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The Many Faces of Antidepressants

Antidepressants are likened to a kaleidoscope of different about selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) aspects. Millions in SSRI related treatments have been recorded worldwide due to the fact that depression is the world’s leading cause of disability. The SSRI family of antidepressant includes fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro) and fluvoxamine (Luvox). Their respective classifications vary according to the disorder each one cures but their main function is to boost the serotonin neurotransmitter in a person’s brain which reinforces happy and positive emotions.


The million dollar question remains: Does it work? Studies have shown that in cases of mild depression, antidepressants are no better than placebo pills. Efficacy of the drug varies from person to person in that aspect. However, in severe forms of depression such as panic disorder, major depressive disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder, SSRI medications have been found more successful as they are less inclined to respond to mere placebo pills. SSRIs are not the only renowned treatments for depression, most patients would also engage in psychiatric treatments that involve “talk” therapy. Around 74% of doctor consultations are attributed to depression and 2.3 billion SSRI drugs have been prescribed to this bracket of patients. Mostly affected by this mental and emotional disorder are women and children.


For women, special classes of depression, such as postpartum depression, premenstrual and menopausal syndrome, have been recurring. Countless of women, pregnant, single, married, young and old alike, have experienced depression which affected not only their personal and professional lives, but also the lives of their loved ones. The most crucial link that has been established runs between antidepressants, on one hand, and pregnant women or nursing mothers, on the other. Various researches show that infants born of mothers who had a history of using Zoloft or Paxil during pregnancy have had a higher chance of having birth defects. It has also been found out that Paxil may be conveyed to a neonate through Paxil intake while breastfeeding the newborn. Albeit a few percentage, some infants even developed persistent pulmonary hypertension.


For children and adolescents, studies show that depression has made its way to their generation even affecting innocent toddlers. Although SSRI is prescribed to children and adolescents, a close monitoring system has been advised to both parents and doctors. SSRI treatments such as Paxil have been producing emotional side effects to them such as suicidal thinking behavior, insomnia, increased irritability and other behavioral changes. As the case may be, SSRI use may cure the child or adolescent or may worsen his depression. Parents should be vigilant in detecting these symptoms upon prescription and should weigh the specific risks and benefits regarding the use of a particular antidepressant.


As was established in studies on the possible link of these side effects, more and more claimants have surfaced to assert their rights for compensation. A Paxil lawsuit, for example, is carried out against its manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, for allegedly causing a patient to commit suicide. Other injuries have been noted as well, like autism, bodily inflammation and schizophrenia.


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