Understanding Drug Dependence



Sorry Rover, No Drug Detox for Misbehaving Dogs on Prozac

12/19/2007

As a pet owner living with an extended family composed of a dog, a cat, a bird, a fish and a couple of reptiles – as well as several excellent, well-trained humans – I was disgusted to read that the FDA approved a new tasty treat, called Reconcile, for troubled dogs. It contains the antidepressant drug fluoxetine – better known by its brand name, Prozac. Sure, it isn’t chemically addictive – it seldom requires drug rehab – but then, there’s no drug detox or rehab centers for dogs anyway.

Apparently the FDA, Big Pharma and the veterinarians of America think it’s okay for our dogs to experience the same horrendous withdrawal symptoms and side-effects that people have experienced on fluoxetine. But I think it’s obvious that Reconcile is Ely Lilly’s attempt to ‘reconcile’ the loss of billions of dollars since the patent on Prozac expired back in 2001, prompting a flood of generic fluoxetine drugs onto the market. Over 23 million prescriptions of generic fluoxetine were filled in the US last year alone – money that didn’t go into Lilly’s pockets.

Prozac is one of the dangerous selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of mood-altering drugs involved in countless court cases and class action suits that have cost Big Pharma billions of dollars in fines and settlements. They concern addictive prescription drugs that require drug detox and rehab, and others with fatal side effects. We know that business and the bottom line counts for more than sending thousands of people into drug detox or rehab, or early graves.

Lilly’s new doggy-Prozac is aimed at a slice of Big Pharma’s newest expanding market – our pets and their psychiatric disorders. Reconcile is supposed to treat a doggie ailment called “separation anxiety” – in other words, if your dog goes wacko when he’s left alone, stuff a Reconcile in its mouth. Give me a break! The animal needs an owner willing to establish who’s boss, not a drug pusher.

Fluoxetine isn’t conventionally addictive and doesn’t require drug rehab like OxyContin and other prescription painkillers, although a drug detox would be appropriate, but suddenly discontinuing Prozac can produce awful physical and mental withdrawal symptoms – patients describe ‘brain zaps’ and ‘fever jolts’ and other nasty symptoms that can last weeks or even months. Here Rover, come get your meds!

But that’s the least of its problems. Prozac has been implicated in dozens of suicides and acts of deadly aggression against others, including school shootings. Remember Joseph Wesbecker of Kentucky, who took some Prozac and went to work and opened fire with an assault rifle killing 8 people, injuring 12 others, and then turning the gun on himself? Are we going to see pet owners claiming that Reconcile caused Rover go nuts and kill a bunch of other dogs at the park, and then turn and bite himself to death?

But seriously, the tests conducted by Lilly’s new Elanco Animal Health Division on hundreds of dogs show that fluoxetine has a similarly horrendous list of side-effects on our canine friends as it does on people. Is this what we want our pets to go through because we’re too lazy or incompetent to be a dog owner?

But if, after weighing all the alternatives, you still think putting your dog on drugs is the solution, then you probably shouldn’t have a pet. Most dog experts will tell you, it’s usually a human’s bad habit that is causing the dog’s problem. Just ask The Dog Whisperer, or watch his television show.

The dog drug Reconcile is nothing more than an extension of the money-making drugging of America. And a drugged dog has no drug detox program or drug rehab program to go to for help – he only has you. Help him, don’t drug him.

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