side effects, dosage, reviews, how to take & discontinue, uses, pros & cons, and more

> Luvox

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US brand name: Luvox
Generic name: fluvoxamine

Other Forms: Luvox CR extended-release capsules

Class: Antidepressant, because Luvox is one of the first SSRIs.2 As far as approved uses goes, it’s an anxiolytic/anti-anxiety drug.

1.  Other brand names & branded generic names1

  • Anwu (Taiwan)
  • Dumirox (Korea, Spain, Uruguay)
  • Dumyrox (Greece, Portugal)
  • Faverin (Israel, Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, UK)
  • Favoxil (Israel)
  • Fevarin (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Turkey)
  • Floxyfral (Austria, Belgium, France, Switzerland)
  • Fluvohexal (Germany)
  • Fluvoxin (India)
  • Lote (Taiwan)
  • Luvox (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, South Africa, Taiwan, Venezuela)
  • Movox (Australia)
  • Voxamin (Colombia)

2.  FDA Approved Uses of Luvox (fluvoxamine) / Luvox CR

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

3.  Off-Label Uses of Luvox

4.  Luvox / Luvox CR pros and cons

4.1  Pros

  • Proven as the best med for OCD.
  • Generally less agitating than other SSRIs.
  • Tends to work faster than other SSRIs, except Lexapro.

4.2  Cons

  • The short half-life can make discontinuation difficult.
  • It doesn’t have as many drug-drug interactions as Provigil or fish oil, but it’s as bad, if not worse than warfarin when it comes to the ones it does have. E.g. Luvox + Cymbalta = effectively tripling your Cymbalta dosage.

5.  Luvox / Luvox CR Side Effects

5.1  Typical Luvox / Luvox CR Side Effects

The usual for SSRIs - headache, nausea, dry mouth, sweating, sleepiness or insomnia, and diarrhea or constipation, weight gain, loss of libido. Most everything will go away after a week or two, but the weight gain and loss of libido might stick around longer. Or permanently.

5.2  Not So Common fluvoxamine maleate Side Effects

Worsening of symptoms, be it anxiety, depression or OCD. Even if you’re taking Luvox for one thing you might get the symptoms of something else.3

5.3  Luvox / Luvox CR Freaky Rare Side Effects

Agoraphobia, fecal incontinence, priapism. Time to stay inside and make the freakiest scat video ever!

6.  Interesting Stuff Your Doctor Probably Won’t Tell You about Luvox / Luvox CR

  • Mixing caffeine and Luvox (fluvoxamine) can be intensely unpleasant. Your one cup of joe will suddenly become like five cups, and the effects will last six times as long.

The results indicate that intake of caffeine during fluvoxamine treatment may lead to caffeine intoxication.A fluvoxamine-caffeine interaction study.

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7.  Luvox / Luvox CR Dosage and How to Take Luvox (fluvoxamine)

7.1  Immediate release

The initial dose is 50 mg at bedtime, increased by 50 mg a day every four to seven days as needed until the maximum dose of 300 mg a day is reached. Like any SSRI I suggest starting out with 25mg and then increasing to 50mg after a week. If you don’t feel anything go up to 100mg, but stay there until you’ve given it a try for a month total (about two weeks at 100mg), otherwise it’ll just be a pain in the ass to stop it. Even at 100mg you’ll know after a month if Luvox is going to do something for you.

7.2  Controlled Extended release

Here Abbott & Jazz Pharma’s recommendation:

100 mg at bedtime, with weekly increases of 50 mg as tolerated to maximum therapeutic benefit, not to exceed 300 mg per day.--Luvox CR PI sheet

At least they kept Solvay’s lack of a target dosage. As much as I’d like to suggest starting at 50mg, as James pointed out, Luvox CR comes in only two dosages: 100mg & 150mg. So you’re pretty much stuck with starting at 100mg a day.

8.  How Long Luvox / Luvox CR Takes to Work

Like all SSRIs anywhere from a couple days to over a month. If you don’t feel any positive benefit after a two-three weeks, then you should talk to your doctor about either another SSRI and/or adding an antipsychotic to the mix.

9.  How to Stop Taking Luvox / Luvox CR (fluvoxamine maleate)

Your doctor should be recommending that you reduce your dosage 25–50mg every 4 days if you need to stop taking it.

While you have the option of reducing your dosage by 50mg a day with the CR form, since Jazz Pharma makes Luvox CR only in 100mg and 150mg capsules, that can be both complicated and expensive. A study specific to fluvoxamine withdrawal shows that if you stop taking Luvox abruptly you might wind up with SSRI discontinuation syndrome. Ya think?
So if your discontinuation seems harsh, and because fluvoxamine has such a short half-life and its pharmacokinetics are non-linear, talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for immediate-release fluvoxamine and go for a tapering of 12.5–25mg a day.

