“In my palm is a green and white capsule, slightly larger than a Tic Tac. Inside is a white powder containing 39 quintillion molecules of something called flouxetine hydrochloride. The drug is called Prozac” (Thomson-1). Prozac, arguably the most talked about drug of the 90’s, is quickly rising to the top of the antidepressant drug market. Due to the fact of Prozac’s successful results and with so few side effects, the drug is the leading prescribed anti-depressant on the market today.
It’s a “breakthrough drug,” according to Newsweek, and a “wonder drug” according to New Yorker magazine” (Doup-2). Prozac may be the best and most popular treatment of the decade for depression. Since Eli Lilly Company introduced the drug, it has become the top selling anti-depressant on the market. Doup says, “Prozac is worth taking than just feeling bad.” As an 18-year old teen tells the Washington Post, “You could say this little green and white capsule is about to ratchet up the voltage in my head. And in some way -- no one knows precisely how -- this will help me feel better. Happier. Without nameless anxiety, able to take pleasure in ordinary things. Sane”(2). Prozac has also been proven to help shyness and low self-esteem. A growing number of reports have medically proven that Prozac has “transformed personalities and turned a Casper into an individual riding the fast track to success” (Lifetime Health Center-2). Another benefit of Prozac is its selectivity, since it works only on one neurotransmitter, which is a substance that transmits nerve impulses across a synapse. “The theory is that because it manipulates only one chemical messenger” (2) the side effects are minimized.
Studies show Prozac has few problems. Early on, it was believed that the usage of Prozac led to violence, aggressive behavior or suicide. These allegations have never been proven to be true or documented in a formal investigation such as the case with Joseph Wesbecker. In 1989 Wesbecker went on a rampage at Standard Gravure where he fatally shot eight people and injured twelve before turning a gun on himself. After the shootings, lab test of Wesbecker’s blood revealed high levels of fluoxetine hydrochloride, the chemical name for Prozac Wesbecker’s psychiatrist had thought that Prozac would help his compulsive disorder. Later the “Jefferson County Coroner, Richard Greathouse raised questions that Prozac maybe a possible link to Wesbecker’s violent behavior, but a jury later determined that the anti-depressant had no link to Wesbecker’s rampage” (3).
So how do you know if you need Prozac? “A person, experiencing signs of depression (feeling “blue”) most everyday for at least two weeks, with appetite changes, sleep disturbances, loss of interest in usual activities, thoughts of death, and the inability to concentrate has several options.” (Aprile-4) Unless a person whose symptoms are severe or for long duration, a trip to the family doctor is a good first step. The physician may recommend Prozac for a treatment or suggest a psychotherapist to help the person get through the situation that may be contributing to the depression. Physicians tend to prescribe Prozac on the basis of its very few side effects, which is a degree of neuralgic stimulation that can lead to nervousness, agitation, or insomnia. People have also been known to lose weight on the drug, which is one of the reasons it is being studied to treat obesity. A typical course of treatment for a patient is 4-6 weeks. If the depression has stopped then the patient will then be weaned off the drug.