Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Got side effects?

I was leafing through the September 19th issue of People magazine, and halfway through I had to ask myself if I was looking at an entertainment magazine or a medical journal. Every few pages, I was bombarded with another drug ad, and not just little blurbs, but three-page spreads designed to entice readers to ‘talk to their doctors’ about medicines that ‘could be right for them.’

What shocked me even more than the size of the ads were the lists of side effects they all included. Once again, I have to ask myself, is the cure [or the treatment] worse than the disease?

Here’s what I found:

A three-page ad for Focalin XR – for ADHD –this drug is for children over age 6 – and the side effects include sudden death, stroke and heart attacks, increased blood pressure and heart rate, slowing of growth in children and [among many others] nervousness.

A three page ad for NuvaRing – for birth control – one of the side effects is weight gain and in addition you should worry about blood clots, stroke, heart attack, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, liver tumors and inflammation of the pancreas

A three page ad for BOTOX ® - nothing like injecting yourself with botulism which can cause life threatening side effects

A three page ad for Enbrel – for plaque psoriasis – a host of side effects include: tuberculosis, fatal blood problems, heart problems and new or worsening psoriasis

A three page ad for Seroquel XR – for depression – side effects include weight gain, seizures, neuroleptic malignant syndrome and cataracts

A two-page ad for Boniva – for osteoporosis – the ad includes a correction about misleading information in previous ads – side effects include severe jawbone problems, osteonecrosis [that means bone death], spasms, numbness and thigh bone fractures

Is it any wonder Americans are so sick? We’re being bombarded with drugs to fix our problems, all of which can cause serious other problems, not to mention the same problems we’re trying to get rid of.

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