Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Medicine: evil drug companies redux

Eli Lilly has a new cash cow: Cymbalta (duloxetine). Lilly is still sore about losing its patent protection (and tons'o'cash) for Prozac back in 2001. This one, like Effexor, is a "dual reuptake" inhibitor, meaning it affects synaptic transmission of serotonin and norepinephrine. Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft are all selective reuptake inhibitors for serotonin. Does this make the drug better? Nobody has a clue why antidepressants work. I mean, there are accepted theories. But the direct links between physiology and perception of mood are shoddy as hell.

Here's a Cymbalta conspiracy theory website (take it for what it's worth) I found on Google. Some of this website's claims look pretty legitimate, some manipulative and pretty ignorant of medicine.

As a Paxil-user, I'll say this: the stuff saved my life. That might imply that some of my own problems have had a strong physiological component that was somewhat correctable through SSRI use. But who knows. The bottomline is, these are good drugs. The line right under the bottomline is, the industry that produces and distributes these drugs is also responsible for some serious exploitation of the mental health of human beings. And it's fairly disgusting.

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