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 The Truth about Antidepressants


Prozac, Serafem, Zoloft, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro, Effexor, Remeron, Serzone, Cymbalta.


The Pharmaceutical companies and the Antidepressant drugs they make.


Depression affects millions of people across the world, especially in the United States and in our own community here in Utah.  In fact, Utah is the Antidepressant capital of the nation.  Utah has the highest per capita usage of such drugs, with 16 percent of the population taking the medications, according to Express Scripts, a company that assembles a yearly drug trend report.


Throughout this report we will present information about the billionaire pharmaceutical manufacturers and the Antidepressant drugs that they make.  A focus will be placed on the more popular drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil, because there is more information and studies available regarding those Antidepressants.  Information and results regarding other Antidepressants are similar because they all work in similar ways, increasing serotonin levels in the brain, while decreasing the brains ability to metabolize serotonin.


We will also present the dangers of Antidepressants and the alternative methods than can be used to better treat depression.


What is depression?


In younger children, depression may include physical complaints such as stomachaches and headaches, as well as irritability, “moping around,” social withdrawal, and changes in eating habits. They may feel unenthusiastic about school and other activities.


In adolescents, common symptoms include sad mood, sleep disturbances, and lack of energy.


Elderly people with depression usually complain of physical rather than emotional problems, which sometimes lead doctors to misdiagnose the illness. Poor self-esteem, delusions (false beliefs) and hallucinations can also be associated with depression.


The Beck Depression Inventory [1] suggests that when screening depression, a patient should examine how they feel in each of these categories: sadness, pessimism, sense of failure, dissatisfaction, guilt, self-dislike, self-harm, social withdrawal, indecisiveness, self-image change, work difficulty, fatigability and anorexia.  This can determine your level of depression, and which areas you need to improve on.


It is normal for everyone to experience depression at various times throughout life.  There are many ways a person can overcome depression, without medication, which we will outline below.


Why are Antidepressants prescribed? Who prescribes them?


Doctors and Psychiatrists prescribe Antidepressants.  They often refer to the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) for diagnoses of depression and other mental disorders. 


Psychiatrists use a variety of methods to detect specific disorders in their patients. The most fundamental is the psychiatric interview, during which the patient's psychiatric history is taken and mental status is evaluated. The psychiatric history is a picture of the patient's personality characteristics, relationships with others and past and present experience with psychiatric problems told in the patient's words.


Some diagnostic methods rely on testing by other specialists. Psychologists administer intelligence and personality tests, as well as tests designed to detect damage to the brain or other parts of the central nervous system. Neurologists also test psychiatric patients for evidence of impairment of the nervous system. Other physicians sometimes examine patients who complain of physical symptoms. Psychiatric social workers explore family and community problems. The psychiatrist integrates all this information in making a diagnosis according to criteria established by the psychiatric profession.


Short history of the creation of Antidepressants


Physicians in the Western world began specializing in the treatment of the mentally ill in the 19th century. Known as alienists, psychiatrists of that era worked in large asylums, practicing what was then called moral treatment, a humane approach aimed at quieting mental turmoil and restoring reason. During the second half of the century, psychiatrists abandoned this mode of treatment and, with it, the tacit recognition that mental illness is caused by both psychological and social influences. For a while, their attention focused almost exclusively on biological factors. Drugs and other forms of physical treatment were common. Attention shifted to processes within the individual psyche, and psychoanalysis came to be regarded as the preferred mode of treatment for most mental disorders. In the 1940s and 1950s emphasis shifted again: this time to the social and physical environment. Many psychiatrists had all but ignored biological influences, but others were studying those involved in mental illness and were using somatic forms of treatment such as electroconvulsive therapy (electric shock) and psychosurgery.

Dramatic changes in the treatment of the mentally ill in the United States began in the mid-1950s with the introduction of the first effective drugs for treating psychotic symptoms. Along with drug treatment, new, more liberal and humane policies and treatment strategies were introduced into mental hospitals. More and more patients were treated in community settings in the 1960s and 1970s. Support for mental health research led to significant new discoveries, especially in the understanding of genetic and biochemical determinants in mental illness and the functioning of the brain. Thus, by the 1980s, psychiatry had once again shifted in emphasis to the biological, to the relative neglect of psychosocial influences in mental health and illness.


An opening quote in Dr. Ann Blake Tracy's book, Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? says: Dr. Candace Pert, Research Professor at Georgetown University Medical Center and past head of the brain chemistry department at the National Institute of Health, a position she served on for 13 years, sounded an alarm about serotonergic medications on page 8 of TIME magazine, October 20, 1997 when she said:


"I am alarmed at the monster that Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Solomon Snyder and I created when we discovered the simple binding assay for drug receptors 25 years ago. Prozac and other antidepressant serotonin-receptor-active compounds may also cause cardiovascular problems in some susceptible people after long-term use, which has become common practice despite the lack of safety studies.

"The public is being misinformed about the precision of these selective serotonin-uptake inhibitors when the medical profession oversimplifies their action in the brain and ignores the body as if it exists merely to carry the head around! In short, these molecules of emotion regulate every aspect of our physiology. A new paradigm has evolved, with implications that life-style changes such as diet and exercise can offer profound, safe and natural mood elevation."




