Drug Class and Mechanism of Action of Sarafem
Sarafem is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drug. It acts by restoring the balance of serotonin, which is a natural substance of brain, and helps to improve mood.
Therapeutic Uses of Sarafem
Sarafem is used for treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome. It may also be used for other medical conditions as determined by your doctor.
Direction of use of Sarafem
Take Sarafem as your doctor directs. Read the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions. Sarafem also comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. You should read it carefully and read it each time you get Sarafem refilled.
Take Sarafem by mouth with a glass of water, with food or on empty stomach. You should take Sarafem at the same time every day to help you to remember and to get best results. You should keep taking Sarafem even if you feel better without missing a dose of it. You should not stop taking Sarafem suddenly without asking your doctor as there may be side effects of Sarafem like mental or mood changes, numbness and/or tingling of the skin, dizziness, confusion, headache, insomnia, unusual tiredness etc. For the side effects you will be monitored at the time of starting treatment with Sarafem.
If You Miss a Dose of Sarafem
If you miss a dose of Sarafem you should take it as soon as you can remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, you should skip the missed dose of Sarafem and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses of Sarafem at a time.
How to Store Sarafem
Sarafem should be stored at room temperature between 59 to 86 degrees F (15 to 30 degrees C). Store it away from moisture, light and heat. Keep Sarafem out of reach of children. Do not store Sarafem in your bathroom.
More Information About Sarafem
If you have any questions about Sarafem, please discuss with your doctor, or other health care provider. Sarafem should only be used by the patient for whom it is prescribed and not shared with others. If your symptoms do not improve or become worse, you should consult your doctor.
Precautions to be Taken While Taking Sarafem
Do not use Sarafem if you are suffering from any medical problems listed below and consult your doctor immediately:
- If you are allergic to any of the ingredients of Sarafem.
- If you are taking or have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) like phenelzine, selegiline, or St. John's wort within the last 2 weeks.
- If you are taking a fenfluramine derivative (dexfenfluramine), an H1-antagonist (astemizole, terfenadine etc.), nefazodone, pimozide, a serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI, like venlafaxine), sibutramine, tryptophan etc.
Some medical conditions may interact with Sarafem. You should inform your doctor or other health care provider if you have any medical problem that may interact with Sarafem, especially any of the following:
- If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or if you are breast feeding.
- If you have allergy to any medicine even other than Sarafem, any food or any other substance.
- If you are taking any prescription medicine, nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, dietary supplement etc.
- If you are suffering from dehydration, have low blood sodium levels, drink alcohol in large quantity.
- If you or a family member has a history of bipolar disorder like manic-depression, other mental problem or mood problem, suicidal thoughts or suicidal attempts, or alcohol or substance abuse.
- If you have a history of seizures, heart problem, liver problem, severe kidney problem, stomach or bowel bleeding, diabetes, or metabolism problems.
- If you will be having electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in near future.
Some medicines may interact with Sarafem. Inform your doctor or other health care provider if you are taking any medicines that may interact with Sarafem, especially any of the medicines that are listed below:
- Anticoagulants (warfarin), aspirin, or other non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, diclofenac etc. because the risk of bleeding, including stomach bleeding, may be increased if taken along with Sarafem.
- Diuretics like furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide etc. because the risk of low blood sodium levels may be increased if taken with Sarafem.
- Tramadol may increase risk of seizures if taken with Sarafem.
- Anorexiants (phentermine), fenfluramine derivatives (dexfenfluramine), linezolid, MAOIs (phenelzine), metoclopramide, nefazodone, selegiline, serotonin 5-HT1 receptor agonists (sumatriptan), sibutramine, SNRIs venlafaxine, St. John's wort, trazodone, tryptophan etc. because severe side effects, such as fever, rigid muscles, blood pressure changes (very high or very low), mental changes, confusion, irritability, agitation, delirium, and coma, may occur.
- Cyproheptadine a H1 antihistaminics, because it may decrease the effectiveness of Sarafem.
- HIV protease inhibitors like ritonavir because they may increase the risk of side effects of Sarafem.
- Cyclobenzaprine or H1 antagonists like astemizole, terfenadine etc. because severe heart problems, including irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia, may occur.
- Benzodiazepines like alprazolam, non selective beta-blockers like propranolol, norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors like atomoxetine, phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, thioridazine) etc. hydantoins ( phenytoin), carbamazepine, clozapine, dextromethorphan, digoxin, flecainide, haloperidol, lithium, pimozide, propafenone, risperidone, tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline), or vinblastine because the risk of their side effects may be increased by Sarafem.
Possible Adverse Effects of Sarafem
- Common and less serious side effects of Sarafem are nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, diarrhea, anxiety; decreased sexual desire or ability; dry mouth; increased sweating, loss of appetite, nervousness; stomach upset; trouble sleeping; generalized weakness etc. consult your doctor if your minor and common side effects become bothersome or persistent.
- Get immediate medical attention if you experience any serious and uncommon side effects of Sarafem. The serious and less common side effects of Sarafem are severe allergic reaction manifested by rash in the skin and mucosa, hives, severe itching, difficulty in breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; severe stomach pain, joint pain, wrist aches or pain, chest pain; redness of skin, swelling of skin, blistered, or peeling skin; persistent and painful erection of penis, black or bloody stools; bizarre behavior, aggressiveness, loss of coordination, confusion, impulsiveness, hallucinations, seizures, irritability, hostility, exaggerated feeling of well-being, suicidal thoughts or suicidal attempts, unusual and severe mental or mood changes, worsening of depression, panic attacks, restlessness, inability to sit still, severe and persistent anxiety or trouble sleeping, new or worsening agitation; fast or irregular heartbeat, exaggerated reflexes, excessive sweating; fever, chills, or sore throat (signs of infection); increased urination, persistent or severe ringing in the ears, tremor; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual hoarseness, significant weight loss, unusual swelling, vision changes etc.