Reading today's story: UK Minister orders fluoride to be added to water reminded us that some years ago we had a discussion here at SOTT about Prozac. Someone mentioned the technical name of the compound and it was noted that it was similar to Fluoride. So, several members of the group started looking at this issue and, yes, sure enough, the same poison that is being used to dumb us down in so many other ways, is being given to people as a prescription for any number of psychological problems. I guess that the Powers that Be figure if you are made stupid enough, you won't have brains enough to be depressed. This material was compiled for Signs of the Times by mgt and we have updated some of the old links. It's still shocking.
[Note: portions of this summary are drawn from a number of more extensive articles at fluoridealert.org]
A lot of attention has been brought forth in recent years by alternative medical researchers and others regarding the issue of fluorine compounds (the most common are fluorides) in drinking water, toothpaste, food and beverage products, household products like Teflon(TM), and as we recently learned, as a component in a number of pharmaceutical drugs as well.
Environmentalists have become increasingly concerned about the widespread effects of fluorides in air pollution, both in gaseous and particulate form. The leading causes of fluoride air pollution today include the manufacture of phosphates for fertilizer and other uses, the manufacture of insecticides, aluminum, plastics and many other products. In addition, in the past, the atomic weapons industry has contributed greatly to the overall levels of toxic fluoride pollution in many communities. These statements and more will be supported in the following article. The EPA, charged with protecting the environment (which I take to also mean the environment people live and work in) has long dragged their heels in addressing the fluoride pollution issues.
Part I - The Wishing Well
Since the days of WWII the Federal Government in the US has made a strong push to convince all communities to fluoridate their water, and they drafted assistance the US Department of Public Health and the American Dental Association in this effort. A push which, by the way, still continues today. Thomas Reeves, of the CDC, is a water engineer responsible for overseeing the US fluoridation program (as of May 2001).
Declassified documents obtained by by Joel Griffiths and Chris Bryson (1) appear to show that:
"Fluoride was the key chemical in atomic bomb production, according to the documents. Massive quantities of fluoride-- millions of tons-- were essential for the manufacture of bomb-grade uranium and plutonium for nuclear weapons throughout the Cold War. One of the most toxic chemicals known, fluoride rapidly emerged as the leading chemical health hazard of the U.S atomic bomb program--both for workers and for nearby communities, the documents reveal."They also showed that there was a clear conflict of interest between dealing with the high toxicity of the fluorine by products of production and the wish of the government to give a "clean bill of health to fluoridation projects as the following selection of quotes from "Waste-not#414" show:
" Much of the original proof that fluoride is safe for humans in low doses was generated by A-bomb program scientists, who had been secretly ordered to provide "evidence useful in litigation" against defense contractors for fluoride injury to citizens. The first lawsuits against the U.S. A-bomb program were not over radiation, but over fluoride damage, the documents show."So it seems the government and their contractors had (and still have) a strong fiscal incentive in "whitewashing" the whole fluoride story.
" Human studies were required. Bomb program researchers played a leading role in the design and implementation of the most extensive U.S. study of the health effects of fluoridating public drinking water--conducted in Newburgh, New York from 1945 to 1956. Then, in a classified operation code-named "Program F," they secretly gathered and analyzed blood and tissue samples from Newburgh citizens, with the cooperation of State Health Department personnel."
" The original secret version--obtained by these reporters--of a 1948 study published by Program F scientists in the Journal of the American Dental Association shows that evidence of adverse health effects from fluoride was censored by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) --considered the most powerful of Cold War agencies-- for reasons of national security."
" The bomb program's fluoride safety studies were conducted at the University of Rochester, site of one of the most notorious human radiation experiments of the Cold War, in which unsuspecting hospital patients were injected with toxic doses of radioactive plutonium. The fluoride studies were conducted with the same ethical mind-set, in which "national security" was paramount. "
" The U.S. government's conflict of interest--and its motive to prove fluoride "safe" -- has not until now been made clear to the general public in the furious debate over water fluoridation since the 1950's, nor to civilian researchers and health professionals, or journalists."
The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta still maintain that water fluoridation is safe and effective.