Most Antidepressants are serotonin-enhancing medications, and fit in the category of SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) or SNRI (Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors.)  These Antidepressants increase serotonin levels in the brain, while decreasing the brains ability to metabolize serotonin.


SSRI Antidepressants include: Prozac, Serafem, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa and Lexapro.

SNRI Antidepressants are: Effexor, Remeron, Serzone and Cymbalta.


How do they work?


One neuron, referred to as the presynaptic neuron, releases a neurotransmitter into the synapse, or space, between the neuron and a neighboring cell. The neurotransmitter then attaches, or binds, to a neighboring cell—the postsynaptic cell—to trigger a specific activity.

Antidepressants work by interacting with neurotransmitters at three different points:

·         They can change the rate at which the neurotransmitters are either created or broken down by the body.

·         They can block the process in which a spent neurotransmitter is recycled by a presynaptic neuron and used again, called reuptake.

·         Or they can interfere with the binding of a neurotransmitter to neighboring cells.

Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, an expert on Antidepressants, stated “It has long been known that inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin will produce depression, suicide, violence, psychosis, mania, cravings for alcohol and other drugs, reckless driving, etc.” [2]


Why are Antidepressants being made?


The makers (Eli Lilly, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline) of some of the most popular Antidepressants (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil) all agree that “depression is a common condition” [3] affecting millions of people in the United States each year.  Eli Lilly believes that “more than 18 million Americans suffer from some type of depression, and one in eight persons need treatment for depression during his or her lifetime.”[4] GlaxoSmithKline has states that “depression is a common condition affecting approximately 16 million people in the United States in any given year.” [5]  According to Pfizer “depressive disorders affect about 34 million American adults. Nearly twice as many women as men are affected by a depressive illness each year.” [6]


It would seem that there is a huge problem with depression in America.  What do these billionaire pharmaceutical manufacturers suggest we do to treat depression?


All of the makers of Antidepressants believe that their drug is effective for treating and curing many types of depression.  Some companies, like Pfizer even give further recommendations such as “‘talk’ therapy, or a combination of both. You and your doctor can work together to decide on the right depression treatment for you.”  Pfizer also says “healthy eating, regular exercise, and good sleep can help you feel better, faster.” [7]



Why are Antidepressants prescribed to children?


Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to Children for bed-wetting, drug and alcohol use, ADD/ADHD, depression, eating disorders, bipolar, behavioral problems, divorce and family conflict issues, adoption issues, school problems, poor peer choices, runaway and curfew, minimal legal issues, accountability and responsibility issues, integrity, self esteem and emotional problems. [8]


How many children are currently taking Antidepressants?


Over one million children and adolescents are currently taking SSRI Antidepressants. [9]


According to Joyce Howard Price, who writes for Washington times, 30,000 children 18 and under were taking Antidepressants in 1998; and the total was 45,000 in 2002.


It was found that children are generally being prescribed more Antidepressants and other drugs designed to calm or stimulate the brain. [10]


The rate of Antidepressant prescriptions for children rose by 70% in a decade. While the rate for tricyclics (the previous generation of Antidepressants) fell by 30%, that for SSRIs rose 10-fold from 0.5 children treated out of 1,000 to 4.6. [11]


In 2004 The United Kingdom banned the use of all SSRIs in children with depression, except for fluoxetine (Prozac) — the only drug, regulators said, whose benefits outweighed its risks. The other SSRIs, they said, posed increased risks of such problems as self-harm, suicidal thoughts and agitation. Those warnings added to concerns in the United States, eventually prompting the FDA to launch its investigation. [12]

Only Prozac has been approved to treat childhood depression, but the other drugs can be prescribed legally as an off-label use. According to an FDA analysis released last fall, even Prozac causes a 50% higher risk of suicidal behavior in kids. [13]


'Suicide risk’ in Children and Adolescents


In October 15, 2004 the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research released an important “Labeling Change Request Letter for Antidepressant Medications.” [14] The new “black box label” on Antidepressants should read as follows:


“Suicidality in Children and Adolescents


“Antidepressants increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children and adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of [Drug Name] or any other Antidepressant in a child or adolescent must balance this risk with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. [Drug Name] is not approved for use in pediatric patients except for patients with [Any approved pediatric claims here]. (See Warnings and Precautions: Pediatric Use)


“Pooled analyses of short-term (4 to 16 weeks) placebo-controlled trials of nine Antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) in children and adolescents with MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders (a total of 24 trials involving over 4400 patients) have revealed a greater risk of adverse events representing suicidal thinking or behavior (suicidality) during the first few months of treatment in those receiving Antidepressants. The average risk of such events on drug was 4%, twice the placebo risk of 2%. No suicides occurred in these trials.”


A black-box warning label is the most serious warning issued by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.


Prozac success or failure?


Fluoxetine (Prozac) failed to improve depression in at least one third of patients. Also, about one in ten children experienced adverse side effects such as agitation and mania. [15]


Many would say that Prozac and other Antidepressants are a devastating failure, however, many medical professionals also believe that Antidepressants have been beneficial to millions.


