Warning: May Cause Deadly Death

Imperfect skin? Or a deadly, painful, lung-rattling, wasting-away sort of Dickensian respiratory infection?

Looks like the marketing folks for one pharma product are hoping you'll choose that flawless, psoriasis-free complexion... y'know, while you cough up a lung onto the Bed-in-a-Bag and get last rites.

I saw the commercial for this psoriasis pill the other night while eating dinner. And it was the commercial's prominently-noted side-effect of tuberculosis that made me look up from my potpie.

Tuberculosis, fer Pete's sake!...

The big infection of historic novel and movie melodrama! Where a tragic supporting character bravely wastes away into nothingness. (Usually along with a nice gut-quaking, relentless cough and a possible Oscar nod.)

Now who wouldn't want that?

The commercial itself shows people removing their jackets to show their cheery liberation from the itching and scaling associated with the life-affecting skin condition.

Meanwhile, we hear a list of possible side effects that would make biochemical terrorists back away and say, "Geez, guys-- overkill much?"

Yup-- side effects like, oh... our buddy tuberculosis... plus skin cancers and lymphomas... allergic skin reactions... swelling and difficulty breathing... numbness... vision problems... a fever that doesn't go away... new or worsening heart failure... and a rash on the face and arms.

Now, let's think about this. You wear a lot of layers because you're embarrassed for people to see your skin.

So you take a pill to clear up the psoriasis and now, you not only have a risk of new, potentially death-flirty ailments...

But you also get three exciting different possibilities for marring the skin you're trying to clear up in the first place? Wow, sign me up!

Of course, this is nothing new, is it? I mean, how many products do we see out there that are designed to treat... oh... allergy symptoms. But the side effects cause sinus infections, nasal congestion and spontaneous combustion of the upper noggin region?

Or cholesterol products that make your heart jetpack for safer locales?

Or irritable bowel calmer-downers that cause violent stomach cramps, public contorionism and uncontrolled miming?

What I want to know is why the side effects are always so dreadful. I mean, just once I'd like, say, my blood pressure medication to have side effects like:

WARNING: May cause strong electro-static charge that draws in $100 bills
WARNING: May cause patients in service industry to radiate pheremones causing unnatural client aquiescence and mirth.

How about:

CAUTION: Use of this product may cause you to look totally rockin' for your 20th high school reunion

Or even:
WARNING: Patients may experience sudden understanding of what's going on in Heroes this season.

Something like that, I think I could get behind. I mean, it'd be good for us, the consumers, and it'd be a big seller for the pharma companies, too. Win-win!

In the meantime, though, I guess I'll just keep taking the ol' blood pressure meds as is. At least they don't cause TB.... Though, they do say they may cause baldness and finger-numbness in some patients.

But, hey, who actually sees a blogger, anyway? Hair is so totally over-rated! And my typing is still really accurtyuihnjkjkklfsdfdsds

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Anne Coleman said...

How funny! Glad to know I'm not alone in my thinking about that very same commercial. The first time it was on I was watching with my 2nd daughter and we just looked at each other with simultaneous 'WHAT???' looks on our faces.

Unknown said...

Anne- I think it's hysterical that I didn't even have to name the product and you knew just which one I was talking about. (I didn't want big pharma knocking on my door!)

How is tuberculosis an acceptable health risk? I know people with things like psoriasis really do suffer with it, but honestly-- better scaly and itchy than DEAD.

ReformingGeek said...

Anti-depressant medication that causes depression....and my favorite side-effect: sexual dysfunction.

So, um, I can be happy but I won't want any? Huh?

Let's invite a pill that cures cancer. Wait a minute. The movie "The Legend" comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

How can you get TB from a pill? What do they make these things with, spit?

Unknown said...

Reforming Geek- Yes, those are good ones! Anti-depressions which may cause suicide... well, swell! Sounds like things are really on the uptick!

Tiggy- Don't ya wonder? TB?!

Harry Yack said...

Lol, regarding the image: this product is not tested on animals. Hehe

Da Old Man said...

My favorites are the drugs that cause anal leakage. Makes you wonder how badly the drug was needed to put up with that side effect.

Unknown said...

Hindleyite- Bugs might tolerate some mascara testing-- I mean, he does tend to cross-dress- but no, not the indignity of meds trials.

Da Old Man- Boy, doesn't it? And heck, that's the result of one popular weight loss drug-- it makes you wonder.

Anonymous said...

I got a med one time that was supposed to help/cure an awful cough I'd had for weeks. The side effects included coughing!!!! Called the clinic and the answer I got about it was then just don't take it. WTH!!!!

Unknown said...

Chyna- Ah, quality healthcare at its finest, huh? (shakes head)

Anonymous said...

