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Vitamin Supplements Essay, Research Paper

A Debate Over Prozac and St. John?s Wort

Prescriptions for numerous anti-depressants drugs are at an all time high especially in the United States. Due to the increasing number of people with mental illnesses such as depression, many vitamins and prescriptions have been discovered to hopefully alleviate this problem. One of the most recent discoveries is a prescription called Prozac, and a vitamin called St. John?s Wort. Due to these recent discoveries a debate has occurred over the effectiveness of each, especially pertaining to their horrific side effects. The holistic and the medical community are bashing heads for many doctors are hoping to rid St. John?s Wort from the market. The holistic community fears the adverse side effects of Prozac can cause damage to the human body. As a conscious consumer I have to agree with the medical community, since St. John?s Wort lacks research, and has numerous side effects associated with it, which can be fatal.

The side effects associated with Prozac can include: severe nausea, bloody urine, liver damage, confusion, tremors, hallucinations, convulsions, skin rashes, agitation, and insomnia. Even though Prozac has many adverse effects it does help many suffers from depression and other diseases. Prozac also known has Fluoxetine, has been used to treat depression for numerous years. Many doctors believe that depression is caused by the imbalance of chemical messengers and Prozac inhibits the release of them (Neary 360). The Food and Drug Administration has approved Prozac for treatment of bulimia and for obsessive-compulsive disorders (Rose 1246). It is occasionally used for the treatment of panic disorders and more infrequently for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (Rose 1245). It has also recently been identified as a useful treatment for PMS (Neary 362).

If diagnosed with depression, Prozac can begin to improve symptoms within one to two weeks of treatment. It may take four weeks or longer to experience the full benefits (Neary 356). The recommended length of treatment with an antidepressant is 6 to 12 months, because the long-term goal is to keep depression from reoccurring once again (Neary 356). A doctor would be the best to determine the appropriate length of time.

Despite numerous studies supporting Prozac, many people believe Prozac is not effective because of its many side effects. Many of the opposers to Prozac claim that St. John?s Wort is a better method and more reliable. Europeans have utilized St. John Wort for generations. Supporters of this vitamin, use this as part of their safety standard. This non-prescriptive vitamin is available to all who wish to purchase it. Those who purchase St. John Wort find this availability very convenient compared to the hassle a prescription such as Prozac can be.

Unconventional treatments such as St. John?s Wort have little or no scientific basis. There are no standardized references and most of the herbal formulation have not been analyzed, are not uniform, and have not been quality controlled (Rose 1245). One bottle may have different contents than the next, causing vitamin therapy to be dangerous due to the fact that not all plants have the same contents, and different manufactures contribute different amounts (Cupp 1239). Vitamins are not considered to be medicine therefore they do not have to undergo regular inspections like other drugs do. Since vitamins do not have to be regulated the consumer is unaware of the side effects.

For instance St. John Wort has the tendency to cause headaches, stiff necks, nausea, and vomiting (Rose 1240). If taken with other many other substances such as amino acids, tryptophan and tyrosine, amphetamines, asthma inhalants, beer, coffee, wine, chocolate, fava beans, salami, smoked, pickled food, yogurt, cold or hay fever medicines, diet pills, narcotics, nasal decongestants it can cause seizures and high blood pressure (Jayasuriya 13). If St. John?s Wort is used for an extended period of time it can cause sensitivity to light especially fair skinned people (Jayasuriya 18).

Prozac is a prescribed drug authorized by a doctor. Doctors are very intelligent people and would not offer something to a patient if they thought it was going to hurt them. A doctor will examine a patient very carefully before they even consider offering this prescription. Prozac is used more frequently than any other drug for depression because of its amazing ability and high success rate to help heal a sick person (Rose 1242). Since this drug is regulated it also goes through a long a critical process by the Food and Drug Administration (Rose 1246). The Food and Drug Administration would not approve Prozac if there were any uncontrollable dangers associated with it.

Both of these methods of treating mental illness can cause danger to the human body. However, Prozac is a regulated, doctor prescribed drug. The side effects of Prozac are known and monitored by a trained professional, unlike St. John?s Wort. The old saying ?better safe than sorry? applies to this debate. When consumers stop to acquire St. John?s Wort in hope s of its potential to heal them, one should question it. Not only for safety measures but also someone may be swindled from their money. As consumers nothing infuriates us more than that feeling of being taken advantage of. Doctor?s concerns are in the best interest of their patients, how does one know what is really in St. John?s Wort.

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