For more info on the failures and success of Antidepressants please read our information gathered from the FDA and from clinical studies done by the Pharmaceutical manufacturers.


Why are Antidepressants prescribed to adults?


Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to Adults for clinical depression, chronic depression, postpartum depression, bipolar, seasonal depression, psychotic and major depression, eating disorders, sleep disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias, anxiety, panic disorder, social phobia, and post-traumatic stress disorders.


Antidepressant Statistics


·         According to the American Psychiatric Association, Antidepressants work for 35% to 45% of the depressed population, while more recent figures suggest as low as 30%. [16]


·         The Government Agency's Survey found that deaths associated with Effexor by Wyeth, a US pharmaceutical giant, were equivalent to 8.5 for every million prescriptions since its launch in 1995. [17]


·         Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population. [18]


·         30% of women are depressed. Men's figures were previously thought to be half that of women, but new estimates are higher.


·         15% of depressed people will commit suicide. [18]


·         15% of the population of most developed countries suffers severe depression. [18]


·         35 million Americans (more than 16% of the population) suffer from depression severe enough to warrant treatment at some time in their lives. [19]


·         Over the last year, pharmacies filled more than $146 million in prescriptions for SSRIs. [20]


·         Nearly twice as many women (12 percent) as men (7 percent) are affected by a depressive illness each year. These figures translate to 12.4 million women and 6.4 million men in the U.S. [21]


·         Antidepressant drugs are prescribed in Utah more often than in any other state, at a rate nearly twice the national average. Utah is the Antidepressant Capital of the Nation. [22]


·         Antidepressant drugs are commonly prescribed in USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, UK, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. [23]


·         In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 (both sexes). Suicide attempts are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicides. [24]


·         Although suicide rates have traditionally been highest among elderly males, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of all countries. [24]


·         Mental disorders (particularly depression and substance abuse) are associated with more than 90% of all cases of suicide. However, suicide results from many complex sociocultural factors and is more likely to occur during periods of socioeconomic, family and individual crisis (e.g. loss of a loved one, employment, honor). [24]


·         The World Health Organization estimates that in the year 2000 approximately one million people will die from suicide.  A global mortality rate of 16 per 100,000. One death every 40 seconds. [24]


·         Though women experience depression at double the rate of men, men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women. [25]


·         The rate of increase of depression among children is an astounding 23% p.a. [26]


·         Up to 2.5 percent of children in the United States suffer from depression. [27]


·         Up to 8.3 percent of adolescents in the United States suffers from depression. [28]


·         National Institute of Mental Health stated that “18.8 million American adults suffer from clinical depression. That is 9.5% of the adult population.” [29]


·         It is estimated that major depressive disorder (MDD) affects about 5 percent of adolescents, who have more frequent suicidal thinking and behavior and greater likelihood of substance abuse than youth in general. [30]


·         Rash & Possible Allergic Events – in 7% of 10,782 patients. 1/3 of those stopped being treated with Prozac because the Rash was so extreme.


·         In an FDA Approval Letter (NDA 18-936/S-064 – Approved Labeling Enclosure) it is stated that about 7% of the population are “poor metabolizers” of seratonin, which means Antidepressants are even more dangerous for them because if you cannot metabolize serotonin, your serotonin levels rise even higher and that causes a lot of problems.


School shootings linked to Antidepressants and other mind-altering drugs


1.       March 23, 2005: Jeff Weise, on prozac, shot and killed 9 people, including his Grandpa.  At Red Lake High School, Minnesota, he killed 5 students, a teacher and an unarmed security guard.  He later killed himself. [31]


2.       May 20, 1999: T.J. Solomon, a 15-year-old, wounded six at Heritage High School in Conyers, GA.  CNN Reports That T.J. Solomon was on Ritalin. [32]


3.       April 16, 1999: Shawn Cooper, a 15-year-old sophomore, wounded one at Notus Junior-Senior High School in Notus, Idaho.  Reports stated that Cooper was abused and medicated. [32]


4.       April 20, 1999: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed thirteen and wounded twenty-three at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO. Eric Harris, the apparent leader of the attack had been on Luvox. Klebold’s records where not released.[32]


5.       May 21, 1998: Kip Kinkel, a 14-year old, killed 2 and injured 22 after opening fire at his Springfield, Oregon, high school. He had undergone psychological “anger management” classes and was taking psychiatric drugs. [32]


6.       March 24, 1998: Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, opened fire on their classmates and killed five and wounded eleven at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Ark. [32]


7.       Neal Furrow, in an LA Jewish school shooting, was reported to have been court ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications. [33]


8.       February 2, 1996: In an algebra class at Frontier Junior High School in Mose Lake, Washington, Barry Loukaitas, 14, killed his teacher and two teenage boys with an assault rifle, and wounded a girl. Loukaitas was sentenced to two mandatory life terms. [34]


9.       October 30, 1995: Edward Earl Spellman, 18, shot and wounded four students outside their high school in Richmond, Virginia. [34]


10.   January 18, 1993: In Grayhurst, Kentucky, Scott Pennington, 17, entered Deanna McDavid's English class at East Carter High School and shot her in the head. He also shot Marvin Hicks, the school janitor, in the stomach. Pennington was sentenced to life, without the possibility of parole for 25 years. [34]


11.   May 1, 1992: Eric Houston, 20, killed four people and wounded 10 at his former high school in Olivehurst, California. Houston was sentenced to death. [34]




Other Crimes linked to Antidepressants.


