Sunday, February 17, 2019

Self diagnosis

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog about all the prescription drug commercials on television these days.

Based on the volume of the type of commercials I see, I don't know what we, as American consumers, purchase more – beer, cars or pharmaceuticals.

The blog I wrote back then worried about all the side effects the drugs that are meant to cure you can actually be worse than the malady you are treating. You know, the rapidly speaking voice at the end of the commercial that tells you that treating erectile dysfunction with this particular drug might actually cause your death. (Suddenly, being a Sixty-Minute Man doesn't sound so appealing anymore).

 Anyway, since then, the proliferation of prescription pharmaceutical ads on the air seems to have actually increased.

The other morning I was keeping track of the ads so I could write this blog. In the course of less than an hour, I counted nine such commercials. There were probably more because I walked away from the tube from time to time and for several reasons.

But it was astonishing to me nonetheless.

It got me to wondering if we could self-diagnose ourselves as we sit in front of the tube mindlessly eating our pizzas and guzzling our beers. (Is there a pharmaceutical for that?)

In less than an hour, I saw ads for Vraylar, Ageless Male Max (OK, not a scrip, but bear with me), Xarelto, Linzess, Taltz, Celebrex, Ambien, Prevagen and Repatha.


I guess it's possible I could wake up one day feeling a little nauseous and discovering that my symptoms match those on the Linzess commercial. Hey, Doc, I know what's wrong with me. Write me a prescription.

Or maybe my complexion is spotty. Where's my Taltz, Doc?

OK, OK. I am taking Eliquis to thin my blood as a way to treat my afib. But that was at the recommendation of my cardiologist, who hooked me up to various machines and computers to get her readouts. It was not a self diagnosis.

If it was up to me (actually, maybe it is, but I was trained to wrestle with words, not maladies. I am not a physician), I'd self diagnose my way out of taking any drugs at all. All those pill bottles on the counter make me feel like an old person.

I did google "pharmaceutical ads on TV" and found a couple sites that more or less confirm the burgeoning prevalence of these ads on television. Big Pharma, apparently, spends upwards of $4 billion annually just to advertise the top 10 prescription drugs in the country.

And, there is a movement to take these ads off the air.

Good luck with that.

I have a headache...

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