scientists say Prozac in the water is affecting certain kinds of shrimp. No, the antidepressant doesn't make them calm and cheerful. In fact, these shrimp, when exposed to Prozac, may be more likely to put themselves in mortal danger.
British prawns and shrimps are getting high on anti-depressants thanks to rising levels of drug waste in the coastal waters around the UK, experts say. Pharmaceutical drugs like Prozac are ending up in the sea around British towns through waste water, affecting the behaviour of local marine life, The Sun reports.
Scientists at Portsmouth University exposed shrimps to the same levels of fluoxetine – the agent in Prozac – as they found in waste water. They found sea creatures were five times more likely to swim up to light when exposed to drugs, putting them at risk of being eaten by fish or birds. “It’s no surprise that what we get from the pharmacy will be contaminating the waterways,” said Dr Alex Ford. “Crustaceans are crucial to the food chain. “If behaviour is being changed this could seriously upset the balance of the ecosystem.”
A rising level of drugs like Prozac in coastal waters is changing the habits of marine life. Sea creatures are five times more likely to swim up to light when exposed to drugs, tests revealed. The behaviour puts the mud-loving crustaceans at risk of being eaten by fish or birds – which could have a devastating effect on their numbers. Scientists at Portsmouth University exposed shrimps to the same levels of fluoxetine – the agent in Prozac – as they found in waste water. And they were alarmed by the results. Dr Alex Ford said: “Crustaceans are crucial to the food chain. If behaviour is being changed this could seriously upset the balance of the eco-system.”
But he added: “It’s no surprise that what we get from a pharmacy will be contaminating the waterways.” He said some marine life was coping with prescription drugs of entire towns. Anti-depressant use has soared in recent years, with doctors in England and Wales prescribing more than 26 million annually. A recent study however questions antidepressant impact on quality of life. People using antidepressants to treat depression have similar outcomes to those who do not, new research suggests.
Users ultimately excrete waste (including drug residues) into sewage, yet the environmental effect has been largely unexplored. When a drug like Prozac bumps up a shrimp’s serotonin levels, the crustacean is much more likely to abandon shadowy, safe waters and swim toward the light, where it makes a tempting target for predators.
As if drugging humans isn’t enough, earth’s animal population is suffering the same fate, drug induced disease. When will this madness stop? How bizarre is that, prawns on prozac. What next? perhaps zebras on zopiclone, whales or warfarin, dolphins on diclofenac? It is a sad world we live in when the ecosystem is being adversely affected by drug residues. The pharmaceutical market has experienced significant growth during the past two decades, and pharma revenues worldwide was 1.27 trillion U.S. dollars in 2020.