1.       Brynn Hartman, wife of comedian Phil Hartman, had the Antidepressant Zoloft in her bloodstream when she murdered her husband in his sleep and then later turned the gun on herself. [35]


2.       Prozac was found in the van of Mark Barton, the Atlanta day trader, who recently killed his family and others in a shooting spree before taking his own life. [35]


3.       The Salt Lake Family History Library shooting. [35]


4.       15 year old Chris Shanahan (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman. [35]


5.       The shooting at the lottery in Connecticut last spring by Matthew Beck (Luvox) that left five dead in a murder/suicide. [35]


6.       The New York City Subway bombing by Edward Leary (Prozac). [35]


7.       Nick Mansies (Paxil) in New Jersey who was convicted of killing a little boy who was selling cookies door to door. Sam Manzie, 15, attacked, raped and strangled to death an 11-year-old boy selling items door to door for the PTA. He was on Paxil. WHICH ONE!!! [35]


8.       In Orange County, CA Dana Sue Gray (Paxil) who co-workers described as a very caring nurse killed several elderly people. [35]


9.       Officer Stephen Christian (Prozac) one of the finest officers on the Dallas Police force, who ran into a police substation shooting at fellow officers and was killed. [35]


10.   13 year old Chris Fetters (Prozac) in Iowa who killed her favorite aunt. [35]


11.   David Rothman (Prozac) killed two co-workers and himself at the Dept. of Agriculture in Ingelwood, CA. [35]


12.   Williams Evans (Zoloft) shot one co-worker at the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services before shooting himself in Columbus, OH. [35]


13.   Winatchee, WA where 43 people were wrongfully imprisoned in a false accusation of sexual abuse "witch hunt" fury started by a child under the influence of Prozac and Paxil. [35]


14.   Christopher Vasquez (Zoloft) killed Michael Morrow in Central Park. [35]


15.   Megan Hogg (Prozac) duct taped the mouths and noses of her three little girls and took a handful of pills. [35]


16.   Vera Espinoza (Prozac) in Randolph, VT shot her small son and daughter before shooting herself. [35]


17.   An elderly man (Prozac) in Layton, UT axed his wife and daughter to death. [35]


18.   Margaret Kastanis (Prozac) used a knife and hammer to kill her three children before stabbing herself to death. [35]


19.   An elderly man (Paxil) in Dallas, TX strangled his wife before shooting himself twice in the chest. [35]


20.   Larramie Huntzinger (Zoloft) blacked out and ran his car into three young girls killing two in Salt Lake City, UT. [35]


21.   Mary Hinkelman (Prozac), a nurse in Baroda, MI shot her two small daughters and her sister before shooting herself. [35]


22.   Lisa Fox (Prozac) shot her small son and her dog before shooting herself in Brighton, MI. [35]


23.   Debi Louselle (Zoloft) shot daughter and then herself in Salt Lake City, UT. [35]


24.   A father in Wyoming shot his wife, daughter and baby grand-daughter then himself after only days on Paxil. [35]


25.   A mother (Prozac) in Pleasant Grove, UT killed her 17 year old son with a sledge hammer while he slept before she attempted suicide by drinking Drano. [35]


26.   Larry Butz, a superintendent of schools in Ames, IA shot his wife, son and daughter before shooting himself - many cases pending in court are not mentioned. [35]


27.   January 1, 1998 - A Star Bulletin article reports that the role of Prozac in a Maui murder-suicide will be argued in a June 2, 1998 hearing in Honolulu's federal court. Five years prior, William Forsyth stabbed his wife 15 times then propped a knife on a stool and stabbed himself. He had been on Prozac for two weeks at the time. [36]


28.   December 8, 1997 -Time magazine article reports that INXS lead vocalist Michael Hutchence was found naked and dead hanging by a belt attached to the closing mechanism of his hotel room door. A bottle of Prozac was found in his room just after the suicide. [37]


29.   Jeremy Strohmeyer raped and murdered a 7-year-old girl one week after he started taking Dexedrine. [38]


30.   AUSTRALIA: David Hawkins (above left), a 74-year-old with no prior history of violence, killed his wife while on an Antidepressant. In 2001, a judge ruled that the drug was in part responsible. [39]


31.   In 2001, Andrea Yates filled the bathtub and drowned her 5 children, ages 6 months to 7 years. Medical experts argue that the murderous rage was induced by excessive dosages of certain psychiatric drugs, causing “involuntary intoxication.” [40]


32.   JAPAN: The same year, Mamoru Takuma (above right), 37, stabbed to death 8 schoolchildren and injured 15 others in a frenzied knife attack while under the influence of psychiatric drugs. [41]


This is only a handful of MANY, MANY more cases.


Antidepressants in the environment?


