Thursday, July 20, 2006

FDA Puts New Warning On Prozac And Other SSRIs

According to an article in Web MD, the FDA is warning us that taking certain migraine drugs with some types of antidepressants may create a life-threatening condition. The FDA's warning focuses on migraine medications called triptans when taken together with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or with serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

SSRIs and SNRIs are used to treat depression and mood disorders. SSRIs include Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, and Prozac. SNRIs include Cymbalta and Effexor.

"A life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome may occur when triptans are used together with an SSRI or a SNRI," states an FDA news release.

An interesting side-issue here is that the triptan drugs are related to the natural remedy once available at health food stores, tryptophan. The FDA seized upon a contaminated batch of tryptophan to ban it from the market. But the back story seems to be that tryptophan was hysterically opposed by Big Pharma, because of its reaction when used with Prozac and the other SSRIs. It is more than interesting to note that the cheap health food product was simply banned, while the proven incompatibility with the profitable triptan drugs was solved with warning labels. In the meantime, there have been many more deaths from suicide attributable to SSRIs than ever occurred from sickness caused by the batch of contaminated tryptophan.

The question I've always pondered is; why did they ban the trytophan instead of banning the SSRIs? That question is more-or-less rhetorical, but the injustice is nevertheless manifest. I support the free market economy and I don't like bashing big corporations just because they are successful and doing well. But in the case of the Big Pharma drug companies, there is a constant undertow of amoral and corrupt manipulation, as well as distribution of drugs that cause harm rather than help. Without batting an eye, Big Pharma seems to be focused primarily on its profits, and the welfare of the public be damned.

Serotonin syndrome occurs when the body has too much serotonin, a chemical found in the nervous system. Triptans, SSRIs, and SNRIs all raise serotonin levels. As with tryptophan, the higher seratonin levels caused by triptans are an aid to helping with migraine headaches, as well as insomnia.

No comments: