the elderly, or individuals with a higher risk of seizures. The healthcare provider may adjust the treatment plan accordingly.


  • Be aware of any changes in your health. Report any unusual symptoms or side effects to your healthcare provider promptly.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Does Prozac cause seizures?” and other questions, like how does Prozac cause seizures, what are SSRIs, what is the incidence of seizures caused by Prozac, what favours experiencing seizures when taking Prozac, is there any safer alternative to Prozac, do the dose and duration of Prozac affect seizures and what are the ways to prevent seizures caused by Prozac. 

In my opinion, it is vital to share medication history and medical condition with your healthcare provider to assess seizure risks. If a seizure occurs, promptly inform your healthcare provider to ensure effective care. 

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Ojong, M., & Allen, S. N. (2012a, November 20). Treatment of depression in patients with epilepsy. U.S. Pharmacist – The Leading Journal in Pharmacy.



Chu, A., & Wadhwa, R. (n.d.). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – statpearls – NCBI bookshelf.



1.      Suchard, Jeffrey R. “Fluoxetine Overdose-Induced Seizure.” Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, vol. 9, no. 3, 1 Aug. 2008, pp. 154–156,



Jacobson, Mercedes . P, et al. “Mirtazapine-Induced-Complex-Partial-Epilepsy.” Aesnet, 29 Nov. 2007,



Oke, A. “Dose-Dependent Seizure Activity Associated with Fluoxetine Therapy.” QJM, vol. 94, no. 2, 1 Feb. 2001, pp. 113–114, Accessed 31 Jan. 2021



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