Antidepressants, like other drugs and vitamins, find their way into the environment after they are excreted and flushed into the sewage system. [42]


Brook’s latest study found traces of Prozac and Zoloft in three kinds of fish. Even so, at concentrations of nanograms per gram, a person would have to eat 1,344,086 servings of polluted catfish to consume the same amount of sertraline in a 50 mg. tablet of Zoloft. [42]


What is being done to ban Antidepressants?


The FDA are being sued by a consumer advocacy group who are trying to push through a ban on the sale of Serzone, which is an Antidepressant. The drug has been linked to 20 deaths, and can cause a fatal failure of the liver, according to the group. 


Public Citizen, the advocacy group behind the suit, have argued that Europe and Canada have already banned the drug, and Australia and New Zealand are in the process of doing so. The FDA is reviewing the issue. [43]


Fortunately, the maker of Serzone, Bristol-Myers Squibb announced in May of 2004 that it was pulling the drug from the market in the United States, but they insist that the pull is due to declining sales!


There continues to be a large amount of lawsuits against makers of other Antidepressants.  Various groups such as the International Coalition for Drug Awareness are also pushing for all Antidepressants to be banned.


How easy is it to get a prescription for Antidepressants?


On February 12, 2005, VaLon Frandsen, a student at the Salt Lake Community College, Interviewed Michelle, who works at a local Pharmacy here in Utah to ask some questions about these drugs:


VaLon: Hi, I’m doing a report on Antidepressants; do you know approximately how many you give out?


Michelle: How many I give out, like in a month?  Maybe, prescriptions on average let me see, that’s a lot.


Other Pharmacist: It is a lot!


Michelle: About 15% of prescriptions that we fill are Antidepressant medications, about 3,000 on average.


VaLon: … If someone wanted one, how would one go about getting one?


Michelle: A prescription for Antidepressants?  See a physician and fill out a questionnaire or some standard protocol for the person…some Antidepressants that are classified that way are not always used for depression, some are for sleep.  (Some people feel better and don’t think there is a need for them, so stop taking them) and then go into a rebound depression that is worse than it was before….



What’s in it for the Pharmaceutical Industry?


The Pharmaceutical Companies who make Antidepressants are satisfied that their drugs are helping millions of people who are suffering from some type of depressive disorder.  Eli Lilly’s Prozac ”has been prescribed for more than 54 million people worldwide.” [3]  They believe that “chances are, someone you know is getting better because of it.” GlaxoSmithKline’s claim is that “Paxil is well established in treating depression after nearly ten years and over 100 million patient treatments.” [5]  Pfizer has made similar claims that Zoloft “has treated more people with more types of depression and anxiety than any brand of its kind.” [6]


What are the financial benefits to the Pharmaceutical Companies?


The pharmaceutical business is a multi-billion-dollar business.  Antidepressants alone are generating billions each year for multiple Pharmaceutical companies.  All of these companies are competing for your dollar, and all have goals of growth and revenue.  The only way to achieve those goals is by selling more drugs.  The more they can convince depressed people and doctors that their drug is best, the more money they will make.


Exactly how much money are these drug companies making?


The following are financial details of some of the biggest Antidepressant manufacturers and the drugs they make:


Eli Lilly (Prozac) [44]


Pfizer (Zoloft) [45]


GlaxoSmithKline (Wellbutrin, Paxil) [46]


Bristol-Myers Squibb (Serzone) [47]


Forest Pharmaceuticals (Celexa, Lexapro) [48]


Wyeth (Effexor) [49]


Solvay (Luvox) [50]


Organon (Remeron) [51]


What is the role of the FDA in all of this?


The CDER is a department of the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), and has the responsibility of either approving or rejecting a drug for use in treatment of specific medical conditions.  Specifically “the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research's (CDER) job is to ensure that drugs are safe and effective. CDER does not test drugs, although the Center's Office of Testing and Research does conduct limited research in the areas of drug quality, safety, and effectiveness.”  The CDER states that “it is the responsibility of the company seeking to market a drug to test it and submit evidence that it is safe and effective.” [52]  The CDER also enforces proper labeling of a drug so that patients are aware of the proper use for a drug and its possible side effects.  After approving a drug, the CDER commonly asks for further future reports regarding the long-term efficacy and safety of a product.  A program called MedWatch has been setup to give the public access to drug safety information and the ability to report adverse reactions to a drug.  This is necessary in case a drug’s side effects are found to outweigh its benefits, the FDA will then re-examine approval of the harmful drug.


What have the clinical trials shown regarding effectiveness and side effects of Antidepressants?


Before we look at clinical studies done by Pharmaceutical companies, let’s look at an important finding regarding the way these studies are done:


“While Antidepressants are among the most frequently prescribed medications, most patients treated for major depression in a typical outpatient psychiatric practice would not qualify to take part in a clinical trial for a new Antidepressant drug, according to a new Brown University study.”


“As few as 15 percent of 346 depressed patients evaluated in the Rhode Island Hospital Department of Psychiatry outpatient clinic would have met the eligibility requirements of a standard drug trial, depending on the criteria.”


