2005N-0354 Consumer-Directed Promotion of Regulated Medical Products; Part 15 Public Hearing
FDA Comment Number : EC214
Submitter : Ms. Laurie Brewer Date & Time: 12/07/2005 06:12:12
Organization : Ms. Laurie Brewer
Category : Individual Consumer
Issue Areas/Comments
Please ban false advertising by drugs companies that sell SSRIs such as Prozac, Paxil and Lexapro. They claim that their drugs correct chemical imbalances in the brain and yet there is no scientific proof that this is true. It is not fair to consumers to scare them into thinking that they need these drugs in order to recover from depression and that they cannot get better without them. Tinkering with someone brain chemistry is not benign. I have talked to many people who have had bad experiences with these drugs. Someone I know said he wished he had never taken Prozac because it caused him to feel much worse. Once they decide to take these drugs they have extreme difficulty trying to get off them so they go right back on. One woman when trying to get off Paxil said she got so angry she had to go back on the drug. Another woman wanted to stop taking one of the SSRIs but when she tried to quit she felt worse than she had ever felt in her life and wanted to commit suicide so she went back on the drug. Many people I have talked to said that taking SSRI's caused them to gain weight. One woman became obese after taking an SSRI.

I have never met anyone who was actually cured from depression by taking drugs. What happens is that they become drug dependent and there are many reasons they want to stop but cannot.

False advertising for psychiatric drugs should be a crime. People should be told the truth about these drugs and not pressured into taking them. They should be informed of alternatives such as couseling, cognitive therapy, exercise, healthy diet, getting enough sunlight, full spectrum light therapy, support groups etc. They need to be living a healthy life style and to be taught ways of coping with stress, finding meaning in their lives and creating mutually supportive relationships. The true causes of anxiety and depression should be addressed such as economic problems, difficult relationships, over work, unemployment, death of a loved one, etc. Taking a drug does not address the cause of depression or help people cope with these life issues.

Is it fair to convince people they need these drugs by pressure and false claims that they have a brain chemistry imbalance and cannot get better without the drugs when in fact there is no proof that this is true?

How would you like to be given false information when you are in distress in order to get you to take drugs and then find yourself chained to them for life because it is too difficult to stop?

The drug companies should not have such power over people's lives, minds and health choices. Their motivation is to make money and get as many people to take their drugs as possible. They have no concern about telling the truth or about the people who lives they impact negatively. All they care about is making money. They don't care at whose expense they are making it.

They must be reigned in by the legislature and the public. Doctors should demand the right to accurate information about drugs they prescribe. There is nothing more important than honesty and ethics in health care. When mistakes are made on a car, for example, it may be expensive but when they are made on human beings and their brains that is much more damaging. If automobiles should be safe then so should health care. People's lives and brains are more important than machines and more important than the profits of drug companies.