Television Advertising Side-Effects

You’ve probably seen many medication advertisements during the commercial breaks in the evening network news. I see a lot of them on the newly-proliferating boomer TV channels. But how many of you actually pay any attention to them? Each one takes about five seconds telling you what it treats and the rest of the minute is used telling about the side-effects. The announcer talks really fast about these side-effects but I wonder if it’s to get them all in during the time or if they want them to go by so fast you don’t take the time to think about what they’re saying.

First of all let me add a disclaimer for this article in addition to the regular one on this site. You should always consult a physician before taking or stopping to take any #medication. I am not a doctor. I’ve never even played one on TV. The comments on this article are more about the ludicrousness of the way medications and their side-effects are expressed on television #advertising than the usefulness or uselessness of any particular medications.

I thought about enumerating and naming the medications here but I would probably be opening myself up to any number of lawsuits in a litigious society such as ours. I’ve already pissed off enough lawyers – they don’t need any more fodder on me. I don’t need to piss off doctors too, so I’m gonna refer to these medications as generically as I can and still get the message across.

Let’s start with an easy one, it cures toenail fungus. You could probably just make sure to wash your feet more often and clean the inside of your shoes but it’s so much easier to take something for it. Except you have to take it for 48 weeks before it takes effect. That doesn’t sound too long, until you realize there’s only 52 weeks in a year. Why don’t they say 11 months? The possible side effects –  ingrown toenail, redness, itching, swelling, burning or stinging, blisters, and pain. Isn’t that pretty much what you started with a year ago?

Then there’s the one to relieve diabetic or spinal cord nerve pain or the pain from fibromyalgia. Now here’s something I know a little about. Awhile back I had a crushed disk which I lived with for a year and a half. In constant pain, I single-handedly kept both the Excedrin and Miller beer companies in business during that time. And after the surgery the doctors wouldn’t let me sit down for six weeks but I’ll save that story for another article. Anyway the major side-effect of this pain relieving drug is depression and thoughts of suicide. I’m still trying to figure out that if this drug is finally working so damn good to relieve the agonizing pain, why that would increase depression? I’m like, “Hey I don’t hurt any more. Life is GOOD!” Any way I’ve lived on all sides of that issue so I get it. Just be careful when you hear this warning.

Lots of medical advertisements are shown every night. I find the way they try to make them stand out from each other is fun and interesting too. We’re all familiar with the couple in separate bath tubs. I never understood what would be enjoyable about that. Would it have been that difficult to show two much more believable silhouettes together in one tub? Otherwise they don’t really need the drug, do they?

Another very strange commercial shows a bunch of balloon people driving around that look like they just escaped from the Macy’s parade. It makes sense when you realize the medication is to treat breathing difficulties such as COPD. It looks like the only problems they’ve encountered is if one of the balloon people  is taking another drug in addition to the advertised one.

Which brings up another issue. I know that these medications are vital for a lot of people. But I also believe that many Americans today are over-medicated by doctors that don’t have the time or take the time to look at the drug interactions. Too many times new prescriptions are written to counteract the side-effects of another medication the patient is already taking. This has happened to my wife and me several times. Please keep informed about the meds you are taking and make your doctor take the time to answer any questions you have.