|The making of a miracle cure? - The history of prozac.|
By Mary Bellis
In researching the history behind Prozac I ran across something not found with any other invention: a sentiment expressed by several independent sources that went something like this, "I want to kiss the person who invented Prozac!" We might all depend on the light bulb more, but we never hear anyone talk about kissing Edison. Maybe the reason for the fondness for Prozac lies behind the nature of this invention.
Prozac is the registered trademarked name for fluoxetine hydrochloride and the world's most widely prescribed antidepressant to-date, the first product in a major new class of drugs for depression called selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. Prozac was first introduced to the US market in January 1988. It took two years for Prozac to gain its 'most prescribed' status.
Prozac works by increasing brain levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is thought to influence sleep, appetite, aggression and mood. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that carry messages between nerve cells. They are secreted by one cell and picked up by receptor proteins on the surface of another. Once the message has been delivered, a neurotransmitter is either destroyed or retrieved into the cell that made it. This process is known as re-uptake. When re-uptake is inhibited, the effect of the serotonin is amplified. It is not entirely known why increasing neurotransmitter levels will reduce the severity of a depression. It may be that increased levels of serotonin cause changes in the brain's concentration of neurotransmitter-binding receptors. This might make the brain physically more capable of feeling good.
The team of inventors behind Prozac was lead by Ray Fuller. Fuller was posthumously awarded the Pharmaceutical Discoverer's Award from Narsad for discovering fluoxetine or Prozac. Also awarded were Bryan Molloy and David Wong, both members of the Eli Lilly Company research team.
While many patients and medical personnel feel positively about Prozac, there are lawsuits and studies that make a case for caution. A list of pro and con opinions can be found among the list of resources provided at the end of this article, including information on alternative treatments for depression.
[Prozac's known side effects include nausea, diarrhea, insomnia and a lowered sex drive]
Other Eli Lilly Company Innovations
Eli Lilly's founder, Colonel Eli Lilly was the inventor of the gelatin capsule.
The product names appearing on this table are U.S. trademarks. Names may be different in other countries.
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