This question comes up all the time. Memes circle around which claim that fluoride is the active compound in rat poison, Prozac and what is in our water. To put it very simply, these are not all the same types of fluoride. There are many kinds of fluoride because the element fluorine creates a compound with just about any other element it binds to, resulting in all new things. For example, the most common type used to fluoridate our public water is fluorosilicic acid, a by-product of phosphate fertilizer manufacture. This is different than say, what is in toothpaste or mouthwash. That’s sodium fluoride. So, once and for all: does Prozac contain fluoride? The simple answer is yes. Prozac not only contains fluoride, Prozac is fluoride.
Prozac is the brand name for a chemical compound called fluoxetine hydrochloride. Fluoxetine is made up of five different elements (C17H18F3NO). Fluorine is one of those elements (F3). Fluorine is a gas and never occurs in a free state in nature. Fluorine exists only in combination with other elements as fluoride compounds. Both organic and inorganic compounds containing the element fluorine (F) are considered fluorides. This means fluoxetine is a fluoride. Therefore, we could say Prozac is fluoride. Fluoxetine is the only ingredient in Prozac and fluoxetine is a fluoride.*
Former governor Jesse Ventura famously claimed that Prozac was “over 90% fluoride” and websites and blogs sprang to defend Prozac, including one that claimed if we use the atomic weights of the elements in the compound that make up fluoxetine, we’d find that “fluoride [their word, not mine] makes up only 18.5 percent of this drug. Other elements — oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon — make up more than 80 percent of this drug. Opponents like to say that fluoride is an ingredient in Prozac because they hope it will scare people.” The problem is that none of these websites clarify that if either organic or inorganic compounds contain the element fluorine, the entire compound is considered a fluoride. This means that Prozac is “100% fluoride,” not 90% and not 18.5%. It may be “18.5% fluorine,” but using that formula, it is 100% fluoride. These websites also neglect to explain to the reader how many different types of fluoride there are. Saying that a Prozac tablet does not contain the type(s) of fluoride used in our water supply does not mean that it contains no fluoride at all. Saying “Prozac contains fluorine [or fluoxetine], not fluoride” without clarifying that this literally means Prozac is a fluoride is either a deliberate attempt to mislead people, or is the result of ignorance.
People who claim “Prozac does not contain fluoride” are being disingenuous. It’s a little bit like saying water does not contain water. Technically, water does not contain water, it is water. Itcontains hydrogen and oxygen. Prozac does not contain fluoride. Prozac is fluoride. It containsfluorine. Now, you wouldn’t say: “It’s not water. It’s oxygen and hydrogen.” But this what people do with Prozac, and it’s really just splitting hairs, or attempting to confuse facts. To claim there is no relationship between Prozac and fluoride is just plain untruthful. If we were to explain this to someone who had a limited knowledge about chemical compounds but basic knowledge about fluoride, and we knew that fluoxetine is, for all intents and purposes, considered a fluoride, then when we were explaining it to them, we would say that a fluoride is the “main” or “active” ingredient in Prozac because fluoxetine (a fluoride) is the only ingredient in Prozac.
Is Prozac dangerous to your health? That’s a hard question. Many people claim it has helped them, and many others claim it did nothing, or worse, made their problems more severe. As with all drugs, it’s efficacy depends largely on the person who is taking it. The list of common side effects is long and unpleasant: nausea, upset stomach, constipation, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, drowsiness, dizziness, nervousness, heart palpitations, loss of appetite or increase in appetite, weight changes, cold symptoms (stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat), dry mouth, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm. A complete list of side effects is very long and somewhat troubling, considering how common a Prozac prescription is. Despite the growing wealth of information that suggests antidepressants don’t work, Prozac is still one of the most-prescribed drugs in America today – and some defend it ferociously.
It seems especially ironic that people who claim fluoride is being used to make the population docile and apathetic are shouted down or laughed at as conspiracy theorists, and yet this is exactly what Prozac – a fluoride – often does. Typing “Prozac makes me” into a search bar will turn up “Prozac makes me not care” as a top suggested search and browsing through forums about medications and mental illness, you can see this numbness of emotions is a very, very common result of taking Prozac. Some other suggestions that popped up are “Prozac makes me lazy,” “Prozac makes me apathetic,” “Prozac makes me tired” and “Prozac makes me a zombie.”
Paxil is a fluorinated drug called “paroxetine” (also called Seroxat, Aropax). These drugs are designed to inhibit the reuptake of serotonin (serotonin reuptake inhibitors – SSRIs)and hence interfere with the biological actions of serotonin, a neurotransmitter.
Both drugs contain fluorine and chloride. Fluoride is present as a ‘4-fluorophenyl’ compound, part of the ‘active’ ingredient.
Fluorophenyl compounds are found as major metabolites in the human organism from Paxil and Prozac, as well as from pesticides as Flusilazole(Anderson et al, 1999),Fluorbenside; FOE 5043(Christenson et al, 1996), other drugs such as dexfenfluramine (“Redux”; “Fen-Phen” – now withdrawn)(Kalin et al, 2000); Fluvastatin(Top 200 drugs)(Dain et al, 1993); Flutrimazole(skin cream)(Conte et al, 1992); AD-5423(an anti-psychotic)(Oka et al, 1993), Bay U 3405 (Braun et al, 1990);Cisapride(also now withdrawn from US market), Leflunamide (Arava).