According to an article in The Guardian, Prozac, the bestselling antidepressant taken by 40 million people worldwide,Â doesn’t work.
I knowÂ I’m depressed. Not because my medication doesn’t work, but because I own shares of Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Prozac.
Okay, all silly and painfully obvious jokes aside (for now), the articleÂ cites a study publishedÂ by the Public Library of Science thatÂ compared the effect on patients taking the drugs with those given a placebo. Apparently when the comparisons were made, no significant differences were found among the two groups. Patients given Prozac had in fact improved, but so had those given a placebo.Â
However, an apparent anomaly arose inÂ the most severely depressed patients,Â suggesting that Prozac may notÂ need toÂ go away completely. The antidepressants seemed to work for them.
ButÂ according to one of the study’s authors, Prof Irving Kirsch from the department of psychology at Hull University,Â the success observed in severe patientsÂ is probably because the placebo stopped working so well, rather than the drugs having worked better. Still, there seems to be some benefit for those with severe clinical depression.
“Given these results, there seems little reason to prescribe antidepressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients, unless alternative treatments have failed.”
So it seems not all of the 40 million plus people that have taken, or are taking, Prozac need to be.
And ProzacÂ is not be the only drug to come under fire from this study. By all accounts, the trial was comprehensive, breaking new ground becauseÂ for the first time the authorsÂ obtained a full set of trial data for four antidepressants. And the resultsÂ for fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Seroxat), venlafaxine (Effexor) and nefazodone (Serzone) were allÂ consistent.
Meanwhile, Eli Lilly and the manufacturers of the other drugs cited in the study areÂ scrambling to implement damage control.