Thomas Reeves, CDC water engineer and the man currently responsible for overseeing the US fluoridation program made the following statements in a letter. (And I have to ask why is this a Federal program anyway? Wouldn't this logically be a personal choice or at least decided at the community level? The answer to this becomes clear further down.)
"All of the fluoride chemicals used in the U.S. for water fluoridation, sodium fluoride, sodium fluorosilicate, and fluorosilicic acid, are byproducts of the phosphate fertilizer industry. The manufacturing process produces two byproducts: (1) a solid, calcium sulfate (sheetrock, CaSo4); and (2) the gases, hydrofluoric acid (HF) and silicon terafluoride (SiF4). A simplified explanation of this manufacturing process follows: Apatite rock, a calcium mineral found in central Florida, is ground up and treated with sulfuric acid, producing phosphoric acid and the two byproducts, calcium sulfate and the two gas emissions. Those gases are captured by product recovery units (scrubbers) and condensed into 23% fluorosilicic acid. Sodium fluoride and sodium fluorosilicate are made from this acid."Here he reverts to what I call the "diversionary" argument, i.e.; he points out the toxicity of other chemicals such as chlorine as a defense for using fluorides. At no point does he actually address the toxicity of fluorine/fluorides per se except to just say it is "safe". I guess we are just supposed to take his word on that. [the full letter from Reeves can be read HERE]
"The question of toxicity, purity, and risk to humans from the addition of fluoride chemicals to the drinking water sometimes arises. Almost all of over 40 water treatment chemicals that may be used at the water plant are toxic to humans in their concentrated form; e.g., chlorine gas and the fluoride chemicals are no exception. Added to the drinking water in very small amounts, the fluoride chemicals dissociate virtually 100% into their various components (ions) and are very stable, safe, and non-toxic."
"It is an ill wind blows no good"
In 1944 a severe pollution accident occurred at the E.I. du Pont du Nemours Company chemical factory in Deepwater, New Jersey. This factory was then producing fluoride, in the millions of pounds, for the then Top-Secret Manhattan Project. It also appears they were processing free uranium there, but that was never an issue in this accident.
The farms directly downwind of this factory in two counties were adversely affected, causing blighted crops and "burned up peaches" as one farmer put it. Poultry died. Farmhand who ate the produce sickened quickly and "frequently vomited all night and into the next day" The horses were sick and too stiff to work and the cattle were so weak they had to graze crawling. The humans were reported to have an abnormally high fluoride content in their blood. This account was confirmed by Philip Sadtler of Sadtler Laboratories of Philadelphia, who had personally conducted the initial investigation into the incident. In 1946, after the wars end, the farmers filed the first ever lawsuit to come out of the Atom Bomb project:
From the Philadelphia Record, October 18, 1946
"First Atom Bomb Suit - for Ruined Peaches - Filed by Salem County Growers for $400,000This got the attention of the government swiftly. Manhattan Project chief Major General Leslie R.Groves convened secret meetings between U.S War Department, the Manhattan Project, the Food and Drug Administration, the Agriculture and Justice Departments, the U.S Army's Chemical Warfare Service and Edgewood Arsenal, the Bureau of Standards, and du Pont lawyers. Declassified documents reveal that they agreed to mobilize all resources necessary to effect a defeat of the farmers' claims.
A dozen orchard owners in Salem County (NJ) blamed the atomic bomb yesterday for their ruined 1944 peach crop. And - they're not fooling.
"For they filed suit in New Jersey Supreme Court for $400,000 to make good for their losses. Named in the suit - first of its kind- are three chemical manufacturers whose products went into the manufacture of atomic bombs. They are E.I. duPont de Nemours Company, which has a plant at Deepwater, Salem County; the Sun Oil Company and the General Chemical Company, both of Marcus Hook, Pa. The bill of complaint made no mention of the atomic bomb but attributed the damage to hydrogen fluoride and hydrofluoric acid."
27 August 1945Manhattan Project Lieutenant Colonel Cooper B. Rhodes wrote in a memo to General Groves: [these agencies] "are making scientific investigations to obtain evidence which may be used to protect the interest of the Government at the trial of the suits brought by owners of peach orchards in ... New Jersey,"
Subject: Investigation of Crop Damage at Lower Penns Neck, New Jersey
To: The Commanding General, Army Service Forces, Pentagon Building, Washington D.C.
