This week we're looking at a "treatment" for ADHD, a Foot Fungus "cure" that might be a fire hazard, and an over-the-counter or "health supplement" that is being heavily advertised on television which has kept the lawyers very busy, indeed. If you wish to see the other posts in this series, simply click the Bad Medicine tag at the bottom of this nonsense.
This week's As-seen-on-TV-Miracle-Cures are:
1. Actonel - is another treatment for Osteoporosis, a debilitating disease which threatens to inflict millions of soon-to-retire Baby Boomer females with brittle bones that will keep them from living out their life-long dream of hitting every position in the Kama Sutra. Broken bones are certainly nothing to laugh about, especially when you anticipate another 20 years of heavy sexual activity with your pumped-up-on-Viagra mate, your meds and lifestyle subsidized by the American taxpayer. Can't be snappin' bones when you're Snappin' Bones, can ya? Ain't no fun when your pelvis might crack at any moment.
Anyways, if you take this medicine, not only will your Osteoporosis be relatively cured (in the sense that you'll, maybe, break fewer bones than you would have without it), you'll also be treating yourself to the following cornucopia of side-effects: Esophageal ulcers, difficult or painful swallowing, chest pains, continuous heartburn, back-muscle-bone-or-joint pain (hey! I thought this was supposed to be good for your bones?). oh, and it won't really rot your jawbone...if you're lucky. Which is a good thing, because then you'll be able to enjoy all those bladder infections and the crippling diarrhea you're likely to get, if you haven't already been killed by the increased or irregular heart beat, or unexplained rashes the drug might cause. All this for only $140.00 a batch! Why,Ladies, I'll bet you just can't wait!
Check out the well-preserved geriatric bombshell on the website.
2. Align - Well, well, well. It seems everyone's concerned about their bowels, nowadays. And I guess Jamie Lee Curtis talking about turds and pushing yogurt just won't cut it anymore, and so we have Align, which promises to "help build and maintain a healthy digestive system", and to "restore you natural digestive balance", while protecting you against "occasional digestive upsets". So far as I can tell, that means "we'll help you shit, shit more often, and as close to on-a-schedule-as possible".
That statement is conditioned by this one: "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease". Nope, we'll just market it to you as if constipation was a deadly malady that'll kill you faster than any cancer or Muslim Terrorist. They even have a money back guarantee (You Poop or We Pay!). It's amazing how many people nowadays are focused -- like a laser beam -- upon their colons. It's almost a fetish. But, at least it's better than the last fetish, which focused on made-up diseases like Chronic Dry Eye and Restless Leg Syndrome, and the ever-present threat of Erectile Dysfunction.
Align bills itself as a "daily pro-biotic supplement" (whatever the fuck that is), which promises "Align works by providing an ongoing natural defense against occasional digestive upsets". You'll be more than pleased to know that someone went through the trouble of studying the effects of Align on menstruating women and found the combination of raging hormones and blocked bowels does not equal a death sentence. I'm sure that puts your mind greatly at ease.
You'll be happy to know that the Website offers this lovely tidbit of gastrointestinal knowledge: a supposedly-healthy person craps somewhere between three times a day and three times a week. If you're hitting the head 21 times a week, I hope you're bringing reading material. I know dogs that don't pop that often.
In the end the makers of Align probably need this product more than anyone else does: their own website is so full of shit that even 21 trips a week to the Crapper may not suffice. Oh, and all this bowel-related tomfoolery will set you back about $24. For the sale price of Manhattan Isle, you'll be able to drop a spike on a schedule that's convenient for you! A fitting thing, since our culture is dominated by both crap and convenience, isn't it? I couldn't find a TV Commercial for this one, but I see it at least as many times as a day as I crap.
