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20 Feb 2003

Need advice re Fluoxetine
My GP gave me medication containing fluoxetine. (For on-going anxiety and possible depression, over a long period).
On the insert are listed numerous possible side-effects. I wondered if the Shrink or maybe users of this chemical can tell me more? I am wary of using stuff that can cause all kinds of side-effects. I have read before that the Shrink is not really for herbal or more "natural" meds, but at least they are relatively innocuous. Every insert I read, in any medication I use, always have this list of scary things that might happen to you ... Any comments before I flush it down the toilet?? Thanks!
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Yes, Estelle, relax. What I am against is the shamelessly dishonest and blatantly untrue advertising of many herbal and other remedies, which make wholly false claims, and are allowed to sell potentially dangerous products without any real attempt at control from the authorities, who seem to care so little for the nation's health.
NO medications are "natural" --- the word is an invention of salesmen to describe a product which has never ever occurred in nature, and/or has never been consumed by human beings or other animals in their natural state, and used for one reason only --- it helps to sell unnatural but highly profitable products, by suggesting (a) that these remedies are safe, which is often not the case, and (b) by suggesting that other medications such as ordinary medicines, are somehow unnatural and unsafe.
The second point these marketers take great care to hide, is that without any exceptions, such herbal remedies are dirty --- that is, they contain dozens or hundreds of different chemicals, many of which have had no testing t show that they're either safe or effective. Regular medicines do indeed have side-effects and occasional ill-ffects --- so does evry herbal and other "natural" product. So does water and sugar and flour. The difference is, that due to the enormous sloppiness of the law in this reard, the folks who sell you the "natural" remedies are NOT required to provide any insert that seriously tries to list all side-effects or ill-effects that have been reported, and they don't een have any proper mechanism for gathering information aout these effects.
So, where does that leave us ? If you want to take something that can be guaranteed not to have any possible ill-effects, that rules out every medicine known to man --- and also every remedy, herbal or "natural" yet known, either. Even water can cause problems, under certain circumstances. The need, surely, is to get risks into proportion.
Note that just this last week, in America, a young sportsman in his 20's died suddenly while training, of heat-stroke, and the cause appears to have been that he was taking a "natural" herbal supplement which is widely advertised and sold, with few or no precautions or warnings.
So, back to your Fluoxetine. Like all medicines, they are required to provide an insert listing all side-efects that have been reported. None of them are compulsory, and many are uncommon --- but the medical professions, unlike the ad agencies, believe that it is important for you to have this information available.
Th Fluoxetine should hav a substantial chance of being really helpful to you ( and, if it isn't, after a proper test, by taking it at the recommended dose for some weeks, you can stop it ), and a rather small hance of causing significantly troublesome side-effects. Believe me, if the sellers of the "natural" products were required to test their products as carefully and expensively ( funny, how their costs of brining a product to maket are so very much lower, but the prices aren't as low as they could be ) and i they were required to produce a package insert listing all possible side-effects --- it'd make much more scary reading.
Even counselling can have side-effects, but maybe that'd be a better choice to consider ?
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