"At the request of the Secretary of War the Department of Agriculture has agreed to cooperate in investigating complaints of crop damage attributed... to fumes from a plant operated in connection with the Manhattan Project."
Signed, L.R. Groves, Major General U.S.A
General Groves wrote "The Department of Justice is cooperating in the defense of these suits," to the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Atomic Energy, in a Feb. 28, 1946 memo.
So a few farmers apparently generated, in the words of Griffiths and Bryson, "a national-security emergency". Why? Because at this point the US was in full scale production of atomic weapons deemed essential to US post-war domination and leadership and the lawsuits were seen as a potential "roadblock". A favorable ruling for the farmers would set a precedent and potentially derail the whole program, dependant as it was, on the production of fluoride.
Griffiths and Bryson write:
"In a subsequent secret Manhattan project memo, a broader solution to the public relations problem was suggested by chief fluoride toxicologist Harold C. Hodge. He wrote to the Medical Section chief, Col. Warren: 'Would there be any use in making attempts to counteract the local fear of fluoride on the part of residents of Salem and Gloucester counties through lectures on F toxicology and perhaps the usefulness of F in tooth health?' Such lectures were indeed given, not only to New Jersey citizens but to the rest of the nation throughout the Cold War."This is the origin of the entire national water fluoridation project. Hodge's suggestion was brilliant, if somewhat Machiavellian, in that by creating a large "background" presence of fluorine compounds in the environment, esp. the water supply, any future claims of fluoride damage by civilians would be very hard to document and prove in court.
Evidence that the government was well aware of the toxicity problems associated with fluorides in any form dates to at least 1943. Here is a memo reporting on that discussion:
29 September 1943For more information about this meeting see HERE
SUBJECT: Report on Meeting of 31 August 1943 for discussion of Toxicology Program.
On 31 August a meeting was held to discuss the allocation of a portion of the experimental program involving the study of the toxicological effect of various special materials. Present at the meeting were: Dr. Col. Ruhoff, Major Hadlock, Lt. Sturgie (Special Materials), Dr. Wensel, Dr. Stone, Dr. Tannenbaum (Chicago Project), Dr. Hodge (Rochester Project), Dr. Warren, Major Friedell, Capt. (Medical Section).
It was decided that a conference on the toxicity of fluorine compounds should be held with the view to orienting those concerned with the specific problems which may arise. It was recommended that a program be arranged by the Public Health Service since some of their members have more exhaustive studies into the biological effects of fluorine and its compounds. The tentative arrangements met with approval of Lt. Col. Ruhoff, and it was contemplated that those companies actively engaged in the production of F, F2, and fluorides be invited. The meeting was also to be attended by representatives of the Manhattan District but their association with the District would be concealed by appropriate measures. . .
cc: Lt. Col. Ruhoff
Dr. R.S. Stone
Footnotes to Part 1
(1) Joel Griffiths is a medical writer in New York City, author of a book on radiation hazards and numerous articles for medical and popular publications. Joel can be contacted at 212-662-6695 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 212-662-6695 end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 212-662-6695 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
Chris Bryson holds a Masters degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and has worked for the British Broadcasting Corporation, The Manchester Guardian, The Christian Science Monitor and Public Television. Chris can be contacted at 212-665-3442.
Part 2 - Fluorides in Water Systems and Dentristry
Fluoridation of Municipal Water Supplies
France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Northern Ireland, Austria and the Czech Republic do NOT put fluorides in their water supply! If fluoridation is such a boon to mankind, why on earth would so many European nations refuse to do it? According to statements from these governments, the main reason is that they consider it unethical medication of persons without prior consent.
In the case of the Netherlands, their water was fluorinated until their Supreme Court threw it out. (June 22, 1973)
The Czech Republic said this:
"Since 1993, drinking water has not been treated with fluoride in public water supplies throughout the Czech Republic. Although fluoridation of drinking water has not actually been proscribed it is not under consideration because this form of supplementation is considered:According to data from the World Health Organization these countries have about the same level of tooth decay as the United States which is 60% fluoridated. In addition to the US, the UK, the former USSR and Australia do or did until recently use fluoridation. [LINK]
Uneconomical (only 0.54% of water suitable for drinking is used as such; the remainder is employed for hygiene etc. Furthermore, an increasing amount of consumers (particularly children) are using bottled water for drinking (underground water usually with fluor)
Unecological (environmental load by a foreign substance)
Unethical ("forced medication")
Toxicologically and physiologically debatable (fluoridation represents an untargeted form of supplementation which disregards actual individual intake and requirements and may lead to excessive health-threatening intake in certain population groups; [and] complexation of fluor in water into non biological active forms of fluor." (Dr. B. Havlik, Ministerstvo Zdravotnictvi Ceske Republiky, October 14, 1999).
