DECRYPTION – Long presented as “the pills of happiness”, these drugs are far from being a panacea and do not benefit all patients.
“Florence Foresti, comedian. 45 years old and 20 on antidepressants.” This is how the favorite humorist of the French presents himself in autofiction Orders, currently being broadcast on Canal+. Among his medications, there is probably a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It is indeed the most prescribed class of antidepressants all over the world. The SSRI increases the concentration of serotonin, this neurotransmitter which allows communication between neurons and is often presented as the “hormone of happiness”. Developed in the 1990s, led by fluoxetine (Prozac), SSRIs quickly supplanted older antidepressants because they are better tolerated. But their effectiveness and the relevance of their prescription to a very large public are regularly questioned.
This summer, the debate was reignited following the publication of two new studies: one undermining the biological mechanism of the disease, and the other attacking the effectiveness…