Thursday, March 25, 2010

Still More Bad Medicine...

Okay, now with the passage of ObamaCare, I'm taking an in-depth look at some of the"medicines" that are being heavily-marketed in the US today, and which might wind up being paid for by ObamaCare (i.e. the overburdened taxpayer) one day if we're not careful.

As always, the main complaint about these drugs are that they are extremely expensive, might be of dubious value medically, and are marketed as your one-stop miracle cure to all of Life's little problems. I include the average price of these drugs, because this is what they cost if you don;' have a prescritpion drug plan on your insurance, and because they'll probably cost twice as much once the government controls everything.

This week's haul found yet more anti-depressants, the return of some oldies-but-goodies, and I've noticed an increase in birth-control ads ever since last Saturday, in print, online and on television. So, here we go with this week's Bad Medicine List:

1. Aricept - for the treatment for Alzheimer's. Please note the website has a section you're supposed to read entitled "How Arricept is Thought To Work", complete with a video. The implication is that someone is selling a medicine without being certain of just what, exactly, it does, or how it does it. It's like rolling the dice with people's lives. But that's okay; it sometimes works, --fuck us if we know how -- and if it doesn't, well -- you have Alzheimer's, so how would you know? This is exactly why I hated anti-depressants when I took them because medical science -- for all it's accomplishments -- still cannot fathom the human brain. Side effects include the usual; vomiting, diarrhea, loss of sleep and appetite, some bruising and exacerbation of bleeding-relating problems (like ulcers, hemophilia, etc), but then again, you have Alzheimer's and probably sit in your own filth all day, so who gives a crap? Just hand over the money. Aricept will set you back $250.00 a month. That's a lot of cash for a drug that no one, even it's makers, can seem to explain. You can see the intentionally-dramatic, heart-wrenching commercial here.

2. Mirena - No sooner was ObamaCare signed into law then the birth control ads started in earnest. One of these is for a drug called Mirena, which sounds like your live-in Spanish maid more than it does medicine -- and which lead me to some very funny thoughts about Mexicans and birth control. However, Mirena is obviously specifically marketed to the active Soccer-Mom who can't be bothered to deal with a trifling little nuisance like contraception -- not when she's simply swamped with play-dates, Pilate's, Book Club, the weekly mani-and-pedi, Coffee-house-lunchtime poetry readings, PTA and Ceramics class. In other words; the pampered suburban housefrau. Perhaps she should just stay home more? Mirena is a contraceptive IUD, which performs some sort of women's-stuff-witchcraft that prevents pregnancy for up to five years -- assuming it doesn't manage to perforate your uterus, a common problem thanks to the nice, sharp point. The first indication is a condition referred to as "Breakthrough Bleeding", which could possibly lead to sterility (It's a bad idea to insert an object with a sharp point into your vagina and leave it there for up to five years? Who woulda thunk it?). And that's when Mirena isn't causing acne, mood changes, weight gain, and ovarian cysts. Yep, now that you can screw without having to worry about getting pregnant, she'll be ever-so-much-more attractive with all that extra weight, acne and the mood swings. Yessirrreeee, can't hardly wait! And why would you want all of this? Well, as the website says, Mirena "Eliminates the need to interrupt sex for contraception or [to] seek partner compliance ."

I had no idea that this was so pervasive a problem in Suburban America that a pharmaceutical company was forced to spend several hundred million dollars to research and market a drug to fix it! Mirena is fairly cost-effective -- so long as it doesn't kill you or render you barren -- at $260.00 per treatment. You can see the perky, above-average-cutie used to market this crap here.

