In the United States, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants are advertised directly to consumers. These highly successful direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) campaigns have largely revolved around the claim that SSRIs correct a chemical imbalance caused by a lack of serotonin. Research has demonstrated that class-wide SSRI advertising has expanded the size of the antidepressant market, and SSRIs are now among the best-selling drugs in medical practice – thanks to advertising, rather than to the fact that they actually work.
Although SSRIs are considered “antidepressants,” in America they are FDA-approved treatments for eight separate psychiatric diagnoses, ranging from social anxiety disorder to obsessive-compulsive disorder to premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Some consumer advertisements (such the Paxil Web site) promote the serotonin hypothesis, not just for depression, but also for some of these other diagnostic categories. Thus, for the serotonin hypothesis to be correct as currently presented, serotonin regulation would need to be the cause (and remedy) of each of these disorders.
So, just how likely is this, I wonder?
The incongruence between the scientiﬁc literature and the claims made in FDA-regulated SSRI advertisements is remarkable, and possibly unparalleled.
To find out more use the link here to take you to Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature by Jeffrey R. Lacasse, Jonathan Leo.