Monday, May 17, 2010

Bad Medicine Returns!

Another installment on my regular feature on the bewildering array of "medicines" being heavily marketed on television nowadays. If you wish to see all the installments in this feature, simply click the "Bad Medicine" tag at the bottom of this post.

This time we have a great list of ultra-expensive, the cure-is-often-worse-than-the-malady crap being heavily flogged on American television as The Answer for every problem from Hearing Loss, to Acne, to Erectile Dysfunction. This month's list contains an acne cure, a "homeopathic cure" for tinnitus, and something to help you unblock your nose (because tissues apparently get really expensive), and a brand-spanking-new disease that affects Men in such as way as they don't have the energy to even play a round of golf! The horror!

Certainly all threats to the health and safety of the American public! I can see the Pharmaceutical Bosses now; "Quick; invent an expensive medicine that gives someone the energy for golf, but makes his testicles droop, costs $200 a pop, and produce an expensive commercial that can be shown on TV every 15 minutes!".

Anyways, back to this months' Candidates for Really Bad Medicines:

1. Embrel - is a lovely little medicine being marketed as a cure to Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), and which is also used to treat those afflicted with Psoriasis. It is taken by injection, and it has some rather unusual side-effects. Since Embrel depresses the immune system, you're very likely to get severe viral, fungal and bacteriological infections, which have actually killed Embrel-using patients. There's also warnings about an increased incidence of Tuberculosis, "unusual" cancers, lymphoma, seizures, heart failure, lupus and hepatitis, and on the website ( there's this little blurb:

"These are not all the side effects with Embrel. Tell your Doctor about any Side Effect which bothers you or does not go away."

So, you can expect side-effects that even the people who made and tested this piece of shit can't identify! Oh, and make certain you aren't exposed to chicken pox while taking Embrel because...well, they don't exactly say WHY you should avoid the chicken pox, only that you must.

By the way, Embrel costs about $12,000 for a year's prescription.

I couldn't find the Embrel commercial itself on YouTube, but I did find a lot of stuff showing people self-injecting Embrel, which you can look at yourself if you desire, as I find that stuff to be on the same level as snuff porn.

2. Epiduo - The really annoying thing about the Epiduo commercial, is Tyler B., the typical Gen Y slacker who is hopelessly cursed with acne. Despite the best advice and help given to him by the Supermarket Manager, a Dermatologist, and a thorough scrub with Epiduo Gel, Tyler's new acne-free face is still accompanied by his Jughead sense of fashion. I mean, doesn't the kid have any other clothes? And when did the knit wool cap become cool? I have to get out more and frequent skater parks, I guess, because I am soooo not with it! The really disturbing thing about Tyler is that if you were advertising a product which is supposed to dry up acne, how is it that you found such a greasy-looking kid to be the front man?

Anyways, about Epiduo; According to the Epiduo website it's medication is far more effective than traditional methods of treating acne, and far less severe. In fact, it's so superior and non-severe that they hardly bother to list the side effects form Epiduo gel --beyond the standard warnings of "Stay out of sunlight", "your skin may get irritated", "keep it away from your eyes and mouth", and the ever-popular "Oh-and-don't-get-Pregnant-while-using-Epiduo" routine, like this;

It is not known whether this medication is harmful to an unborn baby. Before using Epiduo, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether adapalene and benzoyl peroxide passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use Epiduo without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

It turns out that, perhaps, Epiduo is a better answer for acne, because it's so difficult to find information on any really bad side effects...aside from swelling of the face and lips, and the baby thing. However, before you jump for joy at the thought of your zits being gone forever, please take note of the fact that Eipduo will set you back about $200 for every prescription, and that, alas, since puberty is a years-long proposition, you're probably going to need multiple scripts. But, hey, you can console yourself by visiting the really-neat looking website!

3. Glyco-Stat - this is not actually a medicine, but another of those "nutritional supplements" which caters top a segment of the market which believes that "natural" and homeopathic remedies are better than modern pharmacology. Glyco-stat is an appetite suppressor, and glucose-regulator which might be helpful to those seeking to lose weight or diabetics. The website doesn't actually make those claims, but it's what I inferred from the information available. Please take note of all the asterisks (*) which indicate a disclaimer for every claim made for this supplement -- all spelled out at the bottom of the page.

As is usual for these sorts of things, the advertisement touts the effectiveness of "Asian" herbs and plants (the usual pitch makes references to 5,000 years of Chinese herbology, and now Indian traditional medicine is all the rage). This pitch is part-and-parcel of the usual "Natural Suppliment" marketing strategy -- it's all about giving you the impression that these things are somehow mystical secrets that Big Pharma doesn't want you to know about because they want to poison you and steal your money, and therefore, the "Natural Supplement" is both better for you and much cheaper. The idea that something that comes from a plant rather than a vat is supposed to make you feel better about it, and it's usually this "feeling better" that more often than not affects an actual change (this is known as the Placebo Effect). More often than not, the actual problem which led you to take the "All Natural Supplement" is never actually addressed. In any case,the "supplement" contains very little of the active ingredient, and a whole lot of fillers (like rice, and wheat flour). All for $21.00 a bottle.

I could not find the Glyco-Stat commercial on YouTube.

4. Low-T Syndrome - Well, it had to happen at some point. You just knew that with the Pussification of America, it would come to this:

Men are now victims of Menopause.

And we don't mean that their menopausal wives drive them crazy, or even to murder and suicide, we mean they're getting their own male version of menopause.