3. Intuniv - the latest and greatest "treatment" for ADHD (what used to be called "Ants in the Pants" or "Sit down and Shut the Fuck Up" syndrome), this drug is intended specifically for children between the ages of 6 and 17. It's derivative of a drug (Tenex) that was originally used to treat high blood pressure; it was not specifically developed to address what some consider a psychological problem. It's great "virtue" is that it's not considered a controlled substance, which makes getting your hands on it all so-much-more easier. A drug intended for teenagers that's easy to get? Yeah, that makes sense. I like this vaguely-worded, and grammatically-suspect little blurb on the Pediatrics website I visited:
"...Intuniv, unlike other ADHD medications, especially stimulants like Adderall, Concerta, or Vyvanse, does not cause much appetite suppression, so may be a good choice for children who lose a lot of weight when taking a stimulant. Until more is known about Intuniv, another benefit is that there will simply be one more option for treating children with ADHD..."
In other words, we don't know much about this drug, but give it to your kid anyway -- it's one more "option" available to you. And that was written by a DOCTOR?
The cost of drugging your child instead of teaching them a bit of discipline are the following side-effects: low blood pressure, fainting spells and low heart rate. But hey, it's better than having to chase Timmy around the living room, and having his teacher suggest Special Ed, right? The price checker I use (Pharmacychecker.com) lists one source for Intuniv, at a cost of $549.00 for 100 pills, and Pharmahelper lists 100 pills for $475.95...for a drug that wasn't invented to treat children with ADHD, which might not actually work, but which a doctor will be happy to recommend in order to give you the sense that you "have options". But at least you don't need to go through all the trouble of getting a prescription for it, right?
Please note that on the Intuniv Website, there's a section entitled "How Intuniv is THOUGHT to Work", which I'm finding is a pretty common thing for all drugs that have an effect on brain chemistry. The implication is that no one's quite sure how these things do what they do, and we don't really bother to find out, but what the hell? You're crazy, anyway, right?. So, we're distributing drugs to people considered varying-degrees of "crazy", and no one knows how or why they work? Who's the insane one here?
4. Liverite - Liverite is a "supplement" which promises to "clean your liver", "increase your energy" and "improve liver function". It's ingredients are listed on the website, and consist of a load of shit I've never heard of (except for "Vitamin B12"), and are mostly gobbledygook. For example, a "Hydrolysate" is defined as "the by -product of the process of hydrolysis", so what the fuck IS "Liver Hydrolysate"? Stuff taken from a cow or pigs liver and then dried out and powderized, of course.
Other ingredients include "17 (unspecified) Amino Acids".
It turns out the makers of Liverite have been the subject of much attention from the FTC for making outlandish claims about the efficacy of their products, and even making claims that Liverite is an effective treatment for certain liver diseases. They've been sued about three dozen times, but apparently are still in business, and still trying to convince people that "Liver Detox" is the key to Eternal health. There's apparently an entire line of Liverite Products, including Liverite for Men, Liverite for Women, Liverite for Albanian Dung Beetles, Liverite Ultimate LiverAid, Liverite 3-in-1 (for both sexes!), Liverite Sports, and now, Liverite with Milk Thistle Extract. Whatever the fuck that is.
Basically, Liverite is a collection of crap that you can find in any "Health Food Store" and it's only really useful ingredient might be the Vitamin B12. You can get it for about $29.00 a bottle, which is a lot to pay for stuff that'll make you shit like a shark and some B12. I think this is another"dietary supplement" which has taken on the "Organ Detox" theme (you can now "detox" your liver, colon, pancreas, kidneys, lungs, with "herbal remedies" of all sorts, nowadays) which is quite popular with the Natural Medicine and Osteopathic crowd, people who don't like doctors or pharmacology, and frankly, who can blame them? Reading up on some of these drugs has certainly opened my eyes, but the whole "Natural" movement leaves itself open to all sorts of quackery and charlatanism.
I'm not providing any links to the website, and fuck the commercial. This looks like a ripoff.
5. Lovaza - This is really just the extracts from fish oils that contain the Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which promise to help control your cholesterol levels, especially Triglycerides. In effect, it's an attempt to get some fish oils into people who don't like fish, or perhaps, may not be able to get enough fresh fish into their diet. That didn't sound so bad to me, so why the heck does Lovaza require a prescription?
