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. It contains hydrogen and oxygen. Prozac does not contain fluoride. Prozac is fluoride. It contains fluorine. 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. It is suspicious at best that the problems SSRI and other organofluorine drugs cause in the body are virtually identical to those caused by fluoride. 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.”
The bigger problem that comes up when we are talking about fluoride and chemical toxicity in general, though, is that people like to say “the dose determines the poison.” This is very true, but it’s misleading sometimes. Perhaps the amount of the type of fluoride in Prozac is safe by itself, or perhaps it does not “break down” and release fluoride into the body (this is unknown as of yet, but some organofluorine drugs have been proven to expose the body to fluoride). However, how much fluoride of all types are you actually exposed to every day besides Prozac? It is in more than just mouthwash and toothpaste and in more drugs than just Prozac, including Haldol, Celexa, Cipram, Luvox, Paxil, Lexapro, Dalmane, Cipro, Levaquin and many more. Because of pesticide contamination of foods, groundwater poisoning and deliberate contamination of our drinking water, we are taking in much more than the “recommended” amount of fluoride every day (in quotes because fluoride is not essential to our health in any way). It is literally in almost everything we eat and drink. As mentioned above, the fluoride added to our drinking water is a waste by-product from industrial manufacturing, including aluminum and fertilizer. Drugs like Prozac and Zoloft are not being cleaned from our waste water, and they are being found in freshwater streams and worse, in our drinking water. It’s true that the dose determines the poison but with no way to measure how much we are ingesting daily – and with different types of fluoride metabolizing differently – how can we be sure what the dose actually is?
We can’t. This is where it becomes dangerous. Not knowing what is in drugs commonly leads to overdoses, and fluoride is no different. Only you can decide what medications are right for you and on the subject of fluoride and fluorinated drugs, accurate information can be very hard to come by. Hopefully, this has cleared some things up for you.
To read more about the dangers of the abundance of fluoride in our water and food, click here.