Saturday, May 9, 2009

Taking the cure

If you've spent much time reading here -- and honestly, who hasn't?* -- you might remember that one thing I find very amusing is how drugs that are meant to cure medical problems often have side effects that are worse than the disease they were supposed to help you recover from.

Here are a few I've come across recently on television and magazines that are, in my opinion, particularly funny:

1) There's a common drug out there that proposes to treat, er-...erectile dysfunction. Yet two of the common side effects are diarrhea and headaches. Yes, you read that correctly. First of all, who wouldn't feel romantically inclined after experiencing a bout of diarrhea? I believe I may have seen on the National Geographic Channel or similar that in some cultures, explosive diarrhea is a mating signal that simply can't be ignored, even more powerful than using “Do you believe in love at first sight or should I walk past again?” as a pick up line. Or I may have just totally made that up.

Secondly, a headache? Taking a drug to cure erectile dysfunction and then winding up with a headache is a piece of delicious irony for sure.

Another side effect of this drug is temporary loss of vision, which would be alarming. Because, gentlemen, you might be all ready to woo your lady-love, but be unable to find her. And it would be really cruel, ladies, to slink quietly around the room calling out "Polo!" at intervals.

2) One well-known pain medication had this interesting sentence on an internet prescription drug information site under the side effects tab: "Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert."

Do anything that requires you to be awake and alert?

I'm not sure about everyone else, but the only thing I do that doesn't require me to be awake and alert is, well, sleeping. When I am asleep, I am neither awake nor alert. For everything else, I pretty much have to have my eyes open and my brain functioning.

Some of the less serious side effects include nausea, vomiting and anxiety, which kind of begs the question: If you're taking this medication to keep pain at bay and the only things you're good for while taking it (other than sleeping) are throwing up and feeling anxious and upset, then aren't you just kind of messed up either way you go? Yikes.

3) A familiar over-the-counter medication for reversing hair loss can help guys fill in that worrisome bald spot, but considering that two of the side effects of this medication are weight gain and "unwanted growth of hair elsewhere on the body," I think a person would have to give this careful consideration.

First of all, many women find bald men attractive. If you're looking for a lady to share your life with, it might just be best to shave off whatever hair you have remaining and try to find one of those girls: think Chris Daughtry! Think Tom Colicchio! Because I hardly think that it's going to be helpful to have a full head of thick, sexy hair and a great big paunch drooping over your belt, if you see what I mean. And when you add the possibility of growing a thick pelt over the rest of your body to that weight gain factor, well.... It just doesn't bear thinking about, does it?

So there, for your discernment, are three medications and their truly vile side effects. It is true that not everyone experiences these bad things, but I'd like to just point out again that you never read about drugs that have things like "flawless skin" and "taut and well-defined musculature" as a side effect, do you? Which is kind of sucky. Because if you're unromanced or in pain or experiencing hair loss, the last thing you need is some side effect from your medication that adds to your woe.

*That would be "just about everyone."

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