“Drug companies have been correct in assuming that if they show their medicine works for a highly select group of depressed patients, physicians will use it for all patients,” said Zimmerman. [53]


Eli Lilly has made the results of five clinical trials available on its website. [54] 


In an early study from March 1984 to March 1986, “Fluoxetine [Prozac] was no more effective than placebo in alleviating symptoms of depression in adolescents.”  Fluoxetine is another name for Prozac.  This was a study of 40 children and adolescents who had been diagnosed, according to DSM III, with Major Depressive Disorder.  Half of them were taking Prozac and half were taking Placebo (a sugar pill.) Eli Lily reported that all patients did make a “statistically significant improvement” but the improvement was similar in those taking Prozac and those taking Placebo.  Thus, the only difference between those taking Prozac and those taking Placebo, is that Prozac caused far more adverse reactions!  28.6% of those treated with Prozac had tremors (An involuntary trembling or quivering, as from nervous agitation or weakness.)  23.8% of those treated with Prozac suffered from Insomnia (chronic inability to fall asleep or remain asleep for an adequate length of time.) In all situations Prozac had much more “Treatment-Emergent Signs and Symptoms” (adverse reactions) than Placebo.


The second clinical study was also testing Prozac versus Placebo in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in Children and Adolescents.  This trial was done from April 10th 1991 to February 28th 1995.  The study began with 48 on Prozac 20mg, 48 on Placebo.  The study was completed with 33 on Prozac, 25 on Placebo.  It is normal for many patients to drop out for various reasons.  5 of the patients discontinued due to adverse reactions (suicide attempt, hypomania, impulsivity, rash.)  2 of the patients on Prozac attempted suicide, but none on Placebo did this. In this test, patients on Prozac improved more than those on Placebo, but those on Prozac were more likely to suffer from tremors (23% vs. 13%), muscle cramp (31% vs. 21%), not paying attention (29% vs. 19%), and rashes (21% vs. 10%).

In a third clinical trial, from 1998 to 1999, 109 people took Prozac 20 mg to 60 mg, 110 took Placebo.  Those on Prozac showed improvement more than those on Placebo, but only 65% improved on Prozac compared to 54% on Placebo.  There were 14% more adverse reactions reported by those  taking Prozac.  Headache (30% Prozac vs. 16% Placebo), Dizziness & Rash (9% vs. 4%), agitation (3% vs. 0%), Tremor (3% vs. 0%)

The fourth clinical study,1999-2000, compared Prozac 20 to 60 mg, versus Placebo in the treatment of Children and Adolescents who had been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for an average of 5 years. This study Started with 71 taking Prozac, 32 on Placebo. Ended with 49 on Prozac and 20 on Placebo.  The results showed that Prozac was only effective in 50% of patients.  Those taking Prozac were more likely to suffer from Insomnia, Rash, and Hyperkinesia.

 Finally, the fifth clinical trial studied Prozac 20 mg and Norfluoxetine in Preadolescent and Adolescent Patients, from 1997-1998, to determine effectiveness of those with major depressive disorder.  22 patients enrolled in this study, only 19 completed it.  73% of these patients reported at least one adverse reaction to Prozac. Rhinitis (32%), headache (27%), insomnia (23%), diarrhea (18%), anorexia (14%), and personality disorder (14%). In this study Eli Lilly concluded that efficacy of Prozac was not established.

From the results of these five clinical studies released by Eli Lilly you can see that Prozac doesn't do very well at treating depression, yet Americans still spend billions of dollars buying these drugs, and making companies like Eli Lilly richer by the day. [54]


There have been similar studies done on the other Antidepressants, a few more will be presented below.


“During its premarketing assessment, multiple doses of Zoloft were administered to over 4000 adult subjects as of February 18, 2000.” Pfizer, released information on clinical studies done on Zoloft, for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder, according to DSM-III criteria for diagnosing such conditions.  Pfizer reported that efficacy was shown in all clinical studies. [55]

Pfizer concluded that “Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in short-term studies in children and adolescents with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders.

Pfizer's studies also show that “The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with Antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric.”

Because of the possible dangers of Antidepressants, Pfizer also issued the following precautions about Zoloft:

“During premarketing testing, hypomania or mania occurred in approximately 0.4% of Zoloft.”

Although 0.4% doesn't sound like a lot.  It is a huge number compared to how many prescriptions have been given.  “Doctors have written over 250 million prescriptions for Zoloft”  This means that nearly one million people may have suffered from hypomania or mania because of Zoloft.

Mania is “a mood disorder; an affective disorder in which the victim tends to respond excessively and sometimes violently.”  This is one evidence that possibly tells us why there have been so many school shootings and killings by people on Antidepressants. [56]

“During marketing of Zoloft and other SSRIs and SNRIs (Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors), there have been spontaneous reports of adverse events occurring upon discontinuation of these drugs, particularly when abrupt, including the following: dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances (e.g. paresthesias such as electric shock sensations), anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomnia, and hypomania. While these events are generally self-limiting, there have been reports of serious discontinuation symptoms.”

“Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk: Patients, their families, and their caregivers should be encouraged to be alert to the emergence of anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, mania, other unusual changes in behavior, worsening of depression, and suicidal ideation, especially early during Antidepressant treatment and when the dose is adjusted up or down.” [55]

GlaxoSmithKlinehas also released results from clinical studies of Paxil. [57]

In these tests, GlaxoSmithKline demonstrated the efficacy of paroxetine (Paxil) in the treatment of major depressive disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder (PD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), diagnosed according to DSM-III.  They stated that “PAXIL was significantly better than placebo “

According to one of the studies 42% of patients taking placebo showed signs of improvement, while 58% to 78% of those taking Paxil showed minimal to much improvement.

