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BMJ. 2007 September 22; 335(7620): 578.
PMCID: PMC1988963
Going APE

Unwitting experimentation?

Choice of antidepressant
Martin Duerden, general practitioner

I was intrigued by the choice of antidepressant for this gorilla.1 Is escitalopram on the zoo's formulary? It is not on our local NHS formulary. Escitalopram is an s-enantiomer of citalopram, which is now off-patent, and a recent Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin2 highlighted how such drugs are developed and marketed after the patent expiry of the originator drug, to extend profits. In humans, as pointed out by DTB, there is little evidence that it is any better than any other serotonin reuptake inhibitors, but it is many times more expensive than generic alternatives. Has the gorilla unwittingly been experimented on in this way as a result of drug company marketing?

Competing interests: MD is on the editorial board for Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin.

References

1. Pop IC. A depressed gorilla. BMJ 2007;335:445 (1 September.)
2. Anon. New drugs from old? Drug Therapeutics Bull 2006;44(10):73-7.

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