Re: Continuing Evolution in Humans (was: A very surreal day)

From: Stathis Papaioannou (
Date: Wed Aug 15 2007 - 23:53:34 MDT

On 15/08/07, Diego Navarro <> wrote:
> > Unfortunately, I don't think there's a huge amount of progress possible through psychotropics.
> Well, I wasn´t really thinking of ultrashort term uppers and downers.
> Psychotropics have had a rate of progress since Prozac came up that's
> unparallelled even by computers, IMHO. An entire field of consumer
> psychiatry has come up. Before Prozac, psychiatry was basically a
> repressive force making up categories for those who didn't fit.

I spend my days prescribing psychotropics for the mentally ill, and
there really has been only minimal progress in drug efficacy over the
last few decades. None of the new antidepressants are any more
effective than the tricyclics and MAO inhibitors, none of the
antipsychotics are any more effective than haloperidol (with the
possible exception of the very toxic drug clozapine), and none of the
anxiolytics are more effective than diazepam: all drugs which date
back to at least the 1960's. The only advantage of the newer drugs is
in side-effect profile, and even there the advantages are probably
overstated. For example, in a recent multicentre trial of
antipsychotics the conclusion was that the newer drugs are no better
than the older ones in neurological side-effects, and significantly
worse in metabolic side-effects such as weight gain and diabetes. This
is not to say that there will not be progress in the next few years
with new drugs targetting different receptors, but the popular
impression (if such there is) of progress in the last few years is due
to drug company and media hype.

Stathis Papaioannou

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