19 November 2007

The Doctor Is In

I love the prescription drug TV commercials where upbeat music plays while a person goes through his daily life with a smile on his face because his ailments are suddenly healed from popping a pill. The best part is that while this person is looking so happy, a voice in the background casually lists all the possible side effects. Wow, suddenly being cured doesn't seem so great when you could die from the same medicine.

I'm not a doctor but I'm pretty sure my Juris Doctor qualifies me to give my prognosis on a few prescription drugs and their associated side effects:

Purpose: anxiety
Possible side effects: depression, muscle twitching, agitation, concentration problems, diarrhea.
Prognosis: Is it just me or are all of these side effects also signs of anxiety? So what is Xanax actually curing? Plus now you have diarrhea to boot. Stay away from this one.

Purpose: enlarged prostate
Possible side effects: cough, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, infection, nausea, runny nose, sinus problems, sleepiness, sore throat, weakness
Prognosis: So now you don't have to pee as often but you have diarrhea and a runny nose. That's a trade-off I wouldn't make 9 times out of 10. No thanks, Flomax.

Purpose: insomnia
Possible side effects: dizziness, daytime-drowsiness, unusual dreams, loss of coordination, breast enlargement in males.
Prognosis: This medicine is supposed to help you sleep so you wouldn't even notice the dizziness or loss of coordination (unless you sleepwalk). And I think the unusual dreams could be fun and the enlarged breasts would finally help me gain weight. I'm giving Lunesta the green light.

Purpose: heart burn
Possible side effects: nausea, flatulence, abdominal pain, constipation, dry mouth, allergic reaction, back pain, chest pain, hot flashes, fatigue, fever, flu-like disorder, pain, rigors.
Prognosis: Let me get this straight--Nexium is supposed to make you feel better when you have heart burn. But it can also give you a stomach ache, nausea, and a fever, to name a few of the new ailments. Aren't all of those things as bad or worse than heart burn? My math skills say you're better off just going to sleep with the heart burn.

Purpose: shorter periods
Possible side effects: bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods, blood clots in the legs, liver tumors.
Prognosis: I've never had a period but it seems to me that the whole point of having a shorter period is so you bleed less and get it over with sooner. So basically they're promising you a 3-day period but warn you may bleed in between your 3-day periods. So it's not a 3-day period. Plus you could get a liver tumor. Sounds like a raw deal to me.

Purpose: depression
Possible side effects: Impotence, constipation, decreased sex drive, blurred vision, weight gain or loss, increased sweating, difficulty urinating.
Prognosis: After curing my depression, I think Cymbalta's side effects would depress me all over again. This one is a no-go.

I was purposefully avoiding the ED pills but I am adding this one because of the feedback I've received since making the original post:

Purpose: erectile dysfunction
Possible side effects: four-hour erection.
Prognosis. I know we're all thinking this so I'll just say it: Isn't that the point?


two forks said...

let's get this straight right here and now -- i will NOT be married to a guy with MAN BOOBS!

Suzanne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzanne said...

My oh my. Where to begin to comment on this one. First of all, there was absolutely no mention of any of the herbal supplements that are so prevalent here in Seattle. Even if they don't have any great side effects, who can pass up taking Toadstool Root? Second, what about all of the ED drugs? Right on the TV ads the drug makers warn: "Call a doctor if you have an erection lasting more than four hours." I'd love Dr. Markanich's comments on the desireability of that side effect....

Abbie said...

Ok. So I RARELY laugh out loud while ready things on the internet. Today was an exception while reading your post. I about died.

michal & david coombs said...

you know, there's a medical condition called priapism...it's kind of painful to have that...lasting...side effect.

Jordan said...

I saw another one on TV the other day with a side effect of anal leakage. Too bad I missed which pill it was.

Me, Myself, & I said...

I don't often read, let alone comment, on blog. But I came across yours and couldn't help myself.
Concerning Nexium, lol - although you made me laugh, I still hafta point out that it is used for the treatment of bacterial ulcers, not simply "heart burn". When you have heartburn so bad that when you lay down you throw up, you can't go to sleep with it.
I know this cause I took it, and lemme tell you - thank god for nexium.
I took Nexium for several months, with no side effects and great results.
I think those are all the things people experienced while testing the drug....thats not to say all those things were part and parcel of using the drug. but because they were present, they had to be included in the list of "possible side effects".