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What should seniors know before using Luvox?

Before taking Luvox (fluvoxamine), seniors should know that it is a drug prescribed to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and social anxiety disorder. Luvox belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which work by raising the level of the chemical serotonin in the brain.

In studies, there were no overall differences in the safety or effectiveness of Luvox in people age 65 or older compared to younger adults. However, Luvox may be metabolized more slowly in older people, so doctors may start seniors on a lower dose than the 50 milligrams (mg) per day recommended as a starting dose in younger adults.

As is true for other SSRIs, Luvox may raise the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors in a small percentage of people who take it compared to people who don't. However, this risk is lower in people age 65 or older than in younger adults. Seniors may be at increased risk for another possible side effect of Luvox, a condition called hyponatremia, which occurs when there is too little sodium in the fluid that surrounds cells. Hyponatremia can cause brain swelling, confusion or memory problems, hallucinations, loss of consciousness, convulsions, seizures, fatigue, headache, irritability, loss of appetite, muscle spasms or weakness, restlessness, nausea and vomiting. Talk to your doctor about your risks for hyponatremia.

Because of their age, seniors are also more likely to have certain medical conditions that may keep them from being good candidates for treatment with Luvox, including problems with the kidneys, liver, or heart; bleeding problems; high blood pressure; or stroke. Give your doctor a detailed medical history of your mental and physical health before taking Luvox. Talk with your doctor about all medications (prescription and nonprescription), supplements and herbal remedies you take in order to prevent possible interactions with Luvox. Do not start any new medication or supplement while you are taking Luvox without consulting your doctor first.

Talk to your doctor for more information about Luvox and whether it is right for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.