Archive Message - 1995

Since some of the materials which describe the $cientology cult could be considered to be copywritten materials, I have censored myself and The Skeptic Tank by deleting any and all possible text files which describes the cult's hidden mythologies. I have elected to quote just a bit of the questionable text according to the "Fair Use" legal findings afforded to those who report. - Fredric L. Rice, The Skeptic Tank, 09/Sep/95 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- From!!!!sun4nl!xs4all!!not-for-mail Mon Jul 17 09:52:08 1995 Path:!!!!sun4nl!xs4all!!not-for-mail From: nobody@REPLAY.COM (Anonymous) Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology Subject: Big Suprise Date: 17 Jul 1995 17:10:42 +0200 Organization: RePLaY aND CoMPaNY UnLimited Lines: 181 Sender: Message-ID: <3uduhi$> NNTP-Posting-Host: Content-Type: text Content-Length: 9168 XComm: Replay may or may not approve of the content of this posting XComm: Report misuse of this automated service to <postmaster@REPLAY.COM> The pill that's easy to swallow; 10,000,000 Americans still taking Prozac Wichita Eagle Thursday, July 13, 1995 By Bonnie Bing It's been called "the personality pill" and "the perfect drug," and it's been the subject of jokes and criticism. Prozac, the drug that hit the market in 1987, has been debated and widely distributed. And while the number of prescriptions is slowing, it's still a very popular drug. Ten million people in the United States and 5 million others worldwide are taking it. Is its popularity deserved? "It's not the miracle drug or the villain it's been portrayed to be," said Elsie Steelberg, a Wichita psychiatrist. "I've heard it described as the Valium of the '90s." Regardless of what you call it, Prozac seems to have a new use every week. It's not just for depression anymore. It's now being marketed by Eli Lilly and Co. for obsessive-compulsive disorder and for bulimia. It's being tested along with similar drugs to treat an expanding list of maladies such as panic disorder, social phobias, obsessive hair-pulling, autism, premenstrual syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and compulsive gambling. How can one little green-and-beige capsule do so much? Prozac was the first of a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Serotonin is a chemical thought to govern moods. It also is a neurotransmitter, which means it carries messages from one nerve cell in the brain to another across a space called a synapse. The serotonin leaves the sending nerve cell, enters the synapse, then either binds to the receptors on the receiving cell or is taken back up by the sending cell. SSRIs block the reuptake of the serotonin into the sending cell, boosting the concentration of serotonin in the synapses. This concentration increases the availability of serotonin at the critically important brain receptor sites, thought to result in normal nervous system transmission, and this results in a feeling of well-being. Prozac and the other SSRIs are highly specific in blocking the uptake only of serotonin and not other neurotransmitters; that's why they are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Obviously, then, it's an option for treating depression. Many people tie their depression to their weight problem. In a time when weight loss without pain or strain is at a premium, it's not surprising Lilly and Co. submitted a high-dosage version of Prozac to the Food and Drug Administration for approval in treating obesity. The company withdrew the request early this year, however, citing regulatory and financial considerations. But that doesn't mean Prozac is not considered helpful in weight loss. "There is a new use for Prozac the big thing that came out about three months ago using it with Ionamin or Pondimin. You use Prozac with one of these two, or even a combination of all three for weight loss," said Robert Bettis of Edmonds, Wash., a family practitioner who was in Wichita recently. Pondimin is the brand name for fenfluramine, an appetite suppressant that works on serotonin. Ionamin, along with Fastin, are brand names for phentermine, an appetite suppressant that works on dopamine, a brain chemical. Both drugs have been around since the 1970s. Bettis has a patient who took Prozac and Ionamine and lost 50 pounds in three months. "She lost the weight without making a big effort. She has struggled with her weight for years, and she said the pounds seemed to drop off," he said. "I'd say she was 70-80 pounds overweight." He said he has patients bringing him articles nearly every day with information on using the combination of drugs to lose weight. "Now, whether it would work for everyone, I don't know," he said, "but it appears that these combinations would work and be safe for weight loss." Bettis said he is prescribing Prozac for depression, but not as often as he did when it first came out. "I usually use Zoloft now, because first of all it's not as controversial due to media attention given to Prozac," he said. In the first years after Prozac entered the