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Among the real reasons many people “hate science”: Prozac as cause, not cure, of mental illness


From Jeanne Lenzer at Undark:

In another case of cure as cause, a landmark study of Prozac to treat adolescent depression found that it increased overall suicidality — the very outcome it is intended to prevent. In the study, 15 percent of depressed adolescents treated with Prozac became suicidal, versus 6 percent treated with psychotherapy, and 11 percent treated with placebo. These numbers were not made obvious by Eli Lilly, the manufacturer, or the lead researcher who claimed that Prozac was “the big winner” in the treatment of depressed teens. Doctors, unaware that the drug could increase suicidality, often increased the dosage when teens became more depressed in treatment, thinking the underlying depression — not the drug — was at fault. Studies of other drugs in the same class as Prozac, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, have shown similar problems. More.

There isn’t one big villain to blame, except lack of honest disclosure because of inordinate belief in “science.”

See also: If this is science, yes we do hate it


Blinkers Award goes to… Tom Nichols at Scientific American! On why Americans “hate science” Health science is the way most people interact with science and in many areas, it is running neck and neck with the office rumor mill for credibility.

aarceng, I'm glad you wrote this...SSRI's are not cures as are antibiotics or supposed to be... The great majority of SSRI's are very effective especially when the ones proscribed have a chemical imbalance in their brains-both adolescents and adults... There is no other known way to deal with these issues except with SSRIs... I think this article is a perfect example what is wrong with pop-science where articles like this become pseudoscience... While adults' cases of depression are often complex, the adolescents' are greatly more and increased suicidality on SSRI's has very little or nothing to do with them... Simply put; there is very little that SSRIs can do for for adolescents when their family, school and other dynamics can't improve-either because it is impossible to change them, or the adolescents or their families do not want to work on them...They do not want to do phyotherapy... In cases like this doctors proscribe SSRI's partially to relieve the symptoms and partially to cover their backs-unfortunately... When the life circumstances don't improve and there is nothing else that can be done for depressed adolescents, they may tend to become more suicidal...naturally... as they see not further hope for improvement... The sad part is that many adolescents don't even make it to get available help because of irresponsible articles like this.... For those interested in the theme I recommend 13 Reasons Why https://www.netflix.com/title/80117470 J-Mac
aarceng, that's good news. The issue here seems to turn on adolescents, whose hormone patterns may be in flux. How about this: Too much was made of Prozac, a worthy medication with suitably limited claims. Have you ever read Tom Wolfe’s essay, "Sorry, your soul just died"? It gives a sense of the problem. News
Prozac has been very successful in treating (not curing) my depression. aarceng

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