Pfizer issued precautions stating that the following side effects are possible for those taking Paxil:

seizures, serotonin syndrome, anxiety, agitation, naseau, dry mouth, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, mania, other unusual changes in behavior, worsening of depression, and suicidal ideation.

“During marketing of PAXIL and other SSRIs and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), there have been spontaneous reports of adverse events occurring, upon the discontinuation of these drugs (particularly when abrupt), including the following: Dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances (e.g., paresthesias such as electric shock sensations), anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomnia, and hypomania. While these events are generally self-limiting, there have been reports of serious discontinuation symptoms.” [57]

During clinical trials of Paxil, an overwhelmingly high number of patients dropped out due to adverse side effects. “Twenty percent (1,199/6,145) of patients treated with PAXIL in worldwide clinical trials in major depressive disorder and 16.1% (84/522), 11.8% (64/542), 9.4% (44/469), 10.7% (79/735), and 11.7% (79/676) of patients treated with PAXIL in worldwide trials in social anxiety disorder, OCD, panic disorder, GAD, and PTSD, respectively, discontinued treatment due to an adverse event.

The overall evidence reported in the clinical studies of Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil shows that there are many possible side effects that come with these drugs, and at most, only about 20% of depressed people taking Antidepressants will improve compared to depressed people who don't take Antidepressants.  If you are considering taking Antidepressants you should definitely look into alternative methods of treatment before taking the risk involved with Antidepressants.  Alternative treatments will be discussed in another portion of this report.


What are the drug companies hiding?


Many reports have been revealed showing that the makers of Antidepressants are trying to hide information from the public.


Jim Harper, editor of prozactruth.com has gathered the following information through the Freedom of Information Act: [58]


1985 - “Eli Lilly conducted tests on Prozac and found the drug not to be significantly more effective than the placebo. An FDA statistician suggested to Lilly that the test results be evaluated differently causing the results to come out more favorable for Prozac.”


1985 - “Guidelines constructed by Lilly for the clinical trials excluded the reporting of 'adverse experiences caused by depression'. The FDA admits this skewed the results.”


1986 - “The FDA safety review discovered that Lilly failed to report information about psychotic episodes during Prozac's testing. The FDA did nothing to reprimand Lilly for omitting this data.”


1987 - “Two months before Prozac was approved for the market there had already been 27 deaths from controlled clinical trials. 15 were from suicides, 6 by overdose, 4 by gunshot and 2 by drowning. All were confirmed to be directly related to taking Prozac. An additional 12 deaths were reported but, could not be directly related to Prozac.”


1991 - “Shortly before a hearing on Prozac in August 1991 an FDA executive Paul Leber noted his concern about 'the large number of reports of all kinds on Prozac (more than 15,000)'. Paul Leber pressured personnel in charge of the agency's adverse reporting system to discount the large number of reports of adverse reactions to Prozac as 'of Limited value'.”


“By 1992 Prozac has had 28,600 adverse reactions reported to the FDA. Plus an additional 1,700 deaths. The Commissioner of the FDA, David Kessler states 'Although the FDA receives many adverse event reports, these probably represent only a fraction of the serious adverse events encountered by providers. Only about one percent of the serious events are reported to the FDA, according to one study'.”


“Let us look at the math regarding the above statement. 28,600 reported adverse reactions - equates to 2,860,000 adverse reactions if Commissioner David Kessler's study is correct.” [58]

There is even more evidence from other sources showing that the drug companies are hiding something.


Eli Lilly treated the American public "like guinea pigs" says Harvard psychiatrist Martin Teicher. He goes on to explain how Eli Lilly was engaged in widespread scientific fraud in the cherry picking of individuals for drug trial results. Basically, if anyone in the drug trial began to show suicidal behavior, they were "excused" from the trial and removed from the outcome data. [59]


“On July 23, 2004, a citizen's consumer protection lawsuit was filed against Pfizer Pharmaceuticals for concealment of evidence and deceptive marketing of the Antidepressant Zoloft. The California law firm of Baum Hedlund has filed a suit against Pfizer on behalf of a doctor of public health / nurse and on behalf of 'all California residents who have been misled about Zoloft.'” [60]


“On May 14, 2004, Pfizer pleaded guilty in federal court to criminal fraud charges for the unlawful promotion and marketing of Neurontin by its predecessor, Warner-Lambert. Pfizer agreed to pay $430 million in settlement.”