Basically, because Lovaza is FDA-approved, it's therefore different than those Other Omega-3 pills you find on the health food shelf (the cheap, deadly, poisonous Health Food store pills that will kill you!).
If that doesn't convince you that Lovaza is the best goddamned Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement in the Universe, they then go on to tell you all about their "5-step purification process" which "helps remove mercury and other environmental toxins that may be present in fish oils." Oh, well, since you put it THAT way...
And how much does this FDA-approved, not-quite-but-more-Mercury-free-than-Brand-X Omega-3-Fatty-Acid-Dietary-Supplement cost you? About $160.00 a month. For that kind of money, you could probably afford to eat real fish three times a week.
My biggest issue with Lovaza is that it's not really a medicine, but it's marketed as if it were, which seems pretty douchey. Here's the website. While searching for the commercial, I found this Consumer Reports video on Fish Oil supplements.
6. Plavix - Plavix says it will protect you from that heart attack or stroke which you will most certainly have-- and which cannot be avoided-- like death and taxes. The commercial even shows an active Baby Boomer being pursued by a gurney, like Freddy Kreuger in one of those movies, just to make that point. By taking Plavix (along with aspirin), you'll be thinning your blood out, keeping your blood platelets from sticking together and forming blood clots which will kill you faster than ObamaCare. Why, that sounds dandy! Until you get to the side-effects.
The Plavix website lists them, thusly;
"In clinical trials, the most common side effects of PLAVIX were severe itching (pruritus), a severe rash characterized by the appearance of purplish spots or patches (purpura), diarrhea, and rash. Less common, but serious, side effects of PLAVIX may occur.
Tell your doctor if you have any bleeding or other problems while you are taking PLAVIX."
But that doesn't tell the whole story. If you take Plavix, you can look forward to: frequent bruising, "minor" bleeding, chest pain, swelling of the tongue and mouth, and my personal favorite, "black, hairy stools". I didn't know that was possible. Other side effects include: bleeding in the eye, bloody urine, sore throat, loss of appetite, pale skin, unspecified seizures, persistent headaches, speech problems, unexplained weight loss, unexplained vaginal bleeding, yellowing of the skin and eyes. I guess that's all preferable to a stroke. Oh, and I had to search the internet for those side effects -- because they're not listed on the Plavix site. Anywhere. Go figure!
Plavix will set you back about $90 a month -- pretty cheap for black, hairy stools and bloody urine, indeed.
7. Tineacide - Tineacide is produced by a company (Blaine Labs) that bills itself as "the leading antifungal specialists", which caused me to spew coffee when I read that. Tineacide is supposed to help cure toenail fungus, which I hear is a mighty common (and disgusting) condition. Of course, I'd just wash my feet more often, keep them dry, and not wear the same socks four days in a row or better, NOT swap four-day-old used socks with my brother, and avoid the problem altogether. But no; apparently, the cause of basic hygiene is lost on some Americans who will invariably have their toenails eaten away by a yellow fungus, in which case, they'll need non-prescription Tineacide, which is guaranteed to work-- in about a month or so!
This is a non-prescription creme, a combination of herbs, minerals, and "topical medicines" that you can rub into your filthy feet and fingernails, destroying the fungi that will eventually rot your nails and skin. It'll also work on Athlete's Foot, Ringworm and Jock Itch, the website says.
Just don't use Tineacide if you're pregnant or breast-feeding, because it might be poisonous in certain concentrations, and oh... it might be flammable, too. Keep yer feet and crotch away from open flames, will ya? It'll take the curl out of your permanent and pubes,too, which I guess is pretty funny, but also kinda disturbing. Available in "Regular" or "Physician's Strength" formulas! It costs between $14 and $19 a bottle.
Here's the commercial. Oh, and you get a free nail-clipper with it...I guess to inspire you to beat the dreaded menace of toenail fungus?