The crazytown of prescription drugs

April 28, 2015
"The Mayor of Crazytown is on the line for you."

“The Mayor of Crazy Town is on the line for you.”

Let me say it outright: I do not believe prescription drugs should be marketed to the general public. I don’t know what the government was thinking when they allowed that, since the only benefit could be to sell more drugs by drumming up patient demand.

Patients, however, know nothing about pharmacology or medicine. Nothing good can come of their pressing their doctors to get a particular drug.

I understand that clinical depression is a serious thing that can be helped by medication and I am all for that, as long as it is up to a psychiatrist to choose the drug. Some pretty heavy-duty anti-psychotics are being marketed to the public as treatments for simple depression today, a situation which makes me crazy.

In fact, it’s like Crazy Town out there–these are serious drugs with serious side effects–do we really want patients clamoring for them?

Which brings me to the TV ads for prescription depression drugs, which are required (apparently) to list all significant and possible side effects. These prescription drug warnings can make a TV ad seem like a Saturday Night Live satire.

Such was the case the other night, when M and I saw an ad for a drug called Latuda.  We were riveted to it, especially the warnings. Here they are:

If you’re struggling with bipolar depression…Ask your doctor if once a day Latuda may help you….Latuda is not for everyone…call your doctor about unusual mood changes, behaviors or suicidal thoughts; anti-depressants can increase these in children, teens and young adults. Elderly dementia patients on Latudea have an increased risk of death or stroke.

Call your doctor about fever, stiff muscles or confusion as these may be signs of a life-threatening reaction or if you have uncontrollable muscle movements as these may be permanent.  High blood sugar has been seen..and in extreme cases can lead to coma or death. Other risks include decreased white blood cells, which can be fatal…dizziness on standing, seizures, increased cholesterol, weight or prolactin; trouble swallowing and impaired judgment. Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice. Use caution before driving or operating machinery. There are paths for treating bipolar depression…ask your doctor if Latuda is right for you.

Wait a minute. Uncontrollable muscle movements may be PERMANENT???  Imagine that you’ve asked your doctor for this drug, take it, and get this kind of permanent side effect. PERMANENT, as in “won’t go away.”  Not to mention the multiple opportunities to die from the drug.

It wasn’t funny, but M and I began to laugh. “Seriously? Who would TAKE this drug?” he asked. “Doesn’t this sound like a satire?”

I get that people in a Willam Styron-like black hole of depression are desperate for relief. At the same time, WTF kind of drugs are we giving them? And suggesting they ask their physicians for?

An even bigger issue is the approval process for drugs here in the U.S., in which pharmaceutical companies are in bed with physicians doing the testing and the FDA. It is a complex system that works against drug safety, in my opinion.  Reform is necessary, but big drug companies have deep pockets and active lobbies.

Who is really looking out for the consumer and our safety? It’s definitely Crazy Town out there. Take as few prescription drugs as you possibly can.

Maybe we should all just smoke weed. It’s far safer.




41 comments on “The crazytown of prescription drugs
  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    I try to take as few drugs as humanly possible. I don’t want to put poisons into my body unnecessarily.

  2. Sandy says:

    Yes, it is crazy the side effects that are possible with a lot of prescription drugs. You have to weigh the pros and cons for sure. Some of them would never be an option because I’d be too scared of the side effects, LOL!

  3. These drug companies make me crazy! My husband and I watch these commercials the same way, laughing (horrifically). I’m very leery of medicines that are prescribed to me and my doctor and I fight about it all the time. They prescribed me Lyrica it almost killed me, Sulfasalazine, Methotrexate all the same things. According to my Docs I should be taking 3 Percocet every single day. Can you imagine, I sleep for 2 days with just one, where would my poor mom be? That is why I medicate myself the way that I told you. I was taking 19 pills a day, every single day, waiting for my stomach to be destroyed. Now, I take 10 and 3 of those are vitamins, 2 are immunosuppressants twice a day, 1 steroid, and 2 non-narcotic pain relievers. Not only am I saving my stomach (except for a few extra snacks at night haha) I’m saving about $400 a month. Some people wrinkle their noses I’m sure, but it is saving my life while giving me back my life at the same time. Those same people that sit in judgement go home and drink a case of beer or a bottle of wine. I don’t get that, I don’t drink at all!

  4. Diane says:

    Oh. My. Word. Seriously? We, too, make fun of the commercials, all the while wondering, as your husby did, who on earth would risk them. Desperation, truly. I have an acquaintance who was put on something to control her anxiety. And she now suffers from those permanent muscle spasms. It’s quite horrific. And then there’s also the worry of combining drugs. So I take nothing but vitamins and minerals. It’s just safer.

  5. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I have the same reaction to those commercials. The warnings are totally nuts. You are so right that these drugs should not be marketed to the public.

