Letter: Proven record for Prozac

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Sir: The article "The brave new world comes one step closer" (12 September) quotes Professor Steven Rose as stating that there is no logical reason why the antidepressant Prozac is legal yet the rave drug ecstasy is illegal.

There is in fact one very good reason. Prozac has lived all its life in the scientific and clinical spotlight. Discovered in 1972, it was the subject of extensive research before being submitted to the UK and 90 other regulatory authorities who carefully assessed its effectiveness, safety and quality before licensing it as a prescription medicine for the treatment of very specific conditions. Prozac's effect on millions of patients has been monitored by health professionals, regulatory authorities and the manufacturers, and its value as a treatment for clinical depression, bulimia nervosa and obsessive compulsion disorder confirmed.

Ecstacy, on the other hand, languishes in a shadowy world of clubs, bars and back-street garages, its effects unmonitored, its safety unknown, and its quality unregulated.

The article asserts that "Prozac has been implicated in unusual behaviour" and cites a single case involving a man with a history of mental illness who ran amok and killed a number of colleagues. This incident occurred in the US, and in 1991 the American Food and Drug Administration called upon a panel of experts to examine whether there might be a link between Prozac and violent behaviour. That panel found no credible evidence of a causal link.

DEREK G ANTHONY

Manager of Corporate Affairs

Lilly Industries Limited

Basingstoke, Hampshire

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