Prozac - What is it?

Essay by zeitgeistCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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Prozac, what is it?

Prozac; you have seen it on television, read about it in the papers, heard about it at the office, but what is Prozac? Prozac is an anti-depressant in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) family. Prozac was first introduced in 1987 when the U.S Food and Drug Administration approved its release in the United States. The drug is commonly prescribed for treatment of depression but has also been used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bulimia nervosa.

Prozac, which bares the chemical name "fluoxetine hydrochloride," was the first selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor to be patented and released (Fig 1A). Since the launch of Prozac it has become the most widely prescribed anti-depressant, with over 38 million patients worldwide and $2.7 billion in sales annually. The Eli Lilly Company originally synthesized the drug in 1972. They then began conducting trials on patients in 1976. Eli Lilly then applied for the rights to sell the drug in the United States in 1983.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration granted their request for approval to sell Prozac in 1986, and the drug hit the market the following year (Swiatek).

Sales rose quickly after the release of Prozac and by 1989 sales had reached $350 million and had doubled by 1991 with over $750 million annually. By 1995 Prozac sales had reached their zenith at more than $2 billion annually, causing Prozac to become the world's third largest selling drug. However, in recent years sales have declined due to competition from newer SSRI anti-depressants, such as Zoloft, and a generic version of fluoxetine becoming available for purchase (Barondes).

Eli Lilly's patent for Prozac expired on August 2nd, 2001 allowing for a generic version of the drug to be released. Generic fluoxetine is identical to Prozac except it is not...