A clinical study shows antidepressant Prozac could be used to heal other conditions caused by brain cell dysfunction such as the lazy-eye.
In the study, Prozac returned old brain cells to a more plastic state commonly seen in the youth. That state facilitates that the visual perception system develops its right connection between the eye and the brain, Italian and Finnish scientists reported.
It's much too early to say when, whether or how Prozac could be used in such treatments, scientist Jose Fernando Maya Vetencourt from Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa said according to Healthy Day News.
Vetencourt and collegues are doing the research with rats but they affirm the experiment could work the same way for humans.
Lazy eye is scientifically known as Amblyopia and appears to be one eye weaker than the other. It is the most frequent cause of visual impairment in childhood.
Adding to the new research, Vetencourt said the ability of Prozac to change brain cells into a more plastic state could signal they might also take part in other neurological disorders including Alzheimer's disease.
Prozac's patent expired and the drug is available worldwide as the generic fluoxetine.
The drug was introduced in 1987 by U.S. drug producer Eli Lilly & Co. It is part of a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that block the activity of serotonin, a molecule that conducts signals to the brain.
Shares of Eli Lilly & Co. closed down 2.21 percent to $51.39 a share on Thursday in the New York Mercantile Exchange.