Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of chemical compounds that have contributed to major advances as antidepressants, revolutionizing the treatment of depression and other psychiatric and medical disorders.
The first and most famous SSRI was fluoxetine hydrochloride, introduced in 1987 under the trade name Prozac. Before Prozac, antidepressants were accompanied by several adverse effects requiring closer monitoring and were more dangerous in the event of an overdose.
Eli Lilly and Company the Indianapolis, Indiana-headquartered pharmaceutical company that developed Prozac tested the drug’s safety and effectiveness for over a decade before releasing it. Lilly’s research and development began in the 1960s, when scientists Klaus Schmiegel and Bryan Molloy, with the help of David Wong and Ray Fuller, searched for a compound to treat depression. Because depression and similar psychiatric disorders are associated with reduced serotonin levels, the researchers focused on prohibiting serotonin reuptake, since slowing and diminishing serotonin reuptake boosts serotonin levels in the brain.
The scientists based their search on the template of the antihistamine drug diphenhydramine hydrochloride, commonly known as Benadryl. After several failures, the research team synthesized a group of compounds, aryloxyphenylpropylamines. When tested, a member of the group, fluoxetine hydrochloride, proved to affect only the neurotransmitter serotonin. This compound became the first selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and the active ingredient in Prozac.
You may have seen the news I shared last week about the emergency declaration relaxing restrictions on truck drivers who make essential deliveries during the COVID-19 emergency. Here’s a TV news story [Link: https://www.wsfa.com/2020/03/18/regulations-lifted-truckers-providing-direct-relief-coronavirus] from Montgomery, Ala., covering what this means from a local perspective.