Ever Heard That Before?
At the end of a long exhausting day, I appreciate the opportunity to sit down and “chill” as my kids say. As empty nesters, my husband & I have fallen into a routine of eating our dinner on our TV trays in front of the news and other programming. Now I won’t apologize for enjoying my TV time because I have earned and need it. But I will tell you that I am enjoying “regular” TV less and less because I see more pharmacy ads and less of my favorite TV shows. Is it just me? It feels like the majority of commercials that I see are touting a new medication.
Thankfully, our kids gave us a fancy Amazon Fire TV box for Christmas. Admittedly, it is cool and we are still trying to figure it out. We have lots of choices for movies and TV series that frankly, we never knew existed. It has turned out to be the gift that we did not realize that we needed. There is one striking realization that has occurred to us since utilizing this gadget. We have confirmed what we always suspected before, the length of TV shows are very short and commercials occupy the majority of programming time.
It seems that any time I turn on TV no matter what time of day or night, I never land on a TV show in progress. And mostly I just see commercials, the majority of which are mostly medication commercials.
About The Meds…
Let’s See if any of these ring a bell. Allow me to create a vision for you:
It was a warm spring night. We arrived at what would prove to be an Eliquis night of fun. The event was both a fundraiser and party to Celebrex a good cause. As we approached the gala, I could smell the fragrant Hyacinths and Humira. We could hear the sounds of old familiar Lyrica being played by the band. They offered dancing and Yaz, even a California Shag for those who could Abilify with ease. Of course after having a drink or two of Xeljanz, I can never resist dancing to certain songs. If I over-do however, I can always count on a sore Latuda the next day. Somehow I always manage to hang on until the last song the band plays. Let’s face it, dressing up on occasion and attending such a function has a great Effexor on all of us. And just because I dress up in my fancy attire does not make me an Opdivo. In fact, the Rexulti is just the opposite. I often leave these functions knowing that my participation has helped a good cause, and that’s a feeling that will Neulasta. But a word of caution, on occasion the excessive partying toasts and celebration of a job well-done can lead to a serious case of Tamiflu the next day.
Where do these drug companies come up with these medication titles? If I am being honest, I am more entertained by the names than the content of the commercials..at least until all of the warnings about the medication start. These commercials are typically emotion-heavy and light on facts. Also, the images frequently confuse me on many of the commercials. My husband & I are still trying to figure out why the heck the two people are sitting side-by-side in matching bath tubs. What is interesting to me is that pharmaceutical ad spend is somewhere in the 4.5 billion dollar range. I am not sure who these commercials are benefiting? Perhaps the corporate lawyers have told their pharmaceutical employers that due to potential liability, they must put these commercial warnings on TV, I am sure that I don’t know.
Have You Listened To These Warnings?
In reality these medication warnings are scary, particularly if you or someone you know experiences them. But to listen to them being presented in rapid gunfire succession almost makes you wonder if you’re being punked..like who would want to try some of these drugs?
- May cause depression or If your depression worsens
- If you experience changes in behavior or have thoughts of suicide..really? Yikes!
- If you have a high fever; stiff muscles & confusion; uncontrollable muscle movements; chest pain; digestive problems; painful swallowing or joint pain..
Geez, I have to ask myself if maybe the side effects are worse than my original medical issue(s). Or maybe that is the point! These companies are doing us a favor by pointing out that we may potentially have it a lot worse..just look at all of these possible side effects we COULD have if we take their drug.
And of course..the ultimate warning: Taking __________may have an increased risk of stroke or DEATH. Holy Smokes…these kinds of warning just make me want to live with the problem. It kind of sounds like a crap-shoot anyway, might as well err on the side of caution and L-I-V-E!
Anyway, for all of my Sjoggie-Mates and chronically ill friends out there, we already have most of those symptoms anyway..so we are not looking to increase or exacerbate them.
And Guess What?
These commercials tell us to go ask our physicians if __________medication is appropriate for us? Again, this is a critical miss for the people who have created these commercials. Because this would assume that our physicians give us enough time to ask questions, which many do not. Patients who are able to ask this kind of question of their physician just annoy the physician. I get it. They have had multiple patients coming in daily asking if the medication that they saw on TV last night would be a good one to try.
Let’s face it..professional/chronically ill patients (defined as patients who have learned how to advocate for themselves and do not experience intimidation from doctors or others for standing up for themselves) know better than to squander their tiny window of appointment time by asking silly TV commercial meds questions.
So what’s a person to do? Avoid these drugs at all costs or live dangerously and take a chance? Or probably the same thing that most of do anyway (or should do) research any medication before starting to take it. And meanwhile, try to enjoy the fierce pharma barrage of commercials with the humor that they have earned.
In addition to your own sources of medication research, I will add that I have a site that I like to visit to check out medications. The site is: AskAPatient.com. This site includes medications from A ~ Z and random people’s responses to them (good, bad or the jury is still out). Individuals complete a form about the medication they took or are currently taking and then indicate whether the medication has been helpful or otherwise. Some would argue that this type of information is completely anectdotal, but I find it helpful, particularly for newer medications which have not been in the market very long.
Until Next Time…
SjoDry and Smiling