Monday, April 27, 2009

Lilly Pharmaceuticals promotes Meds plus Therapy combo. Well, for dogs at least.

“Reconcile” is doggie Prozac: fluoxetine hydrochloride in chewable, flavored tablets for dogs, which have been tested to make dogs less uproarious when you leave them at home all day alone. Labelled “pet separation anxiety" (as opposed to: "lively social animal left in apartment all day five days a week" syndrome).

The website, plus the package “insert,” indicate that this SSRI should be taken as treatment for the separation anxiety, and that behavioral therapy should also be delivered as the primary mode of treatment. The doggie Prozac brings successful treatment rates from 50% with behavioral therapy alone, to 70% when doggie prozac is added.

Doggie prozac seems to speed treatment response, also. So, this fits with one bit of clinical knowledge: talk therapy works for a range of mental health problems, and adding a psych med can help bootstrap things and quicken the pace of recovery.

The website and “insert” are very clear that the meds are supposed to accompany behavioral therapy. This is quite different from much of the research and the pharmaceutical marketing for antidepressant medications. These sources, such as the cartoon ads with the frowny faces, profile the simple need for a pill to correct some brain chemical imbalance, with no therapy needed.

I guess that dogs are not very susceptible to the placebo effect of pills, so delivering a pill is just not enough to get some favorable response in a drug trial.

We could learn something from man’s best friend.

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