How long does it take for fluvoxamine to kick in?(5 factors

In this article, we will discuss the time taken for fluvoxamine to kick in or start working. We will also discuss the factors that may affect the time taken for fluvoxamine to kick in.

How long does it take for fluvoxamine to kick in?

Fluvoxamine may take several weeks to kick in or show therapeutic benefits. However, the response of each individual to fluvoxamine may vary from one person to another. Some individuals may start having noticeable therapeutic effects within 1 to 2 weeks of treatment with fluvoxamine while others may take 6 to 10 weeks to show improvement in their symptoms.

Fluvoxamine belongs to a class of antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Other commonly prescribed SSRIs may include sertraline, citalopram, and escitalopram. These medications increase the levels of serotonin in the brain and improve the symptoms of various mental disorders such as depression, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (1). 

The most common side effects associated with fluvoxamine include nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, dry mouth, agitation, weight changes, and appetite changes. However, the intensity and frequency of these side effects may vary from one individual to another based on their individual factors and underlying health conditions.

What does research suggest?

According to research, the minimum effective dosage of fluvoxamine is between 100mg to 150mg per day. It usually takes about 6 weeks to see the therapeutic effects of the medication after starting the treatment. However, if the initial dose of fluvoxamine does not improve the underlying mental conditions within 6 weeks, for which it is prescribed, the dosage should be adjusted (3).

Research suggests that fluvoxamine takes about 6-10 weeks to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder at a dosage of 300mg per day. Whereas, at a dose of 200mg, fluvoxamine may take up to 1 year to improve the symptoms of OCD (2).

Why does fluvoxamine take a long time to work?

Fluvoxamine takes a long time to show therapeutic effects due to the complex biochemical and neuroadaptive changes that occur in the brain after taking fluvoxamine. It works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain which helps in the management of various mental disorders and their associated symptoms. However, achieving the optimal balance of serotonin takes time (1). 

The structural changes in the synapses, including the formation of new synapses, are believed to contribute to the therapeutic effects of fluvoxamine. These changes take time to develop and are also responsible for the delayed onset of action. 

What factors can affect the onset of action of fluvoxamine?

The time taken by fluvoxamine to start working and showing therapeutic effects may depend on several factors including:

  • dosage of the medication
  • conditions for which fluvoxamine is taken
  • individual factors

Dosage: Healthcare providers usually start fluvoxamine at a minimum effective dosage but the low doses sometimes do not show any therapeutic benefit in individuals and it takes a lot of time for fluvoxamine to kick in. Adjusting the dosage by increasing it according to the individual needs may help in achieving the therapeutic benefits of fluvoxamine early (3). 

Underlying medical conditions: The time taken for fluoxetine to show therapeutic benefits also depends on the condition for which you are taking the medication. Fluvoxamine takes about 6 weeks to start showing improvement in the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder whereas symptoms of anxiety start to improve after 8 weeks of treatment (4). 

Individual variations: Individual response to medications including fluvoxamine may also vary among different individuals based on genetic factors, individual sensitivity, and overall health condition. 

What to do if fluvoxamine fails to deliver therapeutic benefits?

If your symptoms do not start improving after taking fluvoxamine for 2-3 weeks or if fluvoxamine fails to deliver adequate therapeutic benefits despite several weeks of treatment, you should consult your healthcare provider. They may assess your condition and determine the exact cause of the treatment failure.

Sometimes, doctors may start the treatment with a minimum dosage of fluvoxamine which is not effective in the management of symptoms in some individuals, based on their response to the medication. In such cases, the healthcare providers may increase the dosage of fluvoxamine to an optimum level to achieve the desired therapeutic benefits.

In certain cases, combining fluvoxamine with another medication or therapy approach might be considered. This combination strategy can enhance treatment effectiveness. However, if fluvoxamine still fails to deliver adequate therapeutic benefits, healthcare providers may recommend alternative medications to fluvoxamine.

Lifestyle modifications, including a healthy balanced diet, adequate hydration, and regular exercise are also helpful in the improvement of symptoms of various mental health conditions and promotion of overall emotional and mental well-being.



In conclusion, based on my knowledge, fluvoxamine and other antidepressants usually take several weeks to show their therapeutic benefits. The exact time taken by fluvoxamine to kick in depends upon various factors including individual factors, underlying health conditions, and the dosage of the medication.

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Figgitt DP, McClellan KJ. Fluvoxamine. An updated review of its use in the management of adults with anxiety disorders. Drugs. 2000 Oct;60(4):925-54. doi: 10.2165/00003495-200060040-00006. PMID: 11085201.


Figgitt DP, McClellan KJ. Fluvoxamine. An updated review of its use in the management of adults with anxiety disorders. Drugs. 2000 Oct;60(4):925-54. doi: 10.2165/00003495-200060040-00006. PMID: 11085201.


Morishita S, Arita S. Suitable dose and duration of fluvoxamine administration to treat depression. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2003 Apr;57(2):177-81. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1819.2003.01098.x. PMID: 12667164.


Cheer SM, Figgitt DP. Spotlight on fluvoxamine in anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. CNS Drugs. 2002;16(2):139-44. doi: 10.2165/00023210-200216020-00006. PMID: 11825104.

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