Sarafem medication benefit and side effects by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
February 10 2016

Sarafem (fluoxetine hydrochloride tablets) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) for oral administration.

Caution, danger
Antidepressants increas the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents , and young adults in short-term studies of Major Depressive Disorder and other psychiatric disorders . Anyone considering the use of SARAFEM or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need.

Sarafem is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or bulimia. Fluoxetine is also used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), symptoms of which occur in the week or two before a woman's menstrual period and commonly include irritability, mood swings, and tension as well as the physical symptoms of bloating and breast tenderness.

Synapse. January 2014. Effects of antidepressant drug exposure on gene expression in the developing cerebral cortex. n order to clarify the basis of limited responses in children and adolescents to antidepressant treatments considered standard in the treatment of adult major depressive disorder (MDD), juvenile Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to 21-day treatment with dissimilar antidepressant drugs fluoxetine, imipramine or vehicle control. Total RNA was extracted from brain frontal cortices and hybridized to the Affymetrix 230.2 chip. A total of 18 microarrays were analyzed (ie, 6 biological replicates in 3 treatment groups). Transcripts identified were validated using Taqman real-time qPCR methodology, and the relative expression of each gene was also determined. In both the imipramine- and fluoxetine-treated animals, expression of six genes was down-regulated [ANOVA-filtered gene expression data using dChip (version 2005)]: Gpd1; Lrrn3; Sult1A1; Angptl4; Mt1a; Unknown. Furthermore, four genes were over-expressed: P4Ha1; RDG1311476; Rgc32; and SLC25A18-like by both imipramine and fluoxetine. These data demonstrate that antidepressant drugs interfere with the expression of genes involved in cell signalling, survival and protein metabolism. Our results show that antidepressants regulate the induction of highly specific transcriptional programs in the developing frontal cortex. These findings provide novel insights into the long-term molecular actions of antidepressant drugs in the developing brain.

J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2015. Evaluation of the antidepressant activity of Moringa oleifera alone and in combination with fluoxetine. The prevalence of mental depression has increased in recent years, and has become a serious health problem in most countries of the world, including India. Due to the high cost of antidepressant synthetic drugs and their accompanying side effects, the discovery of safer antidepressant herbal remedies is on the rise. Moringa oleifera (MO) (drumstick) has been used in traditional folk medicine, and in Ayurveda, it is considered as a valuable remedy for treating nervous system disorders as well as memory enhancing agent. The present study was designed to evaluate the acute and chronic behavioral and antidepressant effects of alcoholic extracts of MO leaves in standardized mouse models of depression. Alcoholic extracts of MO (MOE) leaves were prepared, and phytoconstituents were determined using appropriate chemical analytical methods. Following preliminary dose-finding toxicity studies, the biological activity of MOE was tested in Swiss albino mice. Animals were divided into six groups: Groups 1 and 2 served as vehicle control and fluoxetine (20 mg/kg) standard control, respectively. Groups 3 and 4 served as treatment groups and were orally administered ethanolic MOE at doses of 100 mg/kg and 200 mg/kg, respectively. Groups 5 and 6, respectively, received combination doses of MOE 100 mg/kg + 10 mg fluoxetine, and MOE 200 mg/kg + 10 mg/kg fluoxetine. Following acute and 14 days chronic treatments, all animals were tested using behavioral models of depression, such as forced swim test (FST), tail suspension test (TST), and locomotor activity test (LAT). Significant changes in all tested activities (FST, TST, LAT) of chronically dosed mice were observed, especially in animals given simultaneously combined doses of 200 mg/kg/day MOE + 10 mg/kg/day fluoxetine for 14 days. The antidepressant effect of MOE may have been invoked through the noradrenergic-serotonergic neurotransmission pathway, which is the hallmark of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) class of drugs. The results obtained in this study suggest that combined administration of MOE with low doses of fluoxetine or other SSRI drugs seems to have promising potential.

Sarafem medication emails
Q. I am currently taking Sarafem for relief of PMDD, and I am experiencing side effects. Anything you can do would really help.
   A. There are alternatives to Sarafem, including 5-HTP or other natural anti-depressants.