Product News and Recalls

Book takes critical look at antidepressant marketing

Scientific American recently reviewed the book “The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth,” which takes a critical look at antidepressants, and at the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and market them.

According to the review, Kirsch took a thorough look at all the data from experiments with antidepressants several years ago. He came to the conclusion that antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft work about as well as sugar pills given to patients as a placebo, and that drug companies withheld that information for many years.

The antidepressants Prozac and Zoloft are a type of medication classified as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Widely proclaimed as wonder drugs in the 1990s, SSRIs have been subject to a good deal of criticism recently both for their dubious effectiveness, and their potential side effects.

A number of studies have suggested that SSRI antidepressants are linked to potentially dangerous birth defects in babies born to women who take them while pregnant.

According to the review, Kirsch reports some unsavory practices on the part of pharmaceutical companies.

He writes that drug companies frequently manipulate scientific data by cherry-picking positive results and withholding negative findings from publication. He also alleges that they employ a practice called “salami slicing,” which involves publishing positive data multiple times.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with an SSRI lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries from SSRIs.

See the review here: