5/01/2001 – World Health Organization – SSRI Addiction

“A league table of withdrawal and dependency side-effects, published by the
WHO, shows that drugs including Prozac and Seroxat [Paxil] have produced far
more complaints from patients than old-fashioned tranquillisers . . . SSRIs
(selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), including Prozac, are more
addictive than tranquillisers such as Valium.”

Yesterday, in several major newspapers Lilly placed full page ads offering a
coupon for a month of free Prozac. Do you think they warned the consumer in
those ads that these free pills were addictive? Because so few doctors are
aware of this withdrawal and do not know how to withdraw patients from SSRIs,
after the month on the “free” pills the patient would have to continue to
purchase the drug until they could find my tape on how to get off Prozac
safely.

If you had told me ten years ago, shortly after I began researching the SSRIs
and dealing with patients going through horrific withdrawal from Prozac, that
it would take TEN years for the World Health Organization to finally see what
I was seeing, I would not have believed it. It was so obvious! But I have
waited and waited and waited as I have warned and warned and warned of this
addiction and withdrawal and finally today we see the WHO admit it.

At least the WHO have warned the public now, but where is the FDA? Will they
finally at least admit this much about SSRIs? All of these organizations that
society thinks are there to protect them – where were they as millions
suffered needlessly? How many times do we need to see this repeated with one
drug after another before we realize that there is no protection to the
consumer via these agencies? Obviously “buyer beware” most definitely applies
in this arena of prescription drug use. This is why I feel it is so important
to educate the public about these drugs.

You can mark my words when I say that this is only one of MANY more
admissions that will continue to come confirming all the warnings that I gave
in my book about the SSRI antidepressants, Prozac: Panacea or Pandora?

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition For Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org and author of
Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? ()

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health/story.jsp?story=69366

01 May 2001
Home > News > UK > Health

World health watchdog warns of addiction risk for Prozac users

By Robert Mendick

29 April 2001

Prozac, billed for years as a harmless wonder drug, often creates more
problems than the depression it is supposed to be treating, warns the head of
the World Health Organisation’s unit monitoring drug side-effects.

Professor Ralph Edwards says Prozac and drugs similar to it are
overprescribed. A league table of withdrawal and dependency side-effects,
published by the WHO, shows that drugs including Prozac and Seroxat [Paxil]
have produced far more complaints from patients than old-fashioned
tranquillisers prescribed by doctors in the 1970s. Campaigners say this
proves that the drugs called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors),
including Prozac, are more addictive than tranquillisers such as Valium.

“SSRIs are probably over-used,” says Professor Edwards. “They are used for
relatively minor psychiatric problems, and the issue of dependence and
withdrawal has become much more serious. You risk creating a greater problem.
For serious psychiatric problems, it is worth the risk. But if you are just
tired or going through a bad patch, well, people get over that without
medication.”

A spokeswoman for Eli Lilly, makers of Prozac, accepted there are potential
side-effects including head-aches, dizziness, sleeplessness and nausea but
added: “The benefits of Prozac far outweigh the downsides. Extensive
scientific and medical experience has demonstrated that Prozac is a safe,
effective antidepressant that is well-tolerated by most patients.”

Prozac has been taken by an estimated 35 million people worldwide since its
launch a decade ago. But the reputation of SSRIs as wonder drugs is being
questioned. Research by Dr David Healy, at the University of Wales, appeared
to show that two people in a trial group of 20 became violent after taking an
SSRI.

Dr Healy’s research may be presented as evidence in a High Court case being
brought by the family of Reginald Payne, a retired teacher who was taking
Prozac when he killed his wife then jumped off a cliff. The family is suing
Eli Lilly, claiming negligence and saying the pharmaceutical firm failed to
warn Mr Payne of side-effects, which they say include suicidal and violent
behaviour.

The experiences of Ramo Kabbani on Prozac prompted her to set up the Prozac
Survivors Support Group. In two years, it has taken 2,000 calls. Ms Kabbani
claims SSRI withdrawal causes side-effects ranging from flu-like symptoms
such as dizziness and aching muscles to suicidal tendencies. She began taking
Prozac to combat depression after the death of her 27-year-old fiance from a
heart attack.

“The medication stopped me working through the feelings of grief which had
caused the depression.” she says. “When I came off Prozac I became
super-sensitive and very emotional. I found it worse going through withdrawal
than going through the depression.”

Council for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction 0151 949 0102; Prozac
Survivors Support Group 0161 682 3296.

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