Is Fluvoxamine addictive? (+3 differences)

In this article, we will discuss whether Fluvoxamine can cause addiction. We will also discuss how Fluvoxamine is different from drugs that cause addiction.

Is Fluvoxamine addictive?

No, Fluvoxamine is not addictive. This is because Fluvoxamine is not a controlled substance and is neither structurally nor chemically related to them. This medication does not have a high potential for addiction or abuse.

Fluoxetine increases the amount of serotonin in your brain to counteract symptoms associated with depression (1). Fluvoxamine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), do not produce the same kind of euphoria or craving that is characteristic of addictive substances.

However, it is important to note that abruptly stopping SSRIs can lead to withdrawal symptoms, which may include dizziness, nausea, headache, irritability and flu-like symptoms.

If you have concerns about the use of Fluvoxamine or any other SSRI such as Citalopram, Sertraline, Lexapro etc, it is crucial to discuss them with your healthcare professional. They can provide guidance based on your individual health and circumstances.

Does Fluvoxamine cause dependence?

Fluvoxamine, like other SSRIs, is not generally considered to cause dependence in the same way as substance of abuse can. However, it is important to note that abruptly stopping SSRIs can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Dependence on a substance typically involves a pattern of compulsive use despite negative consequences and the development of withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation. While Fluvoxamine is not associated with the same potential for abuse and dependence as drugs of abuse, they do alter the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain.

If you are taking Fluvoxamine and considering making any changes to your medication regimen, it is crucial to do so under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Your healthcare provider can help you taper off the medication gradually if needed, minimizing the risk of withdrawal effects.

What is the difference between addiction and dependence?

Addiction involves a complex behavioural pattern characterized by compulsive drug-seeking, continued use despite negative consequences, and a loss of control over intake. It involves psychological cravings and a strong desire for the drug’s effect.

Dependence, on the other hand, refers to the physiological adaptation of the body to the presence of a drug, leading to the development of withdrawal symptoms when the substance is suddenly reduced or discontinued. Dependence does not necessarily imply drug-seeking behaviour or the loss of control seen in addiction.

While many addictive substances can lead to physical dependence, not all drugs that induce dependence result in addictive behaviours.

How is Fluvoxamine different from drugs that cause addiction?

Fluvoxamine is quite different from drugs that cause addiction. As stated earlier, Fluvoxamine is an antidepressant which belongs to a class of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is commonly used to treat depression and anxiety.

Unlike drugs that cause addiction, such as recreational drugs or substances like Marijuana, Cocaine or Ecstasy, Fluvoxamine works in a different way and does not produce a euphoric or altered state of mind.

Here are some key points that differentiate Fluvoxamine from drugs that cause addiction.

Mechanism of action

Fluvoxamine and other SSRIs work by selectively inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin in the brain. They enhance the availability of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with mood regulation (1).

On the other hand, drugs that cause addiction often target other neurotransmitter systems, such as dopamine, related to reward and pleasure (2).

Addictive properties  

SSRIs, including Fluvoxamine, are generally not considered addictive. They do not produce the same kind of euphoria or craving that characterizes addictive substances.

Drugs that cause addiction typically have reinforcing effects that lead to a compulsive desire to use them, even in the face of negative consequences.

Medical purpose

Fluvoxamine is a prescription medication used under the guidance of a healthcare professional for therapeutic purposes. Its use is based on a careful assessment of the individual’s mental health needs.

Drugs that cause addiction are often used recreationally, without a medical prescription, and are associated with a higher risk of misuse, dependence and negative health consequences (3).

Controlled use

Fluvoxamine is prescribed in specific doses and should be taken as directed by healthcare professionals. The dosage and duration of treatment are determined based on an individual’s specific condition and needs.

Drugs that cause addiction are often used outside of medical supervision, with uncertain dosage and potential for abuse, which can lead to harmful effects and addiction.

Side effects

While Fluvoxamine has potential side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, or drowsiness, they are mild and temporary (4).

Drugs that cause addiction often carry significant risks and side effects that can be harmful to physical and mental health, such as addiction, psychosis, cardiovascular problems, and even overdose (2).

What are the risks associated with Fluvoxamine use?

Fluvoxamine may not cause addiction, but it is associated with some risks and side effects. Here are some risks and precautions associated with Fluvoxamine use:

Suicidal thoughts and behaviour

Antidepressants, including Fluvoxamine, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours, especially in young adults and children. Close monitoring is essential, especially when starting the medication or changing the dose.

Serotonin syndrome

Fluvoxamine can cause a lethal condition known as serotonin syndrome when taken with other medications that increase serotonin levels. Its symptoms include hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, muscle stiffness and more (5).

Withdrawal symptoms

Abruptly stopping Fluvoxamine can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, headache, irritability etc. Tapering the medication under the supervision of a healthcare professional is recommended (6).

Manic episodes

Fluvoxamine may trigger manic episodes in individuals with bipolar disorder. Close monitoring is necessary, and your healthcare provider should be informed if you have a history of bipolar disorder.

Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding

The safety of Fluvoxamine in pregnancy and breastfeeding is not well established. The potential risks and benefits should be considered before prescribing Fluvoxamine to such people (7)


In my opinion and the knowledge available, Fluvoxamine is not considered addictive. Unlike substances that lead to addiction, Fluvoxamine does not produce euphoria or cravings for continued use.

I suggest using it under the guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure its safe and effective use.

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