Prozac for Children
Prozac® (fluoxetine hydrochloride) is approved to treat several conditions affecting children, such as depression and obsessive-compulsion disorder (OCD). When treating depression in children, Prozac has been shown to be an effective treatment and is approved for use in children who are at least eight years old. The medication is also approved to treat OCD in children who are seven years old and older. When used in combination with olanzapine (Zyprexa®), it is also approved for treating depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder in children age 10 and up.
Prozac is part of a group of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs for short. SSRIs act on a specific chemical within the brain known as serotonin. Serotonin is one of several chemicals used to send messages from one nerve cell to another. When the levels of serotonin become unbalanced, it can cause a variety of conditions, including depression and OCD. Prozac helps block the reuptake of serotonin so that more remains in the space between the brain's nerve cells.
Although Prozac is also approved for treating bulimia and panic disorder in adults, the medication has not been studied in children or teens with these conditions and is not approved for these uses. When using Prozac for children, it is important to first talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using this medication.
(Click Prozac Uses for a more in-depth look at using this drug in children, including how it works for treating depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.)