What Are The Side Effects Of Prozac?

There are numerous side effects due to the miracle drug, Prozac. What do we really know about the drug?

Prozac is a very popular anti-depressant today. Many people take it for depression as well as premenstrual syndrome and panic attacks. In some cases it has even been experimented with in helping smokers to quit. For quite awhile, the drug (and others in its category, SSRIs - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) has been thought to have few side effects and many benefits. However, new studies are beginning to show that this isn't true.

New research shows that these drugs may not be very effective. Yes, they do adjust the levels of serotonin in the brain (a chemical associated with happiness), but they also have unpleasant mental/physical side effects. Also, any improvement in condition lasts only as long as the drug is being taken. Many problems recur after the drug is stopped (mainly because there is no counseling for people on this drug in order to improve coping skills).

Side effects include nausea, other digestive problems, insomnia, fatigue, and some sexual side effects. Most side effects disappear a few weeks after the medicine is started, but the sexual side effects usually stay for the duration of treatment. This is one of the main reasons people discontinue the drug (lack of libido). As far as mental side effects, mania has been reported. Use of SSRIs has been linked to at least a dozen deaths over the last year or so.



Recently, some patients have been experiencing withdrawal when trying to get off the drug. Cravings were intense and so were headaches and other withdrawal symptoms. Some even tried tapering the drug off over several months, reducing the dose by only small increments at a time. This, however, failed in some people and produced withdrawal symptoms just as strong as the "Ëścold turkey' approach did. None of these effects were found in clinical trials, and the drug company denies the existence.

The occurrence of such problems leads us to question what these drugs really do and whether they're helping or harming. Considering that they are used to treat mental disturbances, and there's usually no counseling for the individual affected, the drugs are really ineffective. Prozac's website claims that the drug helps to make people happier so they can get on with their lives. Nowhere do they mention the side effects or withdrawal, nor do they mention counseling.

No drugs can truly help for mental disorders. Brain chemicals can be temporarily adjusted, but not permanently fixed. The individual needs to get help from a counselor in order to deal with the problem, not hide it away. These drug manufacturers make it look like taking the drug is a miracle solution and that it will make the problem disappear, even once one stops taking the medication. This is false. Patients need to be informed of all their options, including the doctor's opinion of the best possible route in treatment. Sometimes drugs are not what's best. Today, they are being prescribed very often when sometimes they can cause worse problems.

In some cases, drugs can be approved by the FDA with only a few clinical trials done. If a company produces one or two studies that prove that drug works marginally well, they can have it approved. This leads to occasional drugs that don't have real results or in-depth trial (long term side effects are almost never tested; this takes too long) on the market for the general public to get at them. The consumer should beware of these practices and weigh the benefits and risks accordingly.

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