A more extensive list of countries who do NOT fluoridate their water can be seen HERE
We have already seen why the United States and it's prime defense contractors and manufacturers such as DuPont) was so interested in this "forced medication" program and went to great lengths to promote and implement it. Now lets take a look at the consequences.
Fluorosis (over-fluoridation of teeth resulting in white spots later becoming brownish spots and extreme brittleness) is becoming an epidemic problem.
Vulnerable population segments include the elderly, people with diabetes, deficiencies of calcium, vitamin C, cardiovascular problems, kidney problems, underactive thyroids or those with hypersensitivity to fluoride.
Aluminum uptake to the brain has been shown to be facilitated by fluoride.
"Rats fed for one year with 1 ppm fluoride (either as sodium fluoride or aluminum fluoride) in doubly distilled and de-ionized water, were found to have increased levels of aluminum in their brain and amyloid deposits (11). Amyloid deposits in the brain are associated with Alzheimer's disease." [LINK]
In addition, other studies have suggested fluoride also facilitates aluminum uptake in bone tissue resulting in increased osteoporosis and other bone weaknesses causing proneness to fracture. The fact that kids nowadays seem to get broken bones much easier is surely no cooincidence.
Accumulation in bones, pineal gland and other tissues.
Suppression of normal thyroid function (may be useful in treating hyperthyroid condition). In fact the amount of fluoride ingested daily by most Americans is in excess of that used to treat hyperthyroidism. [LINK]
Hazardous Wastes - because all fluorides used for municipal treatment are derived from industrial waste (as stated above by Reeves, CDC), arsenic, lead and other highly toxic metals and compounds including radioactive isotopes can easily be brought along with it.
Fluorosilicic acid or sodium fluorosilicate (silicofluorides) are used in 90% of water treatment programs and A study published in the journal Neurotoxicology (27) found that blood lead levels in children were consistently and significantly higher in New York communities where silicofluorides were used to fluoridate the water [Link is dead]
Other studies have found an association between fluoride and Down's Syndrome [LINK]
This is just a sampling of the increasing number of findings about the health consequences of fluorides. For more information on this subject try these links:
Fluorides and the Dental Industry
The primary justification for fluoridation has always been that it prevents Caries in children's teeth. Let's take closer look at the history of dentistry and fluoridation.
According to Dr. Paul Connet, PHD, the very claims of dental benefit are dubious are best. He states:
"The benefits to teeth are questionable."From Part 1 above, we already know the real reasons these tests were set up to achieve the results they did.
3. The key initial studies which purported to show that fluoride was a benefit to teeth, conducted in Grand Rapids, Michigan (1945), Newburgh, New York (1945), Evanston, Illinois (1947), and Brantford, Ontario, Canada (1945), were of a very dubious scientific quality. This is fully and thoroughly documented by Dr. Philip Sutton in his book, "The Greatest Fraud: Fluoridation"
(1). While the science was dubious, the confidence of the US Public Health Service (PHS) was enormous. In April 1951, before any single fluoridation trial had been completed, the US Surgeon General, Leonard Scheele, was telling a Senate Subcommittee on Appropriations, "During the past year our studies progressed to the point where we could announce an unqualified endorsement of the fluoridation of the public water supplies as a mass procedure for reducing tooth decay by two thirds"
(2). Subsequent Surgeon Generals have continued to act as cheerleaders for this procedure. Their passionate promotion bears little relation to the quality of the science involved in fluoridation, either to its efficacy or to its safety. Another Surgeon General, Thomas Parran, stated, "I consider water fluoridation to be the greatest single advance in dental health made in our generation"
(3). Such an opinion sharply contrasts with that of former US EPA scientist, Dr. Robert Carton, who after he examined the evidence declared, "Fluoridation is a scientific fraud, probably the greatest fraud of the century"
(4). The early studies upon which the entire program was built are now shown to be seriously flawed. In fact there never was a truly scientific double-blind study done on fluoridation in those days! Dr. Connet is kind in his assessment that these scientists were simply over-enthusiastic in their efforts.
