The recent report that Prozac may slow the development of brain lesions is the sort of news that maybe shouldn't be reported at all. It's so preliminary that it's of value almost exclusively to researchers. It appears to invite people with MS to consider taking Prozac to slow the disease. It shouldn't.
Three things you need to know:
1. The Dutch study was very small: 19 people with MS taking Prozac, 19 taking a placebo. Researchers used MRIs every four weeks to monitor development of brain inflammation. At eight weeks fewer new lesions appeared in patients taking Prozac; the difference was sustained for 24 weeks.
2. There was no difference in symptoms or exacerbations related to the two treatments during the tests. But side effects did show themselves: People taking Prozac had more drowsiness and nausea than those who took the placebo.
3. The bottom line here is that there is enough evidence to justify moving ahead with further studies of Prozac (and similar SSRI antidepressants) and MS. The group studied was too small, and the study itself looking at questions too narrow, to justify broader conclusions.
With incurable diseases like MS, it's tempting to look at promising bits of science and jump to conclusions about cures. The headlines on this story only encourage that.
But science is a long, maddening process of accumulating knowledge. What appears true in 2004 is oten overturned in 2007, and reversed again in 2008.
There are many ways to manage symptoms and live a good, rich life with MS. Work closely with your physician and care team--and check in with out wonderful community of MS patients, experts and physicians here at MultipleSclerosisCentral.com.
Published On: May 01, 2008