Posted by Anyuser on August 17, 2002, at 15:51:04
Here is an excerpt from an article about Lexapro on Forbes.com:
"Like many follow-up drugs, Lexapro is essentially a fragment of the drug that preceded it. There are two pieces of the Celexa molecule that may be active in the body, but only one of them seems to be involved in helping to relieve symptoms of depression. So scientists at Lundbeck cut the Celexa molecule in half to see if it would work better that way.
"This is a common strategy for companies trying to replace a blockbuster that is losing patent protection. AstraZeneca (nyse: AZN - news - people ) is trying it with Nexium, the follow-up to ulcer drug Prilosec, once the best-selling drug in the world. Schering-Plough's (nyse: SGP - news - people ) Clarinex is a slightly altered form of Claritin, the blockbuster antihistamine.
"Drug companies have taken a lot of flack for trying to switch patients to such new-and-improved versions of old drugs.
"But not everyone agrees that Lexapro is far superior to Celexa. The Danish Medicines Agency reportedly complained that the new drug is no better than Celexa. In Denmark, Lundberg has lost patent protection on Celexa and is trying to switch patients from the cheap, old antidepressant to the new, expensive Lexapro. (Both drugs are sold under different names overseas.)"
That has a depressing ring of truth to me. Now compare that to the following excerpt from an article on Lexapro on WebMD.com:
"Andrew Farah, MD, medical director of behavioral services at High Point Regional Health System in North Carolina, says intolerable side effects are the main reason that only about 40% of those who seek treatment for depression complete the recommended therapy.
"'The real advance is that this drug seems to be devoid of virtually all side effects,' says Farah, who is also a clinical professor at Wake Forest University. 'I think most people who have tried antidepressants in the past and didn't like them because of the side effects will be very pleased with this one.'"
Which version is closer to the truth?