By Shane Ellison, Award winning Scientist, Masters Degree in Organic Chemistry
August 12, 2009
I love Big Pharma. After getting a masters degree in drug design, I was fortunate enough to work within their stinky labs and learn the inner workings of corporate drug making (and dealing). My most important lesson: Not all drugs are bad. Some are really bad. Take the so-called antidepressant Prozac as an example.
In 1990, Prozac appeared on the cover of the pharmaceutically compliant, Newsweek magazine with the headline “Prozac: A Breakthrough Drug for Depression.” It was designed almost twenty years prior. And during that time, some ghastly findings were made which proved the drug to be the antithesis of what popular media touted it as. Such findings were kept hidden. Patients are learning the hard way.
Thirteen days after taking the SSRI Prozac, on April 28, 2003, Jordan’s wife of 56 years, Kathy, found his lifeless body hanging from a beam in a back room of their shop. Not depressed at the time of his appointment, Jordan was given a free sample of Prozac for “chest pains!” Apparently, a pretty drug rep convinced Jordan’s doctor that Prozac could be used for these types of “off-label” purposes. By FDA standards, this is totally illegal. But those standards are never enforced by the consumer watch dog turned Big Pharma lap dog. Regardless of what they are prescribed for, Prozac is a real and present danger to SSRI users.
SSRI’s strive to increase the levels of a “coping” molecule known as serotonin in the brain. It helps us FIND happiness when it’s covered in an avalanche of nastiness. SSRI’s attempt to boost serotonin by “selectively” stopping the “reuptake” of it among brain cells. This is where the whole SSRI acronym came from – “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.” It’s a slick name that seems to hypnotize medical doctors into prescribing submission, but it’s a really stupid idea.
Nothing is selective in the body. While trying to block the reuptake of serotonin, SSRI’s can also prevent its release. The areas of the brain responsible for release and reuptake are so damn similar (after all, they work on the same molecule) that an SSRI isn’t smart enough to understand which one it is supposed to work on. So it does what any dumb drug would do, it blocks both. The end result: no coping molecules in the brain. Deep sadness, fear or anger can set in. Early studies proved this.
The first testing of Prozac was performed on dogs and cats. Every trial showed that Prozac use caused aggression amongst these normally calm and friendly animals, as could be seen by increased hissing and growling. When the animals were taken off of the drug, they returned to their usual friendly behavior. Researchers concluded that Prozac use causes aggressive behavior.
By mid 1978, Prozac testing moved to humans in controlled clinical trials involving more than 4000 patients. In an attempt to hide its aggressive tendencies, the study allowed for voluntary dropout of those who experienced the most severe side effects. Additionally, clinical investigators were allowed to administer concurrent sedatives to patients to further mask Prozac’s side effects that would most likely lead to violence/suicide. This is a common loophole used by drug company-funded drug trials and is known as “checkbook science.” Despite the lack of scientific methodology, this study concluded that Prozac works well to a “statistically significant” degree in a population of depressed patients.
Since its approval, the potential for Prozac calamity has become frighteningly clear amongst both professionals and the public. Reports of Prozac-associated suicide, written by James D. Hagerty and distributed by the Drugs and Devices Information Line at the Harvard School of Public Health, dominated the “Letters to the Editor” section of the American Journal of Psychiatry during the fall of 1990.
Under the FDA’s own analysis, there have been more than 20,000 Prozac-related suicides since 1987.
Clinical studies performed on Prozac show 191 negative side effects per 100 people. This equates to almost two negative side effects for every user of the drug.
The FDA continues to ignore the Prozac body count (they approved Prozac’s use for children in 2003). To make matters worse, the FDA granted its manufacturer, Eli Lilly, extended patent protection. In order to procure thirty additional months of earning power, Eli Lilly changed the name of Prozac to Sarafem, while at the same time labeling common personality and biological shifts as a disease among women; this “disease” being premenstrual irritability. As a result, thousands of unsuspecting women were given Prozac for premenstrual irritability while at the same time increasing their chances of suffering from the aforementioned negative side effects such as aggression, and suicide.
Such lessons got me out of corporate drug making. Thankfully, they taught me how not to be healthy: Take prescription drugs. You can do the same, just say no to Prozac.
About the Author
Ellison’s entire career has been dedicated to the study of molecules; how they give life and how they take from it. He was a two-time recipient of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Grant for his research in biochemistry and physiology. He is a best selling author, holds a master’s degree in organic chemistry and has first-hand experience in drug design. Use his knowledge and insight to look and feel your best with his Secret Cures monthly report. Get it free at www.thepeopleschemist.com
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