Monday, October 11, 2010

Commercials for Prescription Drugs!

Yes, we have all seen commercials advertising prescription drugs. They encourage you to ask your doctor about them. When I am watching one I can't help but wonder what makes me qualified to suggest to my doctor what medication is best for me? What makes anyone qualified to second guess a doctor's opinion based on a 30 second commercial and their less than vast knowledge of pharmaceuticals? I have a couple of other issues with these commercials too.

For one thing, the side effects caused by most of these drugs are far worse than the condition they are supposed to be treating. I even would go so far as to say the pharmaceutical companies are inventing new diseases/conditions for us in order to sell their amazing drugs. For example, in my 56 years on this planet I have never heard someone say, "I have dry eyes." Yet, suddenly there is a new dry eye condition and a miracle cure called "Restasis," which is going to add moisture to your eyes. Maybe renting a tear jerker movie and a good cry would do the same thing? However, if you decide on Restasis, it may have a few minor side effects. The side effects they admit to on their website are: "Eye burning, redness, tearing, discharge, pain, itching, stinging, or visual blurring may occur." As if that is not bad enough, they conveniently leave out the following: "Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); changes in vision; continued or worsening itching, burning, stinging, or irritation; continuing blurred vision; discharge from eyes; excessive tear production; eye pain, redness, or swelling." Ok I'm convinced, sign me up for some of that! Not!

How about Lipitor for high cholesterol? Oh, it will lower your cholesterol alright, but at what risk? Well its side effects include: bone, joint, or tendon pain; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; flu-like symptoms; joint pain; muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness; painful or frequent urination; pale stools; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; severe stomach pain; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; yellowing of the eyes or skin. Sounds good to me! So what if it can cause liver damage? At least my body will have normal levels of cholesterol when I die! And they make sure to tell you all the benefits of the drug at a nice, slow, friendly pace. However, when they get to the end, which is signaled by the words "MAY CAUSE," it's followed by a dozen or more side effects you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy, at a rate of 500 words per minute!

I don't know about you, but those commercials really build up my confidence in drug manufacturers and their products. I mean who wouldn't want to trade in their heartburn for some chest pains, seizures, ringing in the ears, severe headaches etc? It makes perfect sense to me! On my next appointment, I'll ask my doctor @@ (eye roll!).

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