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Let Them Eat Prozac: The Unhealthy Relationship Between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Depression / Edition 1

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Overview

Prozac. Paxil. Zoloft. Turn on your television and you are likely to see a commercial for one of the many selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on the market. We hear a lot about them, but do we really understand how these drugs work and what risks are involved for anyone who uses them?

Let Them Eat Prozac explores the history of SSRIs—from their early development to their latest marketing campaigns—and the controversies that surround them. Initially, they seemed like wonder drugs for those with mild to moderate depression—patients take just one daily dose, and unlike the tranquilizers that were popular in the 1960s, they supposedly did not lead to addiction. When Prozac was released in the late 1980s, David Healy was among the psychiatrists who prescribed it. But he soon observed that some of these patients became agitated and even attempted suicide. Studies were soon published, citing numerous cases in which patients became anxious and reported increased suicidal thoughts while taking Prozac. Could the new wonder drug actually be making patients worse?

Healy draws on his own research and expertise to demonstrate the potential hazards associated with these drugs. He intersperses case histories with insider accounts of the research leading to the development and approval of SSRIs as a treatment for depression. Let Them Eat Prozac clearly demonstrates that the problems go much deeper than a disturbing side-effect of a particular drug. Current FDA regulations encourage drug companies to patent a specific compound and market it effectively to a large population on the basis of minimal effectiveness in a handful of trials.

The pharmaceutical industry would like us to believe that SSRIs can safely treat depression, anxiety, and a host of other mental problems. But as Let Them Eat Prozac reveals, this "cure" may be worse than the disease.

 

David Healy is a former secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology and author of over 120 articles and 12 books, including The Antidepressant Era and The Creation of Psychopharmacology.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Recent Food & Drug Administration hearings have explored links between antidepressant use and suicide. Expert testimony on the safety of these drugs conflicts, and pharmaceutical companies have been accused of covering up evidence of serious side effects. In his timely new book, psychiatrist Healy (Univ. of Wales Coll. of Medicine, U.K.; The Antidepressant Era) chronicles these very issues at length, drawing on his extensive experience in antidepressant studies and involvement in legal actions against drug manufacturers. (He was fired from a position at the University of Toronto for his outspokenness.) In effect, Healy is continuing the conversation started by Peter D. Kramer (Listening to Prozac) and Peter Breggin (Talking Back to Prozac; The Anti-Depressant Fact Book), both of whom are psychiatrists concerned with the way antidepressants are being marketed and what the current love affair with mood-altering drugs means in our culture. Healy has the advantage of access to internal pharmaceutical industry documents and makes a strong case. Somewhat academic in tone, his book includes extensive notes to relevant case law as well as medical literature. Recommended for larger public libraries and special collections in public policy, medicine, and public health.-Eris Weaver, Redwood Health Lib., Petaluma, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Physicians should be aware of Let Them Eat Prozac.”
-JAMA

,

“A compelling story about mystery, deception, death, disappointment, vindication, and uncertainty.”
-The American Psychological Association

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“Healy confirms his status as one longtime thorn in the side of big drug companies, recounting how he was initially enthusiastic about SSRIs but eventually grew concerned about their side effects.”
-Psychology Today

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“Stirring firsthand account of the SSRI wars. . . . Healy is a distinguished research and practicing psychiatrist, university professor, frequent expert witness, former secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology, and author of three books in the field. Instead of shrinking from commercial involvement, he has consulted for, run clinical trials for, and at times even testified for most of the major drug firms. But when he pressed for answers to awkward questions about side effects, he personally felt Big Pharma’s power to bring about a closing of ranks against troublemakers. That experience among others has left him well prepared to puncture any illusions about the companies' benevolence or scruples.”
-New York Review of Books

,

Let Them Eat Prozac is a double-pronged exploration, first of the SSRI drugs used to treat depression, and second of the drug industry.”
-Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814736975
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2006
  • Series: Medicine, Culture, and History Ser.
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 351
  • Sales rank: 987,659
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

David Healy is professor of psychiatry at Cardiff University and a former secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology. He is the author of over 120 articles and 12 books, including The Antidepressant Era and The Creation of Psychopharmacology.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface : under the thundercloud of a common experience
Introduction : before Prozac 1
1 Take one 40
2 Events in Kentucky 64
3 Down the barrel of a lawyer 87
4 Market force 103
5 A Pacific fault line 129
6 Kafka's castle 150
7 Experiment at the end of the millennium 174
8 The plots thicken 194
9 The tort wars 224
10 Let them eat Prozac 254
Epilogue : anecdotal deaths 274
Notes 289
Index 341
About the author 351
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