3. Nexium - this is an oldie-but-goodie, and a new generation of commercials has been made to extol the virtues of the Healing Purple Pill. Nexium is prescribed for what's known now as "Acid Reflux Disease" which used to be known simply as "Stuffing Your Fat Face Until You Almost Vomit and Get Severe Heartburn". I once suffered from the dreaded Acid Reflux Disease -- but that's because my diet almost completely consisted of Hooter's Hot wings, Burritos, Jalapeno peppers right-out-the-jar, truckloads of Chinese food, and Pizza-and-vodka-three times a week, all washed down with between 6 and 10 cups of coffee a day. (I'm not kidding; one evening, I was awoken by the most severe burning sensation I have ever felt, only to throw up what appeared to be pure, undigested hot sauce). No sooner did I stop eating that way than did the Acid Reflux Disease cease and desist. But no, I guess some people need a little help because giving up spicy-greasy food is too difficult for them. They need help with impulse control. Now, Nexium is great for curing your severe heartburn, but it'll fuck you up in other ways: breathing problems, chest pain or tightness which might be mistaken for the symptoms of a heart attack, swelling of the lips and tongue, fatigue, diarrhea or constipation (I wonder if what happens if you manage to get both at the same time?), dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, severe gas which will make you either very uncomfortable -- or very lonely. Most of the damage of "acid reflux disease" can be avoided if you just make an effort to change you eating habits, but this is America, and so it has to be a syndrome which absolves us of all moral responsibilility, because we're all such pussies.

Avgerage Cost is about $75 for a 30-day supply, but if you ask me, antacids and a change of diet sound far cheaper, and don't require
$500,00-for-a-30-second ad three-to-five-times-a-day.

4. Prestiq - this is another anti-depressant, a category of drugs that I like to refer to as Suicide Pills. It's been my experience that depression is usually the result of expecting far too much out of life and then being continually disappointed. Having been treated for it for many years, I can promise you that people who are depressed usually start out as idealistic individuals, with sunny dispositions and a eagerness for life that is often steadily eroded by experience. But no, some assholes with "PhD" behind their name insist that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, the very organ that medical science knows the least about. And that the only way to "cure" it is to pump people full of drugs. Like this one, which have questionable efficacy. Possible side effects: increased risk of suicide (go figure!), agitation, hostility, aggression, impulsive actions (yes, giving in to your impulses always works wonders when you're depressed!). Make sure you don't take aspirin with this drug because you might bleed to death internally, and most certainly take care when driving or operating heavy machinery -- especially if you're in one of those aggressive, hostile moods, or when you suddenly get more suicidal than "normal". If that wasn't bad enough, you can look forward to severe constipation, dizziness, increased sweating and loss of appetite, all of which willmake you feel much happier, I'm sure. All this for only $130.00 a month.

There was no commercial available for this piece of crap.

5. Symbicort - This is a drug that's supposed to help people with breathing problems...unless you have Asthma. An interesting note -- there's a ton of literature available on what happens to people taking anti-depressants who take Symbicort as well, and guess what? It ain't pretty. Considering how many people are taking anti-depressants nowadays, I'm not surprised there's that much literature on seemingly-unrelated problems. Anyways, if you take Symbicort, you might breathe easier but you'll be trading in your shortness of breath for these exciting door prizes; skin rashes, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips and tongue, unspecified other "breathing problems" (huh? I thought it was supposed to cure "breathing problems"), changes in vision (I can breathe! But now I'm blind!), chest pain, rapid or irregular heartbeats, fainting, fevers, high blood pressure, "nervousness" (ah, now I see where they figured out it doesn't work with anti-depressants!), tremors, white patches or sores in the mouth. Nothing like getting sores in your mouth! If that wasn't worth the price of admission, you can look forward to these additional side effects, too: damaged taste buds, coughing, diarrhea (why is it that everything causes diarrhea?), headaches, sore throats, stuffy nose and upset stomachs. Average Cost is about $70 for the 120-dose "Turbo-inhaler!" which sounds more like a ride at an amusement park.

But I guess it beats having to drag an oxygen tank around with you, huh?

No TV commercial was available on YouTube for this one, either.

6. Triilipix - now this one was fascinating! Trilipix is a drug which reduces LDL (the bad cholesterol) and increased HDL (the good cholesterol). It'll also help you get a grip on triglycerides -- nasty little fatty proteins that float around in your bloodstream and fuck up your arteries. Trilipix is often used in combination with a class of drugs called Statins, which block the enzyme that causes your liver to produce cholesterol (I think something like 60-70% of the cholesterol in your body is made by your own liver). The medical science says that if you can manage the amount of "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides simultaneously in the body, you can prevent heart attacks, strokes, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). All well-and-fine, however, these drugs have some very nasty side effects, mostly centered on the destruction of your liver; this is why they require regular blood tests and medical exams. You'll be in the lab for a test or in the doctor's office at least three times a month, which gets quite expensive. Other side-effects include: muscle pain and weakness which somehow can lead to kidney damage -- and which is often fatal. You will most certainly be dehydrated because of the constant flow of diarrhea, that's when you aren't doubled over in pain because your pancreas and gallbladder are now fucked up. You can also look forward to headaches and frequent heartburn. I've just traded a heart attack for potentially lethal kidney, liver, pancreas and gallbladder issues, with diarrhea on top of it? Yeah, that's sounds like a good deal to me! Average cost was $130.00 for a month's supply.