10.  Luvox / Luvox CR Half-Life & Average Time to Clear Out of Your System

With a half-life of 15.6 hours, the shortest of all true SSRIs4, Luvox (fluvoxamine) is out of your body in about 80 hours. Luvox CR has a half-life of about 16 hours, so there’s still not much difference.

11.  Days to Reach a Steady State

The steady state for Luvox is non-linear. That means if you change the dosage, the steady state gets hosed. So Solvay doesn’t publish any steady state data. Figure at least a week, maybe two, after your last dosage adjustment.

12.  Shelf life

3 years.


Note that Luvox (fluvoxamine) is not technically an antidepressant in the US, just everywhere else. Luvox is just one of two meds of which I’m aware that are officially approved only for OCD in the US. And why is it so good for OCD? It’s all about the sigma-1 receptor, and fluvoxamine likes sigma-1. Zoloft is another meds that is especially effective for anxiety disorders, and it is also sigma-1 agonists.

Solvay may have given up on Luvox, but in 2008 Abbott & Jazz Pharma brought brand-name Luvox back to the US market as Luvox CR extended-release capsules. How CR translates to extended release is beyond me. I can understand why they didn’t want to call it Luvox ER, because that looks and sounds too much like Effexor, and Elan Pharma’s fancy Spheroidal Oral Drug Absorption System (or SODAS) must “controlled” and not “extended,” or something like that.

Luvox CR originally had approval to treat social anxiety disorder (SAnD) as well as OCD. Unfortunately some data from the clinical trials were made public and the FDA pressured Jazz to “voluntarily withdraw the indication”.5

We know that nicotine makes you clear Luvox a lot faster and nicotine is an effective treatment for OCD. So what would happen if a poor metabolizer of CYP1A2 substrates with OCD combined Luvox with nicotine. Synergistic effect or just a wash?

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14.  Luvox Ratings, Reviews, & Other Sites of Interest

Luvox Ratings & Reviews Page.

14.1  Rate Luvox

Give your overall impression of Luvox on a scale of 0 to 5. Detailed ratings and reviews are available on the Luvox Ratings & Reviews Page.

Get all critical about Luvox

4 stars Rating 3.7 out of 5 from 34 criticisms.
Vote Distribution: 4 – 0 – 3 – 2 – 10 – 15

14.2  Rate this article

If you’re still feeling judgmental as well as just mental6, please boost or destroy my self-confidence by honestly (and anonymously) rating this article on a scale of 0 to 5. The more value-judgments the better, even if you can criticize my work only once.

Get all judgmental about the Luvox (fluvoxamine) Synopsis

5 stars Rating 4.6 out of 5 from 19 value judgments.
Vote Distribution: 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 8 – 11

It’s always a good idea to check for drug-drug interactions yourself. Just because most people in the crazy meds business know about really important interactions (e.g. MAOIs and a lot of stuff, warfarin and everything on the planet) doesn’t mean the person who prescribed your meds told you about them, or the pharmacist has all the meds you take at their fingertips like they’re supposed to. Or they have the time to do their jobs properly when not dealing with complete idiots or playing Angry Farmers on the Faecesbooks.

14.4  Discussion board

If you have any questions not answered here, please see the Crazymeds Luvox discussion board.

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15.  Bibliography

Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications (Essential Psychopharmacology Series) 3rd edition Stephen M. Stahl

PDR: Physicians’ Desk Reference 2010 64th edition

Instant Psychopharmacology 2nd Edition Ronald J. Diamond M.D. © 2002. Published by W.W. Norton

Primer of Drug Action 12th edition by Robert M. Julien Ph.D., Claire D. Advokat, Joseph Comaty © 2011 Published by Worth Publishers.

The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs Edward Drummond, M.D. © 2000. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Healing Anxiety & Depression Daniel G. Amen, M.D., and Lisa C. Routh, M.D. © 2003. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Mosby’s Drug Consult 2007 (Generic Prescription Physician’s Reference Book Series) © 2007 An imprint of Elsevier.

Fluvoxamine-a new serotonin re-uptake inhibitor: first clinical and psychometric experiences in depressed patients

1 The term "branded generic" has three meanings:
1) A generic drug produced by a generics manufacturer that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company that makes the branded version. E.g. Greenstone Pharmaceuticals makes gabapentin, and they are owned by Pfizer, who also own Parke-Davis, the makers of Neurontin.
2) A branded generic is also a generic drug given a 'brand' name by the manufacturer (e.g. Teva's Budeprion), but otherwise has the same active ingredient as the original branded version (Wellbutrin).
3) A branded generic is also a generic drug given a 'brand' name by the manufacturer (e.g. Sanofi-Aventis' Aplenzin, which is bupropion hydrobromide) and uses a salt of the active ingredient that is different from the original branded version and other generics (Wellbutrin, Budeprion and all the others are bupropion hydrochloride). We aren't sure if that really makes a difference or not. The FDA says they're the same thing. As usual, the data are contradictory, but most evidence indicates that the FDA is right and the differences are negligible.
For our purposes a "branded generic name" refers to the second and third definitions.

