Twenty years ago, Prozac (fluoxetine) burst onto the antidepressant market, changing forever the way antidepressants would be prescribed, sold, and marketed. Not only did the marketing of Prozac open a new chapter in drug history (being the first SSRI FDA-approved, Eli Lilly marketed it in ways a drug had never before been marketed), it also enjoyed unprecedented positive press and even books (not only Peter Kramer’s 1994 book Listening to Prozac, but the even more compelling Talking Back to Prozac).
I remember when Prozac was first released, I was still in college and it wasn’t that big an interest to me until I entered grad school a few years later. When you have clients who are taking the new “wonder drug,” you can’t but help hear about it. Then the marketing was in full swing, some competitors were coming on the market, and all you heard about was the wonders of SSRIs (tastes great! less filling!). But what I was hearing from my clients wasn’t all wonderful — side effects were still there, and in many ways, these side effects were even more difficult to deal with. So instead of dealing with ‘dry mouth,’ people were dealing with having no sexual feelings or sex drive. Which increased relationship issues in some of them, which led, in some cases, to a feeling of hopelessness, that the person would never feel “normal.” Even more frustrating, this was before the sexual side effects of SSRIs was widely acknowledged and understood, so many dismissed these side effects as a symptom of the depression, not the antidepressant.
Mind Hacks has a full entry talking about Prozac, research, and where we are today with such antidepressants.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 May 2007
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2007). Prozac at 20. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 12, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2007/05/17/prozac-at-20/