Although the label of my son’s depression medication, fluoxetine, the off brand of Prozac, does not warn caffeine mixed with Prozac can have adverse side-effects, we learned first-hand that sometimes caffeine does not mix well with Prozac /fluoxetine.
Diet Coke “pick-me-up”
Darrell was struggling to stay on top of his depression. With impaired logic, he decided a Diet Coke “pick-me-up” would lessen the overcoming darkness he was feeling.
He purchased a six-pack of Diet Coke, his favorite carbonated drink. He drank all six cans throughout the day and evening. As the evening disappeared and nighttime was in full swing, Darrell steadily became more and more anxious. The symptoms were similar but a bit less than when Darrell mixed alcohol with Prozac /fluoxetine. He again began to have panic attacks which included difficulty breathing. It felt familiar and I wasn’t enjoying the familiarity of the situation.
Struggle to breathe and racing heart palpitations
I quickly loaded Darrell in the car and drove to the emergency room. Just like when I took Darrell to the emergency room when he mixed alcohol with fluoxetine, the struggle to breathe was the scariest. The intended caffeine “pick-me-up” was also causing racing heart palpitations.
Depressant and stimulant
The emergency room doctor confirmed the large dose of caffeine had caused the adverse reaction when mixed with fluoxetine. I think it is interesting that Darrell’s body reacted similarly to both alcohol and caffeine mixed with Prozac /fluoxetine although one is a depressant and the other is a stimulant. He was again treated with an anti-anxiety medicine to counter the anxiety attacks although this time they were caused by caffeine rather than alcohol.
24-hour Mental Wellness Access Centers
A friend told me 24-hour Mental Health access centers are opening across the U.S. to ease the emergency room overload. This is a very good option if a person does not need to be admitted to the hospital, but needs a safe place to stabilize for 24 hours. This is very good news! FYI, I have been told about the only way to be admitted to a hospital is if your loved one is suicidal.
Conclusion “Risky” category
Another lesson learned. I am assuming if Darrell would have drunk a Coke or two, his body would have been able to handle the caffeine. Six Cokes is a lot of caffeine. Thankfully, since this incident, we haven’t been back to the emergency room. Darrell now has a clear understanding that large doses of caffeine mixed with Prozac /fluoxetine can fall under the “risky” category.
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