“Today's consumer protection lawsuit was filed in Superior Court in downtown Los Angeles (case number BC318871). The suit details Pfizer's actions and omissions that downplayed Zoloft's risks and exaggerate Zoloft's alleged benefits. Pfizer did so, the complaint alleges, by suppressing evidence concerning: (1) Zoloft's lack of efficacy compared to placebos in treating conditions for which Zoloft is prescribed; (2) Zoloft's propensity to induce withdrawal and dependency; (3) the risk of increased suicidal and violent impulses in adult, child and adolescent Zoloft users; and (4) Zoloft's causing other side effects such as convulsions and psychosis.” [61]


“ABC News uncovered new documents suggesting GlaxoSmithKline, maker of popular Antidepressant Paxil, failed to disclose the possibility that an increased risk of suicidal behavior among children using Paxil could occur. The company also failed to warn of the serious withdrawal symptoms some patients experience when discontinuing the use of Paxil. The ABC News program 'Primetime Live' obtained actual GlaxoSmithKline reports from its own internal studies opposed to the hearings Congress and the FDA have held questioning GlaxoSmithKline about suppressing study information. Included in the internal studies by the Paxil maker, GlaxoSmithKline concluded the Antidepressant had little or no effect in treating depression in children and adolescents.”


“Scientists are accepting large sums of money from drug companies to put their names to articles endorsing new medicines that they have not written - a growing practice that some fear is putting scientific integrity in jeopardy.” [62]


Many of you will likely be wondering “why?” the drug companies are hiding evidence and information about their Antidepressants.  Dr. Ann Tracy, Executive Director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness says “It’s a money thing!” and many other medical professionals agree.[63]


Congressional and Senate Investigations


James C. Greenwood, Chairman of the U.S. Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, as part of a Congressional Investigation, has sent letters to Antidepressant manufacturers such as Eli Lilly, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer Inc. regarding the safety of Antidepressants in children.  This investigation came about because of reports from the Washington Post that "makers of popular Antidepressants such as Paxil, Zoloft and Effexor have refused to disclose the details of most clinical trials involving depressed children, denying doctors and parents crucial evidence as they weigh fresh fears that such medicines may cause some children to become suicidal."


The Washington Post also notes that “researchers familiar with the unpublished data said the majority of these unpublished trials show that children taking the medicines did not get any better than children taking dummy pills.”  The FDA is demanding that these companies identify any unpublished studies. [64] [65]


Currently there are 2 Congressional and 1 Senate investigations on the FDA and their questionable involvement with Antidepressant Pharmaceutical Manufacturers.


Now What?


We have documented a lot of information showing just how dangerous Antidepressants can be.  Despite what some doctor’s say about the safety and efficacy of Antidepressants, are you willing to take the risk involved?  Some people have been on Antidepressants for years and have reported no drastic side effects, but that doesn’t mean they are immune to the possible dangers.


Because we are not medical doctors we cannot tell you to get off of your Antidepressants, that is a decision you must make on your own.


“WARNING: IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT A GRADUAL TAPERING OFF OF MEDICATIONS IS SAFEST WITHDRAWAL METHOD TO AVOID SERIOUS WITHDRAWAL EFFECTS (Often there is the terrible withdrawal associated with the SSRIs. Unless patients are warned to come very slowly off these drugs by shaving minuscule amounts off their pills each day, as opposed to cutting them in half or taking a pill every other day, they can go into terrible withdrawal which is generally delayed several months. This withdrawal includes bouts of overwhelming depression, terrible insomnia and fatigue, and can include life-threatening physical effects, psychosis, or violent outbursts.)”


Dr. Ann Blake Tracy has helped many people safely come off their Antidepressants, and also has a CD available called Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant! in which she discusses the safe withdrawal process.  Visit her site www.drugawareness.org to found out more. [66]


There is a safer way to treat depression and other illnesses, one that doesn’t involve medication.


How to treat depression, without Antidepressants!


Mike Adams of News Target Network is a Nutrition Expert and has some good advice on how to treat depression:


“The fact is that Antidepressants are dangerous drugs. They cause an increase in suicides and violent behavior among users. People who suffer from clinical depression don't need medication, what they need is to enhance their own brain chemistry in three simple ways: 1) physical exercise (it produces ‘happy’ chemicals in the brain). 2) Nutrition and diet -- depression is often a result of nutritional deficiencies. And 3) Natural sunlight. Sunlight is good medicine and good nutrition (see related ebook on nutrition). It makes people happy, and it actually alters brain chemistry to accomplish this.”


“With the combination of physical fitness, good nutrition and natural sunlight, perhaps 99% of all cases of depression could be alleviated. People would be happier, healthier and free of dangerous prescription drugs. And fewer people would commit suicide. So why don't doctors recommend these three simple steps? Well, of course, there's no money to be made if people aren’t hooked on a lifetime of mind-altering drugs.” [67]


Health & Wellness Services at Salt Lake Community College in Utah has a variety of pamphlets available that discuss the treatment of disorders such as: depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder (manic depression) and panic attacks.  However, we were disappointed to find that their most valuable information regarding treatment of depression was stored away in a drawer.


This hidden document entitled What You Can Do To Treat Your Depression outlines 14 important steps that are not only vital in treating depression, but also discuss the importance of fixing or resolving the problem that caused the depression in the first place. We will present some of those below.

What Alternatives are there to Antidepressants?

The best way to prevent and treat depression and other disorders is with a healthy lifestyle.  Here are some things you can do that have been proven to work:

(For more details, about these alternatives,  see document: "What You Can Do To Treat Your Depression" – SLCC Health & Wellness Services)

  To see all sources, click here.


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