Medicine: Warnings About a Miracle Drug

Reports of suicide attempts in Prozac users raise doubts about the popular antidepressant

A swift and sweeping popularity is often followed by a stinging backlash. That is as true for medical therapies as it is for hit TV series and fashionable restaurants. The latest example: Prozac, a drug taken to combat depression. Introduced in January 1988 and hailed as safer than competing medications, Prozac quickly surged to star status, thanks to skillful promotion by manufacturer Eli Lilly, glowing word of mouth among doctors and patients, and heavy media attention, including cover stories in Newsweek and New York. Sales are expected to top $700 million this year, making Prozac the leading antidepressant.

Now, though, Prozac...

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