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Drug experts say Prozac is not addictive

A claim that the anti-depressant drug, Prozac, could be addictive was rejected yesterday by the Government body that licenses drugs in Britain.

The Medicines Commission dismissed as "flawed" a report by Charles Medawar, director of Social Audit, claiming "overwhelming evidence" that Prozac and similar anti-depressants known as SSRIs (selective serotonin uptake inhibitors) caused problems of dependence as great as tranquillisers such as Valium.

Mr Medawar says doctors have been led to believe that withdrawal reactions are very rare and that they may be mistaking the psychic distress caused by drug withdrawal for relapse, in the same way that they did with benzodiazepines like Valium 25 years ago.

The commission said withdrawal reactions had been noted with the SSRIs but they were rare and not associated with other symptoms of dependence.