2 DU 23000 - the designation used prior to the assignment of the generic name fluvoxamine - was being tested for depression as far back as 1977. Fevarin was released in Switzerland in 1984, although it wasn't approved in the US until 1993.

3 Which seems to be a common trait with sigma-1 agonists.

4 Paxil CR has a half-life of 15-20 hours, while the immediate-release form has a half-life of 21 hours. No, I don't have those backwards. Yes, it makes no sense to me either, other than drug companies usually do a half-assed job in PK testing.

5 And they had to file the usual shitload of paperwork that accompanies any change to what a medication is prescribed for, or anything else that is in a PI sheet for that matter. Talk about adding insult to injury.

6 Thank you! I'll be here all weak. Be sure to tip your content provider. And don't try the veal, it's cruelicious!

If you have any questions not answered here, please see the Crazymeds Luvox discussion board. I welcome criticisms of the articles, notifications of bad links, site problems, consumer experiences with medications, etc. I’m not always able to write back. Hence I never answer questions about meds via e-mail that are answered by this or other articles. Especially if they have been repeatedly asked on the forum. That’s why I write these damn things. I’m frustrated enough as it is. Questions about which meds are best for your condition should also be asked on the forum; because this is a free site, so the price of admission is making things easier for somebody else searching for the same answer. We don’t deal with children on the forum or in private because after doing this for ten years I don’t have the emotional stamina to deal with kids who have brain cooties. How to contact Crazymeds.

Last modified on Monday, 17 March, 2014 at 09:44:22 by SomeMedCriticPage Author: JerodPooreDate created Thursday, 17 March, 2011 at 12:20:13

Luvox by JerodPoore is copyright © 2011 JerodPoore

Luvox, and all other drug names on this page and use throughout the site, are a trademark of someone else. Look on the the PI sheet or ask Google who the owner is. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of the trademark may have changed without my noticing.

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1 While there are plenty of books to help you with hypochondria, for some reason there’s not much in the way of websites. Then again, staying off of the Internet is a large part of curing/managing the disorder.

2 Remember kids, Microsloth operating systems are like TOS Star Trek movies with in that every other one sucks way, way more. With TOS Star Trek movies you don’t want to bother watching the odd-numbered ones. With Microsloth OS you don’t want to buy and install the even-numbered ones. Anyone who remembers ME and Vista knows what I mean.

3 Have I mentioned how open source operating systems for commercial applications is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas?
[begin rant] I rent a dedicated server for Crazymeds. It’s sitting on a rack somewhere in Southern California along with a bunch of other servers that other people have rented. The hardware is identical, but no two machines have exactly the same operating systems. I don’t even need to see what is on any of the others to know this. If somebody got their server at the exact same time, with the exact same features as I did, I’m confident that there would be noticeable differences in some aspects of the operating systems. So what does this mean? For one thing it means that no two computers in the same office of a single company have the same operating system, and the techs can spend hours figuring out what the fuck the problem could be based on that alone. It also means that application software like IP board that runs the forum here has to have so many fucking user-configurable bells and whistles that even when I read the manual I can’t find every setting, or every location that every flag needs to be set in order for a feature to run the way I want it to run. And in the real world it means you can get an MBA not only with an emphasis on resource planning, but with an emphasis on using SAP - a piece of software so complex there are now college programs on how to use it. You might think, “But don’t people learn how to use Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator in college?” Sure, in order to create stuff. And in a way you’re creating stuff with SAP. But do you get a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis on Photoshop?
Back in the Big Iron Age the operating systems were proprietary, and every computer that took up an entire room with a raised floor and HVAC system, and had less storage and processing power than an iPhone, had the same operating system as every other one, give or take a release level. But when a company bought application software like SAP, they also got the source code, which was usually documented and written in a way to make it easy to modify the hell out of it. Why? Because accounting principles may be the same the world over, and tax laws the same across each country and state, but no two companies have the same format for their reports, invoices, purchase orders and so forth. Standards existed and were universally ignored. If something went wrong it went wrong the same way for everyone, and was easy to track down. People didn’t need to take a college course to learn how to use a piece of software.
I’m not against the open source concept entirely. Back then all the programmers read the same magazines, so we all had the same homebrew utilities. We even had a forerunner of QR Code to scan the longer source code. Software vendors and computer manufacturers sponsored conventions so we could, among other things, swap recipes for such add-ons and utilities. While those things would make our lives easier, they had nothing to do with critical functions of the operating system. Unless badly implemented they would rarely cause key application software to crash and burn. Whereas today, with open source everything, who the hell knows what could be responsible some part of a system failing. [/end rant]

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