  6. I had no idea you could get drugs without a prescription. I agree this could be very dangerous.

  7. Hi Carol! Yes it is crazy town for sure. Not only did a doctor prescribe Previcid for my husband’s GERD…when Thom complained about the side effects he was told 2 things….#1 maybe you need to take more!!! WTH! #2 Those side effects you say you are having are not listed as side effects that come with this drug so you must be wrong. Again WTH! In today’s world we definitely need to hang up on crazy town! ~Kathy

  8. This is one of my pet peeves too Carol. I hate these ads on TV. Worst idea in a long time!

  9. Jeanine says:

    I rarely take anything with the acception of my migraine preventive meds. I’ve been on them for years. I go off and I end up in the hospital. I try to stay away from any unnecessary medicines at all costs

  10. Kim says:

    I’ve been on generic Lexapro for a year now and it has helped me. I’m monitored each month by a psychiatrist who can be sure I am okay and don’t have any serious side effects or other issues.

    That said, I do NOT think it is something that should be marketed freely, much like Latuda is. Granted, Lexapro isn’t (that I know of) but I am with you 100% on this. Depression and bi-polar disorder are two serious diseases and should be treated as such and shouldn’t be on a TV commercial.

  11. After failed back surgery I have to take some medicines and I often worry about the long term effect of the motrin as I don’t know what may happen.

  12. Liz Mays says:

    These big pharmaceutical companies seem to have much more control over drug regulation than they should. I’m sure they love the fact that the drugs are so easily acquired.

  13. Britney says:

    This is great information! Thanks for sharing!

  14. I don’t know why they need to be marketed. I think it just makes them more expensive.

  15. Sheryl says:

    I believe that the US and New Zealand are the only two countries that advertise prescription drugs. I can’t stand all those ads…they’re rather deceptive and annoying, don’t you think?

  16. I respect everyone’s choices and decisions yet I still think that medicines do more good than harm specially those that have been in the market for long and have been fully tested. All these disclaimers on ads are mostly because of lawsuits. I thank the times that we live now where there is science and a lot of investment for us to live longer and better lives. You know my position regarding marihuana I do not agree with it.

  17. Anita Irlen says:

    This marketing of prescriptions drugs is horrible. I would like to add just one thing. In the past, I worked with the severely mentally ill for a long time. I know that in most of the United States, it is almost impossible to get a psychiatrist. As far as I know, there is actually a shortage of them, and that’s why they are now marketing psyche drugs to general practitioners. Thanks.


  18. we would be short a lot of entertainment. I love hearing about all the side effects…hilarious. It’s so stupid to have drug commercials the whole thing is funny to me. I’m going to my doctor…I can’t remember the name of the med, doctor, but here is the list of side effects….can I have some?

  19. J.Q. Rose says:

    We always mute commercials now. Don t even listen to them, especially drugs. I’m afraid with the doctors’ patient load, it’s so much quicker to offer a pill instead of taking time to a actually discuss the patient’s illness and treatment.

  20. What’s crazy is that as I began to get into this piece, the Latuda commercial popped into my mind. It does indeed sound like an SNL skit. And the drug name sounds like it’s prescribed to to treat something like racial tension.

    I hadn’t thought about the fact that these strong drugs don’t need to be marketed directly to the public, but you have an excellent point. Seems like this could be a large, unruly can of worms.

  21. I’m all for being your own best advocate, especially when it comes to your own health. But, that being said, the ads on tv for various prescription drugs are ludicrous. Why on earth would anyone want to try those drugs with the multitude of potential side effects (um, death is a biggie for me). I’m grateful to be relatively healthy and have an awareness that self-medication and over-indulgence can be dangerous things. 🙂

  22. I can’t stand prescription drug ads. It is very frustrating when they list the warnings so fast at the very end! Sometimes, I even wonder if the drug is even worth it. I am with you on this..

  23. Paula Schuck says:

    The list of side effects often times seem worse than the condition they are taken for. It’s horrifying.

  24. WendysHat says:

    I hate the commercials and promises of what they can do and worse is the side effects. I think there is too much over use of medications today.

  25. I used to not want to take anything- even Tylenol. But that has changed a little as I’ve gotten older. But heavy duty stuff? I agree with you.

  26. Jeff Foxworthy did a pretty good rant about this about 20 years ago (…and anal leakage). I remember when the ad rules were loosened and many of the concerns you say were expressed then. And many of them have come true.

    And once you are in the prescription trap, it is very difficult to get out of it.

    Yes, there are a lot of people that need them. But it does appear too many take them.

  27. Zoe Campos says:

    As you mentioned, I don’t know anything about pharmacology or medicine. I haven’t been sick for a long time and this is my first time catching a fever in a while. Instead of taking random medicine, I think it would be safer to visit a pharmacy and directly ask professionals for any safe drug that I could take for my symptoms.

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