Monsanto Roundup Lawsuit

Friday, August 17, 2007

No pill for those annoying TV drug ads

A profound piece of writing from Randy Scholfield. Humour is the best medicine

By Randy Scholfield.

Randy Scholfield is an Eagle editorial writer. His column appears on Fridays. Reach him at 316-268-6545 or

No pill for those annoying TV drug ads

Watching TV drug ads, do you experience any of the following symptoms: nausea, anxiety, vertigo, depression or projectile vomiting -- followed by an urge to consult your doctor and tell him what pills he should be prescribing to you?

Reader, if you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may be suffering from Drug Ad Overdose Syndrome, or DAOS.

The nation's pharmaceutical industry pours billions every year into marketing new drugs directly to consumers through TV ads, often to inform and, yes, scare the bejeebers out of us.

GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of antidepressant Paxil CR, warned us about "social anxiety disorder," which might be what you're suffering if you feel nervous and shy at a party or other social function.

Skip the drink -- go straight to the antidepressants!

Toenail fungus is another scourge apparently crippling America. Who knew? Thank God there's a drug to wipe out those little yellow cartoon characters infesting our toenails.

"Restless leg syndrome" is the latest health scare du jour. You've seen the commercials. One in 10 Americans is afflicted, according to the drug company experts.

Many of these TV illnesses are defined by broad, vague symptoms: For RLS, the telltale signs include an "urge to move," "tingly and creepy-crawly feelings in the legs," and so on.

Who hasn't had those at some point? Still, I now wonder whether my occasional bout of "jimmy foot" is a precursor to full-blown RLS, or possibly even Elvis Leg Syndrome.

Could I be a candidate for permanent medical disability? Will I end up a third-rate Elvis impersonator?

If so, Doc, I want to know.

Please, before you fire off those angry letters describing in excruciating detail your RLS history, let me be clear: I have no doubt that some people have serious, real cases of RLS and suffer inordinately. By all means, they should seek medical help.

But I also suspect that many TV-addicted Americans who now think they have RLS probably just need to get more exercise or drink less caffeine or maybe wear leg irons to bed.

You wonder, in some cases, if the cure is worse than the illness

I mean, have you seen the possible side effects of Requip, a popular drug for RLS?

Apparently some users get an undeniable urge to gamble away their life savings.

I'm not kidding.

According to the Requip Web site, among the drug's possible side effects -- including drowsiness, nausea, dizziness and hallucinations (!)--is an "unusual urge to gamble or increased sexual urges and/or behaviors."

Just think: If more people were taking Requip, we might have approved casino gambling in Sedgwick County.

America is a sick, sick place, if you believe the TV ads, with new illnesses and syndromes popping up every few weeks.

Here are some other ailments I have no doubt we'll see test-marketed before long:

• Nervous Whistle Disorder. While whistling while you work could be a sign of happiness, more likely it reveals a deep-seated nervous condition long overlooked by medical science.

Compulsive whistling not only prevents people from reaching their full potential, it annoys the heck out of co-workers and family. Shut up -- just shut up -- with Silencia, a new drug that relaxes the muscles in the sufferers' lips and prevents them from puckering.

Side effects may include lazy lip syndrome, drooling, vampirism, and compulsive and annoying humming.

• Ever worry that you've said the wrong thing in public situations? You're not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from Foot-in-Mouth Disease.

Ropadopamine is the answer. This new miracle drug, an offshoot of horse tranquilizer medications, renders sufferers comatose for weeks at a stretch -- typically 12 to 14 days, although individual results may vary. Upon awakening, most users have no recollection of their embarrassing social faux pas and may even believe they are contestants on "American Idol."

Side effects could include permanent memory loss, festering sores, and spontaneous public renditions of Ethel Merman songs.

If you think you may be suffering from either of these syndromes, I urge you to call a doctor or veterinarian at once and have him prescribe medication against his better judgment. And if you've found yourself growing agitated or offended while reading this column, you might be suffering from Irritable Reader Syndrome.

Don't worry -- a drug is on the way. (Results may vary.)