brought to you by Lunesta, Viagra, Celexa, Celebrex, Lyrica, Cymbalta…

I just finished watching the Nightly News with Brian Williams on NBC and I am feeling quite annoyed. Why? Well besides the fact that there is not one news media source viewers can turn to for unbiased reporting-not only are we not being provided proper information, we are overwhelmingly bombarded with prescription drug ads. Put into perspective: NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, FOX, etc., etc. are really just legal drug pushers. I mean seriously, have you noticed the ever-increasing number of prescription drug ads making their way into your home? It’s pretty nauseating. The way the ad manipulates you into believing taking their pill will fix your eczema, asthma, cholesterol, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, psoriasis, penile dysfunction, and so on and so forth. One thing we need to remember is that drugs target the symptom not the cause.

Cue good looking, in-shape actor or actress running down the beach along side their mate, faces aglow with the happiness that has been bestowed upon them from their prescription medication. Uh. Puke. Now don’t get me wrong, I do realize that prescription medication is warranted in society and I have no doubt that it has helped millions of people with their conditions, ailments, and diseases whatever they may be. What I don’t get is the purpose of selling the medication over the television. Seriously, shouldn’t your doctor be the one who discusses and prescribes the medications indicative of your condition? It’s obvious that prescription drug ads are a way for pharmaceutical companies to expand their market and increase their profits. Making up new conditions, such as LowT (low testosterone) or not-so-lush lashes (Latisse). It’s called ‘disease mongering’ and it’s used to widen their client base by getting you to ask your doctor if you have this particular condition and then having him/her prescribe the drug. Walla! Sold!

To date, the United States and New Zealand are the only TWO nations in the ENTIRE WORLD that permits Direct to Consumer (DTC) advertising for prescription drugs. Big Pharma spends over 4 billion dollars in DTC advertising and it is well worth it. As Americans, we consume over 40% of the world’s prescription drugs! Advertising has helped fuel sales. Last year, the top 15 prescription products topped $58 billion in sales, IMS Health says. The industry’s biggest seller was Lipitor, with $7.8 billion in sales. Nexium is the second-best at $5.9 billion.

Besides the corrupt government revolving door between the FDA, Big Pharma, and the drug lobby, one of the biggest irks for me when it comes to pushing prescription drugs on people is the use of celebrities. Celebrities pushing prescription drugs in TV ads, “It’s perfectly legal; it’s just completely immoral,” said Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of the Public Citizen Health Research Group. Wolfe worries that patients will ask for a drug or prescription cream because the celebrity appeal outweighs the side effects or risks.

Hello, Brooke Shields. How many of you out there want her eyelashes after seeing her in the Latisse commercials? Come on gals. “Grow longer, grow fuller and darker lashes with Latisse.” Vomit.

Add in the likes of Sally Field (Boniva), Antonio Banderas (Nasonex), Michael Welch (Aczone), Jessica Simpson (Proactiv), Phil Mickelson (Enbrel), Bob Dole (Viagra), Virginia Madsen (Botox), Nick Jonas (Lantus, Metformin), and the list goes on and on.

Needless to say, drug commercials drive me insane. The beautiful outdoor scenery, palm trees, a light breeze, birds singing, smiling faces. Ugh! The worst part is when they happily rattle off all of the side effects that take up half the commercial. How do they make the following sound so good? Like it’s no big deal.

[Serious allergic reactions Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and/or throat Difficulty breathing Difficulty swallowing Anemia Decreased levels of potassium Decreased levels of sodium Dizziness Excessive bleeding (sometimes fatal) Facial flushing Fainting (syncope) Fast heartbeat (tachycardia) Heart attack High blood pressure (hypertension) Increased levels of potassium Low blood pressure (hypotension) Low blood cell counts Palpitations Perpetual erection (priapism) Postural hypotension Slow heartbeat (bradycardia) Thrombosis (clotting) Amnesia Dizziness (vertigo) Seizures Speech disorder Stroke Transient ischemic atychosis Worsening of epilepsy Abdominal pain Colitis Constipation Diarrhea Dry mouth Dyspepsia Intestinal bleeding Nausea Rectal bleeding Stomach bleeding Stomach pain Upset Stomach (indigestion) Vomiting Acute kidney failure Chronic kidney failure Hepatitus Jaundice Liver damage Cold symptoms Cough Flu-like symptoms Lower respiratory infection Fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) Pulmonary thrombosis Shortness of breath (dyspnea) Sore throat Upper respiratory infection Aggression Agitation Anxiety Confusion Depression Hallucinations Hostile Hyperactive Impulsive Irritable Panicky Personality disorder Overly excited Severely restless (akathisia) Sleeplessness (insomnia) Suicide Weakness (asthenia)….]