Dr. Connet goes on to talk about not only a lack of evident benefit, but actually severe tooth damage as the result of fluoridation:
Meanwhile, considerable evidence has accumulated that the state of children's permanent teeth in non-fluoridated communities, as measured by their DMFT (decayed, missing and filled teeth) values, is just as good as (if not better than) those in fluoridated communities. For example, in 1995 the teeth of the children in fluoridated Newburgh were again compared to those in still unfluoridated Kingston (this study started in 1945) and there was little difference in the DMFT values across the 7-14 years age range.There is not space here to go into the all the more recent studies and tests, which clearly implicate Fluorides in a whole host of dental, medical and mental problems. A search of the web will easily turn up hundreds of pages on these topics for those who will like to pursue it more.
If an average is taken the children in unfluoridated Kingston had slightly better DMFT values. However, there was one big difference: the average levels of dental fluorosis were about twice as high in fluoridated Newburgh as it was in unfluoridated Kingston (7). Dental fluorosis is a mottling of the teeth. In its mildest form it consists of white patches or streaks. As the severity increases the color of the patches changes from white to yellow, to orange and then to brown. In its severest form dental fluorosis results in loss of tooth enamel and extreme brittleness. The only known cause of dental fluorosis is exposure to fluoride and the rates are increasing.
The argument used by the pro-fluoride authors of the Newburgh-Kingston study is that the improvement in DMFTs in non-fluoridated Kingston is due to exposure to fluoride from other sources: fluoridated toothpaste, beverages and processed food. If we accept this argument at face value then it completely undermines the need to add fluoride to the drinking water since a better result (i.e. slightly better DMFTs and less dental fluorosis) was achieved in Kingston without fluoridation."
OK, we know the government and big industry did this to us to protect their pocketbooks. Why the dentists went along with it can only be speculated, but I suspect in the beginning there was considerable pressure put on the dentists by the agencies that regulate them, and of course they were presented with the same flawed studies that everyone else was. And dentists, like many doctors, frequently fail to continue their education after they have left medical/dental school. But there may be an ulterior motive as well - given the kind of damage fluorides produce in the teeth of a significant portion of the population, fluoridation may have actually resulted in more work and profits for dentists rather than the opposite which would be expected if the claims of fluoride benefits were actually true.
Despite the current awareness among the public that there may be serious problems with fluoridation, many dentists continue to promote and sell fluoride treatments (the same one who continue to promote and use mercury-amalgam fillings I would suppose, but that is for another article!). And the CDC and the government continue to promote and expand the fluoridation program. The EPA has carefully sidestepped the question and steadfastly refused to take any action, however, the union of scientists representing EPA research scientists has come out and demanded a moratorium on fluoridation until better study and analysis of the problem can be done. This should be a wakeup call to the public and to the communities still administering fluorides to their constituents.
Part 3 - Chemicals/Drugs containing Fluorine Compounds
HF (hydrogen fluoride or hydrofluoric acid)
Today hundreds of industrial and manufacturing processes use hydrofluoric acid, much of which escapes in gas form into the atmosphere as pollution. It is the 6th most emitted air pollutant in the US. Some of the suspected medical indications from exposure include the following:
· Cardiovascular or Blood Toxicant
· Developmental Toxicant
· Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant
· Musculoskeletal Toxicant
· Reproductive Toxicant
· Respiratory Toxicant
· Skin or Sense Organ Toxicant
Because fluorides assist in the uptake of aluminum, there is an extensive literature now available on musculoskeletal disease among aluminum workers. The main problem seems not to be the aluminum per se, but the presence of fluorides acting as a catalyst. [LINK]
Hydrogen Fluoride is used extensively in manufacturing phosphates, aluminum, steel mills, oil refineries, power plants, pesticides and plastics.
