New medicines for depression

This information originally appeared in The Miami Herald

Two new medicines, Zoloft and Wellbutrin allow patients and doctors to tailor depression therapy to individual needs. Before Prozac, there were only 2 major categories of antidepressants and both had numerous side effects and took several weeks to work. Prozac eliminated side effects like sleepiness, constipation and weight gain.

Zoloft, manufactured by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals came on the market in late February. It eases the feelings of sadness and hopelessness but doesn't induce the nervousness, anxiety, or sleepiness found in 20% of Prozac users. So it may be good for patients whose depression is accompanied by anxiety. Wellbutrin may be another good choice. It is for the 2% of Prozac users and 15% of Zoloft users who experience impotence or other sexual problems with those drugs.

Zoloft, Prozac, and Wellbutrin cost in the $50 - $60 range for a month's supply. Other antidepressants, with different side effects, are in the pipeline. We'll keep you informed as they become available.

FDA approves panic disorder medicine

The FDA has approved the first medicine for the treatment of panic disorder. The medication is Xanax and is marketed by Upjohn. The medicine has been previously used to treat anxiety. It has been shown effective for both adults and children.

Caffeine No Good for Mentally Ill

Caffeine in large quantities, primarily coffee, has been shown to precipitate psychotic symptoms in the MI. Studies published in the 1/91 issue of Hospital & Community Psychiatry & the Fall 1991 edition of British Journal of Psychiatry both confirm this. It is felt that possibly chronic coffee consumption may interfere with the absorption & metabolism of medication. Some patients can tolerate large doses of coffee. Some are affected by a single cup. Napa State Hospital in California banned caffeinated soda & coffee in the psych wards & noticed a decrease in assaultive & destructive behavior. (Source: AMI of Santa Clara County, California Newsletter.)

This article was posted by D.J. Jaffe on behalf of the Alliance for the
Mentally Ill/Friends and Advocates of the Mentally Ill, a NYC Chapter of the
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. AMI/FAMI is located at 432 Park
Avenue South, NY NY 10016. Call (212) 684-3264 for more information. Your
support is appreciated.