“Ask your doctor if (insert any medication here) is right for you and get back to the things that matter.”

I obviously try and mute the commercial or DVR the program to avoid subjecting myself to such grandiloquence.

I’m afraid if I don’t my HEAD will EXPLODE.

How’s that for a side effect?

dr. lisa

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10 thoughts on “brought to you by Lunesta, Viagra, Celexa, Celebrex, Lyrica, Cymbalta…

  1. My husband and I were just talking about this same topic last night. And, what I find amazing is that I’ve had many instances with doctors as well where they’ve asked me what medicine I think I need or would like to try. And, if I suggest a med, they’ll prescribe it. It definitely catches me off guard because I am no means a doctor – nor should I be telling the doctor what I need, if I even need anything at all. It’s very sad.

    • I absolutely agree, Heather. It drives me crazy as well. How backwards is it that the doctor is asking you what you need in terms of prescription medication???!!!!! Oh America.

  2. I agree with EVERYTHING you said. EVERYTHING!!!

    I have been a good girl my whole life and listened to my doctors. I’ve done what they said and it almost killed me because of the drugs they prescribed me.
    In 2004, I finally started seeing a Chiropractor for another back injury, this time it was an Annular Fisher (sp) to go along with all my other back problems, long story short, I should have been going to the Chiropractor all along because it was my back and neck injuries that were causing most all my health problems. With my brothers help reading about things like Willow tree bark tentures and other natural medicines, I have managed to reduce myself to 1 medicine and I intend on weaning myself off that one too.
    We need to look at what the Indians and early Settlers used for medicine. They used what God put here on this earth, we call these things weeds, plants, trees, etc.; they call them medicine.

  3. Thank you! I so agree. And the pharmicalmafia in general really bugs me. I very easily could have become one of those statistics of people with back injuries who became hooked on prescription pain meds. Thankfully, I discovered Energy Medicine. I am a big fan of chiropractic care; and think it’s even better when combined with someone experienced with energy work. But, if people learned that they can heal themselves (and learn about plants and herbs), we wouldn’t need the drug companies any more. Great article.

  4. What’s your take on medicating 3yo’s for “ADD”? Yes, it’s happening. In America, and it scares the hell out of me. WHY are we doing this, Dr. L? Any ideas?

    Btw… my son is now homeschooling because the school was pushing us so hard to put him on meds. Under duress, we took him to a psychiatrist who, after talking with him for ten minutes, put him on Straterra. Six weeks later he was removed from school because his behavior was completely out of control. A special ed teacher told us she’s “seen this before” and that medicating kids for ADD who don’t actually have ADD makes their behavior problems worse. Go figure.

    That’s not to say that meds are always bad. I have known kids who’ve been helped by medication, whose behavior has improved and who actually tell their parents they “feel better” when on their meds. 99% of the time, they eventually wean off the drugs and learn to cope with their unique ways of thinking, learning and accomplishing tasks. The drugs are a temporary support, and in that, do have a place. My concern is that they are wildly over-prescribed.

    Thanks for speaking out. We need a wake-up call.

    Rejoicing in the day,
    -Mary

    • Hi Mary! Thanks for commenting. I touched a little on this subject in a post called, Boo! Wake Up! October archives. And Pill Poppin’ before Kindergarten, November archives.
      My personal opinion is yes, we are over-medicating our kids. 1 in 70 preschoolers is on an anti-psychotic in this country. Crazy! I think because of the loose hands in prescriptions we are headed into an even bigger problem as these kids grow older.
      I agree that medication has it’s place, but I think that docs here are too quick to give them. I also have a major problem with docs who prescribe a medication after a 10 minute meeting or appointment with a child. Hopefully we find solutions for our kids before it gets more out of hand. I hope that parents understand that these drugs (in most cases) should be temporary. The AAP just extended the use for ADD meds from kids 6 and up to include all kids 4 and up. I mean if our kids are getting sleeping pills and psychotropics at age 5, what the heck are they gonna need at age 10, 15, 20? I get sick just thinking about it!
      In health,
      Lisa

  5. You forgot “May cause death” or “…which may be fatal”. WE AMERICANS ARE NUTS!! Why would someone take a drug that has possible side effects that are worse than the symptoms they’re starting with??? (Shaking My Head!)

  6. Pingback: Mass Media: An Unreliable Source? | Mommy OM

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