Prozac Exploring the Myth

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Transcript of Prozac Exploring the Myth

  • 8/2/2019 Prozac Exploring the Myth


    16thApril2002Galileo LoLeggloCandidateNumber: 981272503


  • 8/2/2019 Prozac Exploring the Myth


    TABLE OF CONTENTSINTRODUCTION.................. Page12CFIAPTER1GENESIS FA WONDERDRUG...................... Page 4Serotonin........ Page 4TheBirthof Prolzac................. Page 5Prozac How does t work?.. Page07Prozac ptakeUninhibited.... ........................Page8Prozac nd heMedia ............ .,......................age 0CHAPTER2LISTENING O DR.KRAMER .....................age 5Functional utonomy............. ........................age 6Kindling......... Page .8InbomTemperament.............. Page2}Further Points Page?C}IAPTER3PROZAC ND THEETHICSOFENHANCEMENT.................. Page26Enhancements.Treatment..... ......................Page26DoMeansMatter?.... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Page30TheBusiness lympics........... ........................age 3CHAPTER4PROZAC,ALIENATION AND SOCIETY ....Page 6Alienation . Page39

    Conformity..... Page4CONCLUSION Page48BIBLIOGRAPHY ......................... Page 1

  • 8/2/2019 Prozac Exploring the Myth


    INTRODUCTIONThe subject surrounding 'mental illness' hasalways been of great interest to me.IAIhen I came to think about my dissertation, I knew that I wanted to writesomething within this area.I first heard about Prozac through some friends, whowere either taking the medication or whose parents were. I then read ElizabethWurtzel's bookr Prozac Naton. The book really got me thinking aboutantidepressants in general. I wanted to understand, firstly the biologicalunderpinnings which validated the prescription of medication for mentalconditions; secondly I wanted to get to grips with some of the problems thatcome about when our culture applies biological methods to something that is asintangible as the human mind. For these reasons decided that the subject ofProzacwould be interesting for my project.In my first chapter I decided that it would be_important to outline how Prozacwas discovered and how it is believed to work. Thesewould give me a basis orfurther discussion with regard to,theories of depression. also wanted tohighlight the widespread usage of the drug and the way it was portrayed in themedia, because wanted to place Prozac n a cultural context. I wanted to showthat Prozac's successwas controversial from its very beginning. During myresearch discovered a popular sciencebook, which had received high mediacoverage/written by Peter D. Kramer. When I read it I knew it would be centralto my own work. The book was entitled Lls ning to Proza|.

    ' See .12'See .10ff

  • 8/2/2019 Prozac Exploring the Myth


    My second chapter discusses some of the theories around depression and Prozacthat are found in the above-mentioned book. This is done in the hope of creatinga base from which my argument can develop. In this chapter I also begin tohighlight some of the problems that arise from the prescription of such amedication.The third chapter is a much more detailed exploration of the ethics that surroundhuman enhancement hrough biology in general,and of Prozac as a personalityenhancer n specific.Here I will explore the distinction between enhancementand treatment. There will also be a section that discusseswhether the meansused to enhanceoneselfare of importance. I will conclude the chapter with aninvestigation of fairness and social coercionwhen using Prozac as a personalityenhancer.In my final chapter I will be arguing that depressionand other forms of minor'mental' conditions are in fact reasonable esponses o our current culture andsociety,and that curing these diseases'is to misunderstand the causesof theseproblems. I will do this by discussing the concept of alienation, by looking atKarl Marx, Erich Fromm, R.D. Laing and an ethicist called Carl Elliot. I will alsodiscusshow modern society can be seen o pressure people into conforming toan ideal personalify style.

  • 8/2/2019 Prozac Exploring the Myth




    In this first chapter I will be exploring the birth of Ptozac from its discovery tothe subsequentmedia explosion. will begin by looking briefly at how serotoninand neurotransmitters are affected by Prozac. I will continue by a briefhistoriography of Prozac's discovery. Once I have placed Prozac into context Iwill look at the media's iniuence in its popularisation and the backlash thatconsequential ly appeared. This is will provide a good place where to begin aproper analysis of Prozac in the context of culture, society and ethics.SerotoninThe Prozac story can be said to have.begun with the discovery of serotonin.Serotonin or 5HT, its chemical name, was first identified in the 1940's. ts role ofregulating the tone of blood vessels nterested scientists and for this reason it wasnamed sero-tonin, 'sero' refers to blood and 'tonin' to its toning effects.However,it was not unfil the mid 1950's hat Serotonin was discovered in the brain. Thefirst hint of serotonin's usefulness n psychopharmacology came about whenfohn Gaddum, a scientist at Edinburglu speculated o a group of researchers hat"It is possible that the S-HT [serotonin] in our brains plays an essential ole inkeeping us sane."3This suggested to psychopharmacologists that if serotoninkept us sane, ncreasingserotonin in the brain might help in countering mentalilliesses.-It was not until the end of the 1.950'shat a Swedish scientist began toI Gaddum,J.H.; DrugsAntagonistic o 5Hydroxytry?tomin';Wolstenholme, al (eds,)CibaFoundation wnposium n H!'Dertension;Churchiu, ondon.1954\.177: uotedn Shorter. .:A Historvof Psvchiatrv;[ohnWilev& Sons, hich ster.199V:o.320-321.

