HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Falling in Love Again: Th...

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 05:52 AM

Falling in Love Again: The Truly Amazing History, Marketing, and Wide Legal Use of Today's Most

"Dangerous" Drugs
A brief history of psychoactive drugs.


In the fall of 1987, a story appeared in the business section ofThe New York Times about a new antidepressant drug, fluoxetine, which had passed certain key government tests for safety and was expected to hit the prescription drug market within months. Just this brief mention in the Times about the prospective appearance of the new, perkily named Prozac propelled Lilly shares from $10 to $104.25—the second-highest dollar gain of any stock that day. By 1989, Prozac was earning $350 million a year, more than had been spent on all other antidepressants together in 1987. And by 1990, Prozac was the country’s most prescribed antidepressant, with 650,000 prescriptions filled or renewed each month and annual sales topping $1 billion. By 1999, Prozac had earned Lilly $21 billion in sales, about 30 percent of its revenues.

Back in the 1970s, Prozac didn’t look so promising when Lilly, a company then known for producing antibiotics, began working on it. Serious depression—which warranted hospitalization, perhaps electroshock, or a gaggle of psychiatric medications, many with appalling side effects—was viewed as a debilitating but rare condition, thought to affect only 1 in 10,000 people. Less paralyzing depression symptoms were regarded mostly in psychodynamic terms, such as “depressive reactions” or “depressive neuroses.” After all, what relevance could a “chemical imbalance” possibly have for issues like “retroflected anger” or “oral introjection” or “identification with the lost object”?

Lilly had planned to market its new drug for hypertension or maybe anxiety, but fluoxetine just didn’t seem to work at lowering blood pressure, and the tranquilizer market had nose-dived after people had learned to their horror that Valium and Librium—“mother’s little helpers”—were turning perfectly respectable middle-class ladies into addicts. Lilly then tried using fluoxetine as an anti-obesity agent, but that didn’t work either. Nor did it relieve symptoms of psychotic depression: it actually made some people worse.

And then, according to psychopharm folklore—maybe because they had nobody left to try it on—they gave fluoxetine to five mildly or moderately (stories vary) depressed people, all of whom then felt much better. Bingo! Therein lie the origins of this little med with the zippy brand name, which set in motion a vast antidepressant empire, as well as the longest, most remunerative gravy train in psychopharmaceutical history. Prozac begat a dynasty of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) with their tongue-twisting generic and user-friendly brand names—fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), escitalopram (Lexapro), and so on. They, in turn, were followed by the “atypical antidepressants,” including bupropion (Wellbutrin), vanlafaxine (Cymbalta), and mirtzapine (Remerona). By 2008, 11 percent of Americans (25 percent of women in their 40s and 50s) were taking one of about four dozen brand-name antidepressants. These antidepressants were the most commonly prescribed medications in the country (now, in 2014, they’re a few percentage points behind antibiotics) and brought $12 billion a year to the pharmaceutical companies.


http://www.alternet.org/drugs/falling-love-again-truly-amazing-history-marketing-and-wide-legal-use-todays-most-dangerous

17 replies, 1407 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
Reply Falling in Love Again: The Truly Amazing History, Marketing, and Wide Legal Use of Today's Most (Original post)
madokie Aug 2014 OP
Gman Aug 2014 #1
WinkyDink Aug 2014 #3
L0oniX Aug 2014 #9
WinkyDink Aug 2014 #10
bemildred Aug 2014 #4
Gman Aug 2014 #12
DireStrike Aug 2014 #8
Gman Aug 2014 #11
DireStrike Aug 2014 #13
Gman Aug 2014 #15
easttexaslefty Aug 2014 #16
Octafish Aug 2014 #2
jeff47 Aug 2014 #5
madokie Aug 2014 #6
Brickbat Aug 2014 #14
easttexaslefty Aug 2014 #17
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2014 #7

Response to madokie (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 08:52 AM

1. They talk about over prescribing but

in the vast majority of cases it's a miracle drug.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gman (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 08:59 AM

3. For stockholders, apparently.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to WinkyDink (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 11:51 AM

9. I've come to the conclusion that CEO responsibility to stock holders is our enemy.

 

IMO it is the reason we have no good jobs and lots of unemployment.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to L0oniX (Reply #9)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 02:05 PM

10. ITA!! Which is why stocks rise in direct proportion to UNemployment.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gman (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 09:22 AM

4. MIraculously profitable. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bemildred (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 02:12 PM

12. That too.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gman (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 11:48 AM

8. Source for your claim?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DireStrike (Reply #8)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 02:11 PM

11. Many, many people I know.

It's a wonder drug. No argument there.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Gman (Reply #11)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 06:38 PM

13. I would like to take a moment to remind our viewers that anecdotal evidence is deeply flawed.

Allow me to demonstrate.

Everyone I know who has been on antidepressants thinks they do basically nothing (aside from the side- and withdrawal effects.) That includes myself, with over a decade logged on 4 or 5 different kinds. I've been off for a year and a half now and, after the withdrawal period ended, I'm not noticing any difference. At all.

So there is an argument.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DireStrike (Reply #13)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 07:03 PM

15. Sounds like you were misdiagnosed

or maybe the wrong meds were prescribed, although 4-5 is trying a lot. What does your doctor say? Often people will take themselves off anti-depression meds because they feel they don't need them because they feel good and not realizing the benefit of the drug. I'm not saying that's your case, just something to consider. I think friends and family around you have the most objective view of how well or not the drugs worked. They can tell you if you're better with the meds than you. I know that personally. My family knows I want the feedback. When they're hinting it might be a good idea to start back on them, I do.

Anecdotally speaking, your situation doesn't change the fact that a great many are helped by these drugs. I feel for you that you haven't yet found a solution. I hope they do soon.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DireStrike (Reply #13)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 08:13 PM

16. Idk.

When I found the one that worked for me, after much trial and error, I stopped trying to kill myself.
I guess you forgot to ask me.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madokie (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 08:57 AM

2. War ain't the only racket.

Big Pharma likes addiction - to money and other things.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madokie (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 10:04 AM

5. Gotta love it when people who aren't depressed tell us to just get over it. (nt)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to jeff47 (Reply #5)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 10:07 AM

6. Or the people who don't have anxiety

with panic attacks telling us to suck it up. Hold your breath and count to ten the man told me. I said you are an idiot and have no business in this profession and walked out. F* him and the horse he rode in on.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madokie (Reply #6)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 06:43 PM

14. I described a panic attack to a doctor (who was not my regular doctor) and he decided I was having

heart issues. I was in my late 20s, perfect health -- yeah, must be a heart issue.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to jeff47 (Reply #5)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 08:14 PM

17. No doubt. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madokie (Original post)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 11:31 AM

7. Great insight into how maladies were named/invented to market drugs.

I see no change in that game, right up to present day.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread