According to a new study antidepressants like Prozac are turning fish into Zombies by erasing their personalities. Prozac is the most prescribed antidepressant and Fluoxetine is its major ingredient. Study found that the fishes treated with high levels of Fluoxetine lost their individuality and were said to turn into ‘Zombies’.
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In a recent study, it was found that antidepressant pharmaceutical drugs like Prozac are somehow being dispensed into waterways.
Number of people using antidepressants are increasing drastically in the U.S. and the percentage content of these drugs is increasing in sewage water as the drug is excreted via urine.
Since sewage treatment plants can’t filter out these drugs, their concentration is increasing in sewage water.
This is affecting aquatic life adversely.
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Fishes have started exhibiting entirely different personality traits.
Prozac is the most prescribed antidepressant and Fluoxetine is its major ingredient.
The study was conducted by Giovanni Polverino and experiments were performed on 3600 Guppies.
These 3600 Guppies were divided into three groups.
One group was not fed Fluoxetine; the second group was exposed to the Fluoxetine levels found in the wild and the third group was exposed to the same level of Fluoxetine as present in waterways near sewage plants.
A detailed study of the behaviour of Guppies during the next 2 years revealed that they showed great variations in behavioural traits such as anxiety, bravery, aggressiveness, etc.
Fishes treated with high levels of Fluoxetine have lost their individuality and were said to turn into ‘Zombies’.
There was almost no differentiation in their behaviour.
This drone like behaviour was an alarming indication.
Fishes tend to behave differently from each other.
If one fish makes any mistake, the other doesn’t repeat it.
However, this diversity in behaviour was not seen in fishes exposed to Fluoxetine.
This can be responsible for extinction of fishes.
‘Most studies often focus on the impact of short-term exposure,’ said co-author Bob Wong, ‘even though many drugs can be highly persistent in the environment and affect animals over long periods of time.’
As per Polverino, the team has published their findings in Proceeding of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
The team is willing to continue its research on the effects of Fluoxetine on fishes.
Among various studies, it was seen that Fluoxetine causes remarkable change in behaviour of fishes.
As per one such study conducted in 2019 at Melbourne’s Monash University, it was found that fishes (female Gambusia holbrooki) exposed to Fluoxetine started eating much lesser than usual.
On other hand, male Gambusia holbrooki fishes were taking more time in accomplishing the mating process.
Similar study was conducted in 2014 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on male fathead minnows.
They turned more aggressive and antisocial after being exposed to Prozac.
Males started showing passive reproductive activities and started hunting or killing females.
Females on the other hand showed reduced egg count.
Sewage water treatment plants are not equipped enough to filter out the antidepressant drugs.
And therefore the Australian Environmental Protection Agency has declared pharmaceuticals as a potential threat to wildlife and humans.
Inspite of such warnings, there are no federal regulations in place yet.