Are Prozac and Adderall safe to take together?
Before taking multiple medications, it’s important to understand any potential drug interactions.
Adderall is a prescription stimulant that contains two drugs: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Doctors typically use it to treat ADHD.
Prozac (fluoxetine) is a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor that works by increasing the activity of serotonin in your brain. Doctors prescribe it to treat conditions like:
- panic disorder
- premenstrual dysphoric disorder
If you have any one of the above conditions and ADHD, you might consider taking both Prozac and Adderall. However, medical professionals don’t usually recommend this due to the risk of serious side effects.
Is it safe to mix Prozac and Adderall?
- racing thoughts
Some older 2015 research found that mixing stimulants such as Adderall with antidepressants like Prozac was common among a cohort of students despite the risks. A total of 93% of people who combined the medications reported experiencing anxiety, which may have been due to the interaction of the drugs.
What’s more, Prozac is a CYP2D6 inhibitor, meaning it blocks a certain enzyme that helps your body absorb medications. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that Adderall interacts with CYP2D6 inhibitors and increases serotonin, resulting in a higher risk of serotonin syndrome.
This is a rare condition that can have serious side effects. So, if a doctor prescribes Prozac and Adderall, they should closely monitor you to make sure there are no serious side effects.
What is serotonin syndrome?
Serotonin syndrome happens when there is too much serotonin in your body. Drug interactions are a common cause, and almost everyone develops symptoms within 24 hours of taking the drug in question. This is why close monitoring by a doctor is important if you’re taking Prozac and Adderall.
Serotonin syndrome can cause the following symptoms:
- increased heart rate
- blurry vision
- muscle twitching or tremors
- nausea and vomiting
In rare cases, serotonin syndrome can result in coma and even death.
If you begin experiencing any of these symptoms while taking Adderall and Prozac, talk with your doctor. Don’t take Adderall and Prozac together unless your doctor closely monitors you.
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How do doctors treat serotonin syndrome?
Treatment for serotonin syndrome involves removing the drug that’s causing it. Symptoms then resolve within 72 hours.
Otherwise, a doctor will evaluate your symptoms to see if you need further treatment. They may recommend:
- Benzodiazepines, or muscle relaxants, such as lorazepam (Ativan) or diazepam (Valium).
- Serotonin-production blocking agents, such as cyproheptadine (Periactin).
- Heart rate and blood pressure medications, such as nitroprusside (Nitropress) or phenylephrine (Vazculep).
In more serious circumstances, your doctor may order oxygen, intravenous (IV) fluids for rehydration, or a breathing tube and machine.
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Experts consider patient education one of the main ways to prevent serious side effects of drug interactions. If you know about the potential risks of mixing Prozac and Adderall, you can speak with a doctor about your concerns if they prescribe them.
This might be especially important for people who misuse Adderall or take it without a prescription. This is most common among college students and other young adults due to its association with improved focus. Knowing the risks of drug interactions may help avoid possible serious complications.
Prozac is commonly used to treat depression, while Adderall is a stimulant doctors often use to treat ADHD. If you have depression and ADHD, you might consider taking both medications. But this isn’t advisable.
Prozac and Adderall can interact negatively in your body to cause side effects like anxiety, nausea, and even a serious condition called serotonin syndrome.
After careful consideration, a doctor may still prescribe both medications, but you should remain under close observation to check for any negative effects. If you start experiencing concerning side effects, seek medical assistance immediately.
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- Adderall CII. (2017). https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/011522s043lbl.pdf
- Foong A-L, et al. (2018). Demystifying serotonin syndrome (or serotonin toxicity). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6184959/
- Simon LV, et al. (2023). Serotonin syndrome. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482377/
- Vo K, et al. (2015). Concurrent use of amphetamine stimulants and antidepressants by undergraduate students. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4309786/
- Zavos P, et al. (2016). Pulling an all-nighter: Current trends of college students' use of Adderall. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Panayiotis-Zavos/publication/323775044_Pulling_an_All-Nighter_Current_Trends_of_College_Students_Use_of_Adderall/links/5b83e392a6fdcc5f8b6a913a/Pulling-an-All-Nighter-Current-Trends-of-College-Students-Use-of-Adderall.pdf