Couldn't find a commercial for this one, either.

7. Yaz - This one scared the fertilizer out of me, and I'm a guy. I saw this one advertised online. Yaz is yet another birth control pill -- the hip, swingin' new birth control pill with the "with it" name -- that screams "today's youth!". That's when it's not being used to treat simple acne. But Yaz claims to be different! It was originally claimed that it treated a "syndrome" called "Premenstrual dysphoric disorder" which used to be simply known as "the Bitch is on the Rag" syndrome. That's mood swings, bloating, cramping, and the infamous "not tonight, I have a headache" routine . Later on, the FDA required the makers of Yaz to make several "Clarification Commercials" about Yaz and what it was good for -- which actually confused the shit out of me even more when I watched them. Anyways, we used to have a word for women whose "physical and emotional disorder" got that far out of hand, and it wasn't considered a "syndrome" -- it begins with the letter "C" and will get you slapped in polite company. So, I guess Yaz is the miracle, "anti-Bitch" pill men have always hankered for, with the added benefit that you can plow her like a Buffalo parking lot in January and not have her get all lumpy and misshapen...and what do they call that again? Oh yeah, pregnant. Yaz might also increase blood potassium to fatal levels, Ladies, and increases the risk for heart attack and stroke. You can also look forward to upper respiratory infections, vaginal moniliasis (a nasty form of yeast infection), puking, dysmenorrhea (severely painful menstruation), urinary tract infection, unspecified "accidental injury", sinusitis, hyperbolic mood swings, "suspicious" Pap smears, weight gain, depression (Hey, you can take Prestiq now! Good for you!), menstrual disorders, and weakness/fatigue.

Just in case those weren't good enough for you, some women can look forward to these exciting side-effects, recorded during clinical trials:

* In the contraception trial: leukorrhea (thick, yellowish vaginal discharge. Boy, that's attractive!), diarrhea, vomiting, vaginitis (itchy, flakiy crotch), flu syndrome, yeast infections, allergic reaction, cystitis, tooth disorder, sore throat, infection, fever, (Unspecified-)surgery, back pain, migraine, stomach aches, runny nose, acne, gastroenteritis, bronchitis, sore throats, (unspecified-) skin disorders, intermenstrual bleeding, decreased libido, pain, increased cough, dizziness, pain in extremity, and pelvic pain.

* In the PMDD trials: inter-menstrual bleeding, decreased libido, nervousness, menorrhagia (abnormally-heavy flow), pain in extremity, migraine, vaginitis, hyperlipidemia (increased fats in the bloodstream), back pain, diarrhea, increased appetite, enlarged abdomen, and acne.

* In the acne trials: metrorrhagia (bleeding not associated with menstruation), flu syndrome, menorrhagia, gastroenteritis, tooth disorder, infection, vomiting, pharyngitis, sore throat, joint pain, bronchitis, runny nose, skipped monthlies, and urine abnormality (how would you know? I mean, unless it was green or glowing in the dark, or smelled of something not urine-y?).

I had to look a lot of that shit up just to figure out what most of it was.

Ladies, there's an easier, less-painful and troublesome form of contraceptive that you can use, and you won't need a prescription for it. As an added benefit; rumor has it that it's good for your teeth, too, and it won't cost you about $75 a month. Good Lord, but just reading all that made me glad I don't have a vajay-jay.

And Good Grief, while researching the commercial video, I found that since the original commercial aired for Yaz, the company that makes it has been forced (by the FDA) to follow up with ads that "clarify" the original. Sheesh! Here's the original commercial (modified by someone with a sense of humor, but poor spelling skills) and here's the "Clarification" ad....more than once. Oh, and here's a gag ad, too.

And they call this "medicine"?

Note: You can see previous entries in this series by clicking on the Bad Medicine tag below.


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