Hydrogen Fluoride in Pharmaceutical Drugs
Fluorides have been used in many prescription drugs including some of the SSRIDs or Seratonin-uptake Inhibitors such as Prozac(TM). The Fluoride Action Network has put up a list of currently common prescription drugs which contain Fluorine and can be seen here: http://www.fluoridealert.org/f-pharm.htm
From the Fluoride Action Network:
"Prozac" (Fluoxetine Hydrochloride)
The Danger of Taking Prozac
The Guardian September 4, 1999
Internal documents which appear to suggest Eli Lilly, manufacturer of Prozac, knew 20 years ago there could be a problem, may be relevant to the first British case concerning the drug, now heading for the courts.Book: Talking Back to Prozac Peter R. Breggin, M.D.
Reginald Payne, 63,a teacher from Wadebridge, Cornwall, suffocated his wife and threw himself off a cliff in March 1996. He had been taking Prozac for just 11 days. His family blames the drug and has issued court proceedings against the manufacturers.
The Eli Lilly papers, which chronicle the company's concerns over the restless state of mind of some patients during clinical trials, were produced during a case in Hawaii, the first of some 200 in the US alleging links between Prozac, violence and suicide, to have come to a verdict.
The case concerned a couple who retired to Hawaii from California in 1989. Finding it hard to adjust to the changes in his life, Bill Forsyth saw a doctor and was prescribed Prozac for a mixed depressive anxiety disorder. At first Mr. Forsyth said he felt marvelous, but within two days he was imploring his son and wife to get him into a psychiatric hospital. Soon after he returned home, he stabbed his wife June to death and impaled himself on a kitchen knife.
Evidence of violence
The family's lawyers argued in court that Eli Lilly had known for years that patients on Prozac, which was launched in 1988, could suddenly become akathisic - a strange, restless and agitated state of mind in which they can get compulsions to commit violence on other people and themselves.
The lawyers argued that Eli Lilly should be held responsible for failing to warn doctors that some patients might respond in this way and become a danger to others and themselves. Prozac is still a useful and appropriate drug for some patients, they say, but those who take it must be closely watched for the signs of akathisia in the first couple of weeks after beginning a course.
They cited internal minutes from the Prozac development team in August 1978 which ran: "There have been a fairly large number of reports of adverse reactions... Another depressed patient developed psychosis... Akathisia and restlessness were reported in some patients."
The authorities in Germany, considering Eli Lilly's application for a license in 1984, were concerned. "During the treatment with the preparation [Prozac], 16 suicide attempts were made, two of these with success. As patients with a risk of suicide were excluded from the studies, it is probable this high proportion can be attributed to an action of the preparation." Prozac now carries a warning in Germany of a risk of suicide. "Therefore for his/her own safety, the patient must be sufficiently observed until the antidepressive effect of Fluctin [Prozac] sets in." It adds that the patient may need an additional sedative in the meantime.
The Hawaii family lost its case, but their counsel, Andy Vickery, said they would be appealing on a number of grounds, one of which was the judge's refusal to allow the jury to be told of the German warning. He said: "I was shocked and disappointed to lose. In my final argument, I told the jury their verdict could save lives."
Graham Ross, a personal injury lawyer based in Neston, Wirrall, who has a number of cases of alleged Prozac-induced suicide on his books, said he takes issue with Eli Lilly because of its failure to warn of the risks to some, not by any means all, patients. "It is their refusal to accept that this is at all possible in any patient, and their insistence that it would have happened anyway that is dangerous and irresponsible, in my view. All we are asking them to do is be more frank in what they say to the medical profession in the first place."
Eli Lilly's spokesmen in the UK and in company headquarters in Indianapolis insist that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which licenses medicines in the US, and the Committee on the Safety of Medicines in the UK, had specifically cleared Prozac of inducing suicide in the early 1990s. "That is more important than an attorney's selective manipulation of data," said a US spokesman. "You have to take a look at the patient population. In people with depression there is probably a 15% suicide rate. There is no evidence that Prozac causes suicide."
But although depression is linked to suicide, the rates are highest among those who have been hospitalized, not among those coping in the community who may be prescribed Prozac by their GP and some of whom are anxious rather than depressed.
