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Book Review: Talking Back to Prozac

Talking Back to Prozac: What Doctors Won’t Tell You About Today’s Most Controversial Drug

One of the most controversial books in its time, it is also one of the most detailed analyses of how drug manufacturers gain FDA approval. In making such an analysis, the Breggins also indict the drug manufacturers and the whole drug approval process as inherently flawed, biased, and inadequate for protecting Americans from potentially-harmful new medications.

Some parts of this book are too detailed and can be boring to some readers (professionals especially, who may already have the necessary education and background to skip the sections about how the brain works).

But the large majority of the book is neither boring nor easy to put down, as the Breggins detail how Eli Lilly conducted its drug approval studies, analyze the resulting data themselves, and illustrate how Prozac, the popular antidepressant, did only barely better than a sugar pill (or placebo) in some of the studies used for FDA approval.

A reply to one-time popular Prozac book (Listening to Prozac by Peter Kramer), this book can sometimes go too far in drawing conclusions which the data neither support nor suggest.

One of the challenges of a book like this is that sometimes in an effort to make their point, the Breggins only include research that supports their point of view, leaving out contradictory research. That’s unfortunately, as it undermines their objectivity and makes it look like they’re biased.

I would suggest it as a must-read though, if you are taking Prozac or a similar SSRI for the treatment of depression, and especially if you have already read Listening to Prozac. In the context of the other book, it presents “the other side,” and in-between, I’d suggest, you will find a middle ground…

Yes, there are problems with our current drug approval system, but it still remains one of the more conservative and best such systems in the world. Available in both paperback and hardcover.

If you’re taking Prozac or any other of the newer antidepressant medications today, you should read this book just so you understand that there are many challenges in drug research and getting the Food and Drug Administration’s approval. Much has improved since this book was written, but research into the effectiveness of drugs remains biased and much more optimistic than real-world research shows after a drug has been approved.

Book Review: Talking Back to Prozac

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John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder & CEO of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues -- as well as the intersection of technology and human behavior -- since 1992. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member and treasurer of the Society for Participatory Medicine. He writes regularly and extensively on mental health concerns, the intersection of technology and psychology, and advocating for greater acceptance of the importance and value of mental health in today's society. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2016). Book Review: Talking Back to Prozac. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 10, 2019, from https://psychcentralreviews.com/2016/talking-back-to-prozac/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 17 May 2016
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 17 May 2016
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.