Researchers confirm that antidepressants like Prozac pill present in sewage water affect the behaviour of fishes

Fareeha Arshad

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The life of the Prozac pill does not end with our consumption. A single Prozac pill is enough to continue its effect even after you flush it down the toilet bowl. Prozac is a medication that contains a psychoactive molecule, fluoxetine. Upon consumption of the drug, this molecule is only partially absorbed by the human body, and the remaining gets excreted from the body.

Once the partially digested Prozac drug that is rich in fluoxetine, enters the sewage system, it continues its journey into the water system it is drained into. Sometimes these medications come in contact with the aquatic ecosystem and the wildlife present within it. Even though we decided to take a Prozac pill far away from this small water body with fishes, the after-effects of the pill reach the innocent fishes that were never prescribed the drugs in the first place.

Simply fish swimming in our wastes is not the only threat they face currently. Recent studies suggest that human wastes containing antidepressant medications like the Prozac pill affect the behaviour of fish in unique ways. In addition, the target receptors of these drugs are evolutionarily conserved among the various species in the animal kingdom. Therefore, researchers are not entirely shocked by the recent discovery of how psychoactive medications affect non-target species.

Recent research studies confirm that even minute concentrations of antidepressants can drastically impact aquatic life. As reported in the journal ‘Proceedings of the Royal Society B’, scientists further observed that fishes, when coming in contact with antidepressants, force them to lose their individuality.

Scientists believe every behavioural aspect of aquatic life must be affected when they come in contact with human wastes, including mating, feeding, and migration. However, scientists are still unsure how much of the quality of life will be affected.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I write about current affairs, history, science, and lifestyle.

Texas State
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