market in 1987, critics claimed that it was being over prescribed or used without careful consideration to each patient's needs. Then in November 1989, an attack against Prozac was launched by the Church of Scientology, with spokesmen alleging Prozac to be a "killer drug." Leading the attack was the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, which lobbied against the drug and as ammunition used an article published in February 1990 in the American Journal of Psychiatry. In the article, several Boston psychiatrists reported that after two to seven weeks on Prozac, six out of 172 high-risk mental patients who had not been responsive to other drugs became preoccupied with violent, obsessive, suicidal thought, and that two of them tried unsuccessfully to kill themselves. In his book "Prozac," physician Ronald R. Fieve explains, "Nothing about these cases was in the least extraordinary to psychiatrists who are familiar with and treat depression. Depressed people are often suicidal: it's a symptom of the disease. In addition, four of the six of those patients were taking other medications and in one case five other medications." But fans and naysayers agreed that because serotonin, the neurotransmitter Prozac specifically affects, may be linked with aggression, there was reason for concern. It was speculated that in a few instances Prozac might tip the balance in the wrong direction, toward violence and aggression. As of January 1994, 78 suits against Eli Lilly had been dismissed and 160 others filed with accusations ranging from charges that Prozac causes rashes to allegations that the drug led to violent, bizarre death. Presently, countless people in the medical field have found it useful, but overall, the number of prescriptions has decreased, some say because the cost is prohibitive. A month's worth of Prozac costs about $60 for a 20-milligram pill taken once a day. Financial considerations aside, when Prozac is taken, regardless of the reason, there may be side effects, especially nausea, but also headaches, drowsiness, loss of sexual desire, nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, diarrhea, dry mouth, sweating, tremor and rashes. But many patients on Prozac say they are happy to pay the price, both at the cash register and in terms of a short-term side effect. A 46-year-old Wichita businessman and artist says that after being on Prozac for 1 1/2 years he's a lot calmer than he's been in years. "After six months I noticed I had more good days and I could think through things easier because I wasn't so busy worrying about things," he said. "It helps level you out, and you look at every day as a level playing field." Does he plan to take Prozac forever? "I haven't thought about it that much," he said. "My days are good. I'm not messin' with it. I'm going to take it and keep my mouth shut." A 53-year-old Wichita woman says that since taking Prozac she can get through the day "without crying or having a temper tantrum. It makes me more focused. And if there is a task to do, I can attack it with a vengeance." She says her perspective has improved even though the difficult circumstances at her job haven't changed. "Things I thought were critical no longer seem like life and death. I don't know if it's changed my value system, but I think it has made me a kinder person," she said. "It even kind of helps control weight and I sleep like a baby. It hasn't bothered my sex life, either. I am more loving. My husband doesn't want me to get off it. I know I'll be on it until things at work change." With so much media exposure, Prozac quickly became a well-known drug and one that some people say they are embarrassed to disclose they're taking. Some say they were embarrassed to go to the doctor for depression in the first place. "I think depression has been tremendously under recognized by physicians and under treated also," Bettis said. "People who come in and say they're feeling down have usually suffered for years before they ever go to the doctor. Some of these people can turn their lives around in a short time with medication." Bettis points out, as many other doctors have done, that some patients on Prozac feel better right away, simply because they have taken a step to get help with their depression. Some might feel better right away, but they're not always anxious to explain to friends and family why they feel better. "I think I was embarrassed when I first starting taking it because there were so many stories about how doctors were too liberal in prescribing it," said a 48-year-old Wichita woman. "It took almost two months before I could tell a difference and longer than that before I told people I was taking it." Headaches were a side effect before her dosage was cut back. After a year she's cutting back again, to taking Prozac every other day. She's clearly among the fans of Prozac. "I love it for helping me see how good life can be," she said. "I don't think I could have gotten to this place with any amount of counseling."


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