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    map out the brain pathways containing serotonin. In the early 1960's t wasaccidentally discovered that drugs which raised serotonin easeddepression.

    Serotonin is just one of thousands of chemicals found in the brain. What isspecial about this chemical s that it was found to be a neurotransmitter. 5HT isnot unique as scientists have discovered "l00 or more substances that] havebeen identified that control neurotransmission, and many of them areneurotransmitters."a Neurotransmitters are found in the synapse, this is the gapbetween neurones down which electrical impulses pass. Neurotransmitters -which have been compared to messengersof the brain - are released in thesynapses,passing on a seriesof 'messages'to next neurone which fires off thenext impulse, and so on and so forth.5 Neurotransmitters can be viewed as themost basic necessityfor the brain to function, different neurotransmitters aresecretedand thereforedifferent kinds of messages re passedon for all brain andultimately human functions.6The Birth of ProzacIn the 60's amongst the walls of Eli Lilly?, the main stage for our drama. Oneresearcher,Dr. Fuller, had been testing drugs, using a very new and effectivemethod, to see how these drugs affected the serotonin pathways.s Fullersuggested to a colleague, Brian Molloy, that because of this method the time wasright to research brain chemistry. Molloy began a series of tests on possiblea Breggio P.R. & Breggin G.R.;Talking Back To Prozac; (St.Martin's Paperbacks,New York, 1995);p.2O-U' see Dra.pp. zt-u6SeeWolpert,L.;MaligrnntSadness-theanatomyofdePression:(faberandfaber,Londo,2001);P106-707TProzacwas discovered, slmthesized and paienied by Eli Lilly. It is one of the big pharrnaceuticalcomDarues.8Thse are the neurones affected by serotonin.


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    antidepressants hat did not have as many side effects as previous medicatione,making them quite undesirable for patientslo.

    1971- anbe said to be the next big event in the making o Prozac. Firstly, Fuller,by now Eli Lilly's senior pharmacologist, had started to push the idea thatserotonin could be useful in combating depression.DesPitesome reservationsthe company gave in to Fuller's proposal, and as Shorter suggests:"Fuller, inalliance with Lilly biochemist David Wong, carried the day inside the company.Lilly organised a serotonin depression eam."rl The last piece in the jigsaw ofProzac came at a lecture in the sameyear, in which Molloy and Wong met andbegan a collaboration as part of the serotonin depression eam. The lecture wasgiven by Nobel Prize winner Solomon Snyder, perhaps one of the greatestmindsin biological psychiatry. The subject was neurotransmission. Snyder haddeveloped a method that could test how much of a neurotransmitter nerveendings would absorb after having been treatedwith a potential antidepressant,this he called the synaptosome test.This method caught Wong's interept, and he went about in testing Molloy'scompormds, using the synaptosometest.Wong discovered that thesewere in factpotent norepinephrine blockers, ust like the majority of antidepressantson themarket. Wong also noticed that Snyder's synaptosome reacted differently tocompounds that had a very similar structure. So, Wong decided to test thosecompounds which he thought might block the uptake of serotonin. Wong testedover two hundred and fifty compounds and one of them, "LilIy 8281'6" seemedto be the most selective in the inhibition of the re-uptake of serotonin, thiseHeart palpitations,, urine letention, and drymessof mouth.roseesection on how Prozac worksI'Shorter,E.; op. cit.;p.322

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    compound is chemicallyknown as luoxetine oxalate.Compound 82816was thentried out on Fuller's test and once again it appeared to block the up take ofserotonin and little else. It later appeared easier to work with a differentcompound "Lilly 110140".In L974 Wong and Molloy publicly announcedcompound LL0140 o be a selectiveserotoninre-uptake inh