According to data presented by David Healy, director of the North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine and author of The Antidepressant Era, at the British Association for Psychopharmacology annual meeting in Harrogate in July, the only figures on rates of suicide among depressed people in the UK taking Prozac are six times higher than the probable suicide rates for community depression in the UK, which, he says, "strongly suggests that Prozac may indeed be inducing suicide."
Easing the pain
- Prozac is the world's most widely used brand-name antidepressant, prescribed to more than 38m people in 100 countries.
- It was the first of a new breed of anti-depressants called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) to be licensed. They are marketed as having fewer side-effects than older antidepressant drugs.
- It and the other SSRIs work on the assumption that depression is caused by low levels in the body of the chemical serotonin which promotes brain activity.
- Prozac, also known as fluoxetine, blocks the reabsorption of 5HT or serotonin so that an increased amount can stimulate brain cells.
- Prozac is also used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder and moderate to severe bulimia.
Prozac Backlash: Long-Term Consequences for Taking Antidepressants Are Virtually Unknown
ABC News April 10, 2000
By Kevin Newman
It is a rapidly growing dependency.Antidepressants linked to sexual side effects
Antidepressants have become the most widely used drugs in America today.
ABCNEWS recently completed a major survey of antidepressant use in America. It revealed that one out of every eight adults has taken a antidepressant in the past ten years and a staggering three-and-a-half billion doses of a new-generation of drugs, called SSRIís, were consumed in 1999 -- enough tiny pills to fill a two-story home. It gives new weight to the term Prozac Nation.
Pick any corner in America and you will find someone who says the antidepressants have helped. But no one knows exactly how. All scientists can say is that they boost a chemical in the brain associated with peace of mind. Now these drugs designed treat cases of acute depression seem to help with an ever-widening list of disorders.
"For obsessive-compulsive disorder, for panic disorder, for social phobia, for generalized anxiety, for bulimia," lists Dr. Eric Hollander of Mount Sinai Hospital. "And lately, for party-goers."
America, in short, is becoming very comfortable with seeking medication. So comfortable that our poll found almost half of Americans using antidepressants are staying on them longer than a year, which is a gamble.
"We don't know the exact magnitude or types of adverse long-term affects that could occur if you take these drugs for long periods of time," says Dr. Cynthia Mulrow of Health and Human Services. New Side Effects ObservedThatís because the original clinical trials for these drugs lasted between 6 and 12 weeks. They found relatively mild side effects, such as insomnia and nausea. Since then, doctors have noticed others. Withdrawal from the drugs is more severe than first believed, and in many patients, the pills diminish sex drive.
"I would say in this class of medicines, perhaps 20 percent of individuals may have sexual side effects," says Hollander, "so itís not insignificant."
Yet the drug companyís trials said it was insignificant, occurring in less than 1 percent of people. The trouble is no one can say for sure what is happening because long-term studies are rare and the government doesn't insist on them.
"There is no research conducted in this country on any large scale by people who are skeptical about the drug because they can't get any funding," says Peter Breggin, the author of Your Drug May Be Your Problem.
Drug companies pay for most studies, but only one we asked, Celexa, could point to a long-term safety study ó a small one European done in Europe. The rest provided other studies suggesting people stay on the drugs longer to avoid getting depressed again, even for life, in serious cases.
"We really need some data to look at multiyear effects to have a better way of assessing long term problems," says Allan Tassman, the president of the American Psychiatric Association. Our poll found 72 percent of patients using the drugs believed those long-term studies have been conducted. They are wrong. So in unprecedented numbers, Americans are growing reliant on a medication that seems to help, but whose long-term consequences are not really known.
CNN.com Health with WebMD February 9, 2000
By Stuart Shipko, M.D.
(WebMD/Healtheon) -- A new category of medication has revolutionized the treatment of depression during the past few years. Called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, this class of antidepressants includes such drugs as Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline).Note on Prozac: One impact of prozac which is of particular concern is it's impact on the thyroid. Eli Lilly, the company that produces Prozac, reports that hypothyroidism can result from taking prozac, although the company states that such cases are infrequent (see Manufacturer's Report listed above). According to
These medications have helped many people overcome feelings of depression and allowed them to get on with their lives. Thus, SSRIs have been rightfully dubbed a major advance in medicine. With simple once-a-day dosing and fewer side effects than older drugs, they've been embraced by physicians and patients alike -- so much so that some mental health experts complain that these "fashionable" drugs are sometimes given to people who don't really need them.
