Prozac: Pro and Con
The antidepressant naysayers also point to a small body of research that,
they say, shows that the benefits patients experience on antidepressants are no
greater than those they might get taking a placebo or through other kinds of
therapy. That is hogwash. About 60% to 70% of studies show that antidepressants
outperform placebos in reducing and managing depression. The
likelihood of such a result happening by "accident" is remote.
Do antidepressant side effects exist? Of course they do, and they must be
taken seriously. Do some physicians prescribe antidepressants without careful
diagnosis and evaluation of the patient's condition? Unfortunately, that is
also true. Yet this carelessness is not a common occurrence, and it is better
remedied by ongoing education of physicians.
A book that discussed responsible use of antidepressants wouldn't be a
danger -- it would be a public service. But something called Prozac
Precautions wouldn't fly off the shelves as Prozac Backlash has. At
what cost? I, for one, am deeply concerned that as a result of this overhyped
book, people with serious depression may forgo the treatment they desperately
Frederic Quitkin, MD, is a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia
University College of Physicians and Surgeons and director of the Depression
Evaluation Service of the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia
Presbyterian Medical Center.