It's called Low-T Syndrome ("T" standing for Testosterone, which is apropos; as most men nowadays have no balls, or have been emasculated by Feminazis), and it's symptoms include Decreased Sex Drive, Loss of Energy, Body changes (weight gain, development of Moobs, or Man-boobs), Mood changes, and Sexual Dysfunction (here we go with the Erectile Dysfunction shit again!). Long before everyone became a Victim of Something, this used to be called "Getting Old", and people dealt with it. But not now; now you can take Wonder Drugs and solve all your problems. I'll bet that most of those Wonder Drugs are probably named Viagra and Cialis.

Low T Syndrome sounds like a marketing ploy to me. The website is rather nebulous about just what Low-T is and what options (besides "See your doctor for a prescription") are available to the pudgy, paunchy, had-the-shit-beat-out-of-them-by-life, the-wife-is-sagging-so-much-it's-like-screwing-a-shar-pei curmudgeons who apparently suffer from Male Menopause -- and I'm beginning to wonder how many of them are actually gay.

5. Niaspan - Niaspan is basically a vitamin-B supplement that is used to treat people at risk of coronary artery disease. Having been treated for this very condition myself, I can assure you that an infusion of B-complex vitamins (especially B12) is most efficacious. B-complex keeps arteries pliable, and also helps eliminate or control some of the nastier fatty elements in your blood which might cause clots. I used to take about 400 mcg of B12 twice a week, personally, and it does work wonders.

Niaspan is Vitamin B3, which is otherwise known to the general public as Niacin (and most people only know that from reading the back of the cereal box). The great virtues of Niaspan seem to be that it's a) time-released Niacin (meaning you don't have to remember to take your supplement as often), and b) when used in conjunction with other medications (like statins), it reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. The website is here (

Normally, I would consider this a good thing, especially considering my own experience with B-complex supplements. However, Niapsan costs about $150 for a 750mg dose. For about $10.00 you could buy a decent B-complex supplement from your local Supermarket or Pharmacy which is just as good. The only difference is that Niaspan requires you to take fewer pills (about half as many). You could also save a ton of money by eating more spinach and other leafy greens. The side effects are really rather mild, when compared to the other possibilities, and so the risk factor is very small, but the price is simply too high for the supposed benefit.

However, what makes Niaspan really objectionable (to me) is that it's another in a line of otherwise-useful medicines which aren't being marketed so much on their efficacy, as they are on their convenience factor. The main selling point (other than "we help prevent heart attack and stroke") is that you only need to take enough time out of your busy schedule to take one pill -- instead of two or three -- and that somehow, this is a revolution in modern medicine that helps people lead "more active" lifestyles (and is worth a $150.00 prescription). This is the same logic behind the once-a-month-superdose medications that have often-horrific and toxic side effects (because of the size of the dosage itself), but hey, at least you don't have to devote 18 seconds a day to the Pill-and-Glass-of-Water routine. This appeals to aging Baby Boomers who are under the mistaken impression that Eternal-Youth-In-As-Little-Time-As-Possible is a real option in their later years.

7. Omnaris - the truly-annoying thing about Omnaris is the commercial, in which attacking your nasal allergies is likened to a military operation, complete with commandos, dramatic voice over and the Regimental shouting of the slogan (Omnaris, to the Nose!). Your plugged nostrils due to allergy are taken as seriously as any National Security issue, or Important Military Objective, worthy of calling out the SEALs and Green Berets! This idea is further stressed by the picture of the doctor-cum-General Patton in his white lab coat saluting on the webpage (

Omnaris is intended for the treatment of "Nasal Allergy Symptoms", which is pretty generic. There are no specific symptoms (apart from runny noses and clogged sinuses), or specific maladies noted on the website. The terms "Environmental allergies, Outdoor Allergies and Indoor Allergies" are used an awful lot, but no one explains exactly what those might be(I can guess, but won't).

However, never fear; Omnaris is here to enable you to breathe! The generic version will cost you $65 for 100 doses, which isn't that bad if your allergies are such that traditional antihistamines (over-the-counter-stuff, or a nice bowl of oatmeal every morning) don't work for you. I just wish that commercial didn't suck so hard, and would get out of my head!

5. Quietus - This is another homeopathic remedy for those who suffer from tinnitus, a persistent ringing or buzzing in the ears. The website claims that Quietus was discovered by a rock drummer, and this is supposed to be proof positive that someone knows what he's talking about, and who the fuck needs doctors anyways ? (why, that inspires confidence right there! I used to be a rock drummer too, and I know just what unrecognized geniuses we truly are...).

Tinnitus is no laughing matter, and it literally drives people batty and affects their lives in many negative ways. However, I'm leery of something that a) doesn't advertise it's price on it's own website (it'll cost you $99.95 for a 30-day supply), b) identifies it's inventor by only his first name, and c) doesn't even give you any indication of what is in the "medicine" it's selling. If you can find a list of ingredients, or a discussion of side effects on that website I'll give you a great big kiss. But I guess the picture of the real pretty operator who is standing by to take your order, and the guy i the white lab coat, are supposed to make you feel better about buying a maybe-bogus Homeopathic Remedy with no Information available to inform your purchase.

As of this writing, there is no "cure" for tinnitus, and there are few real options beyond surgery, which is still no guarantee. There seems to be an awful lot of "scam buzz" on the internet about Quietus, and the FTC might be investigating them for their "30-day Money Back Trial Offer" routine in which involves your credit cards.

I couldn't track the TV commercial I saw down online, but the one on the website with "Bernard The Drummer" was stupid and vague enough.

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