But even when SSRIs are prescribed to appropriate patients, they are not perfect. Recently, researchers have found that adverse sexual side effects may be much more common with these medicines than originally believed. So, if you're on an SSRI and you're suddenly having sex-life problems -- an inability to get aroused or difficulty reaching orgasm, for instance -- the medicine might be to blame. And it's time to talk to your doctor about it.
Old studies versus newer studies
Some of the first studies of the SSRIs found that adverse sexual side effects (such as orgasm problems) occur in less than 10 percent of patients, according to Dr. Lawrence Labbate, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston. But, he points out, those studies relied on unprompted reporting -- patients who spoke up during a doctor visit or called their doctor on the phone when they noticed the sexual problems. So the number of people experiencing such problems was underrepresented.
In more recent studies, doctors specifically asked patients about libido or orgasmic difficulties, and found that they are present in nearly half of patients on an SSRI. Labbate reported this finding in the October 1999 issue of Psychiatric Annals.
Depression or drugs to blame?
Exactly how these drugs interfere with sexual desire isn't known. And depression itself, long considered a common cause of sexual dysfunction, may play a role, doctors concede.
Many physicians fail to mention the potential side effect of diminished desire while on SSRIs to their patients. Perhaps this is because they are not aware of recent studies, don't want to scare patients or are simply short on time. Unfortunately, according to Dr. Richard Balon, professor of psychiatry at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit and recent guest editor of the October 1999 issue of Psychiatric Annals, many practitioners don't have the time to inform patients about all of the possible medication side effects.
Without being warned about the potential side effect of loss of sexual desire, a patient may have no idea that his or her sex-life problems could be related to the medicine they are taking.
What can be done?
On the brighter side, Labbate says, awareness is increasing among patients and physicians about the potential for sexual side effects while on SSRIs. And there are solutions, he adds. Stopping the medicine usually solves the sexual problem, but for safety this should only be done under a doctor's supervision. A physician who suspects SSRI-related sexual dysfunction may also consider lowering the dose, switching to a non-SSRI antidepressant or suggesting the patient take a drug holiday. For instance, a patient who hopes to have sex on Saturday evening would stop taking the drug a few days before, depending on how long the specific drug stays in the bloodstream, following his physician's instructions carefully.
How well these strategies work depends on the specific drug and the individual patient. Complicating the doctor's decision about what to do is the possibility that the depression itself might be causing the sexual problems. In addition, there is lack of agreement among doctors about how to best treat SSRI-related sexual dysfunction, because the problem is newly recognized.
But the bottom line, for anyone on an SSRI, is that no one should sacrifice sexual satisfaction for psychological health without first exploring what can be done. Hopefully, you can have both a good sex life and psychological well-being -- even if it requires effort, including some honest communication between you and your doctor.
Stuart Shipko, M.D., is a psychiatrist and neurologist in private practice in Pasadena, California. He subspecializes in panic and anxiety disorders, conditions commonly treated with SSRIs.Copyright 2000 WebMD/Healtheon. All rights reserved.
Henry Ford Health System, "The product information of Prozac reveals that infrequently Prozac may cause or worsen preexisting hypothyroidism. As hypothyroidism is known to cause depression, it is important to have your thyroid function checked." According to Mary Shomon, author of Living Well With Hypothyroidism, "Taking thyroid hormone replacement while taking the popular antidepressant sertraline -- brand name Zoloft -- can cause a decrease in the effectiveness of the thyroid hormone replacement, and make your TSH rise. This same effect has also been seen in patients receiving other selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors such as Paxil (paroxetine) and Prozac (fluoxetine). If you are on an antidepressant or thyroid hormone and your doctor wants to prescribe the other, be sure to discuss these issues."
Since hypothyroidism is a common cause of depression, there is concern that patients with hypothyroidism may be prescribed prozac to treat their depression, which could in turn make their hypothyroidism worse. "
Cipro - The controversial anthrax drug, Cipro is also a fluorinated drug.
At this point there is simply not enough research available on the use of fluorine compounds in drugs to justify such widespread use and distribution. Much more investigation is urgently needed.
The Journal of the International Society for Fluoride Research
The Fluoride Action Network