I'm feeling quite queasy now. I think I need me some aspirin and a little lie down... :(

Anonymous said...

I lol'd. Good post. I've always laughed at the ridiculous nature of side effects being worse than the disease you're treating.

Vic said...

We have a family member that got a prescription for toe nail fungus, which totally worked, except then his kidney fell out. So to speak.

I'm sticking with baby aspirin.

Unknown said...

Tony-- There, there... Here's a nice virtual cold compress...

Unemployed- There are so many products like that now, too.

Vic- Oh yes, I've seen those ads. You have lovely toes, but no kidneys or liver. Stuff, y'know, you might need going forward.

Anonymous said...

I understand you're in marketing? Are you the one to whom we should complaints for all the false advertising? ;)

Unknown said...

UnfinishedDude- I suppose it depends on whether you expect anything to be actually done about the complaints or not.

Anonymous said...

Oh, so funny Jenn! I listen so carefully to that commercial when it's on because it's so hilarious. If it weren't real, it'd sound suspiciously like an SNL parody commercial.

Love the tag you put on the picture! ribcage externalization Har!

Babs (Beetle) said...

We don't have the medication ads here (yet), but I know what you mean about side effects that are often worse than the symptom you're being treated for. I try, really hard to go without medication wherever I can.

Are you serious about the TB? or is that your humour ;O)

Unknown said...

Kathy- Oh, so you've seen the ad, too! Good! it really is hard to believe.

Babs- No, it's not me making it up, it's absolutely true. I would name the product but I don't want their marketing people harassing me. One of its side effects is TB-- and they mention that big as day in the ad I saw. (I'm sure due to legal regulations and not because they enjoy that association.)

Unknown said...

side effects kill me (no pun intended ...really)
When they are longer than the commercial themselves.. I make note of what they are and then get free samples sent to all the people who piss me off

Your side effects are MUCH better... where do I sign up?

Speedcat Hollydale said...

I think I have that hair falling out numb fingers thing ...

Do they have meds to fix the other meds side effects?? In this day and age, it almost sounds plausible!

Chat Blanc said...

holy schmoly! also included in the overkill hall of fame should be the med that treats that toenail fungus but has a high risk of shutting your liver down. yeah, that's a fair trade off. :P

Unknown said...

I remember years ago a depression medication was being used in Europe that had people orgasming when they yawned. Why can't that be a side effect?

Anonymous said...

Dzzblnd- And how 'bout when they try to get some actor to "casually" read those side effects to the other characters in the commercial? It never sounds natural, how could it?

Speedy- I'm sure they do, but it's probably some pill that was originally intended for... oh... restless ear syndrome or something, that never really made it. So they reappropriated.

Chat Blanc- Oh, I know-- that one really got my attention when it came out. Liver failure? For clearer toenails? Are ya kiddin' me?

EttaRose- Well, that certainly would distract a person from their depression, wouldn't it? Designed specifically, I suppose, for long boring business meetings.

You folks think the next side effect will be "risk of bubonic plague?" :)

Anonymous said...

I'd sign up for the anti-depressant meds if I could get those side effects!!!

I love the one for the penis enlargement pill. I think they've been using it too much because all they seem to have on their mind is... and it could fun. Umm ok, that isn't creepy at all!

Patricia Rockwell said...

Oooo, I want the one with the sudden understanding of "Heroes." I am so lost!

Unknown said...

Chyna- Oh, are you talking about those Smilin' Bob ads? I haven't seen Smilin' Bob lately, but...

Patricia- Oh, I hear you. I accidentally missed a season of Heroes, as I was watching them via Netflix. Let me tell you, if it's complex normally, it's extremely complex when you've missed most of a season!

Marvel Goose said...

Clever warnings that make you want to buy the product:

* Use by children under 18 is prohibited

* Could make you get intoxicated faster than normal

* Weight loss could be faster than desired. See your physician

* Could make your breasts look larger

* Could result in triplets

Anonymous said...

Since my anti-depressant doesn't seem to work, I was listening closely to the latest pill to HELP your anti-depressant work. The side affects are: INCREASED DEPRESSION AND THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE, HEART ATTACK, PANCREATIC CANCER, BLEEDING LUNGS, PARALYSIS AND DEATH.

I'm depressed WITHOUT having these side effects. But think how depressed I'd be if I HAD these in addition to being depressed!

Sounds like a lose/lose situation to me. No thanks doc. I'd rather spend my days THINKING about dying instead of actually DOING it.

Unknown said...

Marvel- I think I'll pass on those triplets. :)

Dana Wyzard- Geez Louise, Dana, yes, those are some serious side effects. I never understood how it was acceptable that anti-depressants could make you 1.) depressed and 2.) suicidal. I mean, what principle exactly are they operating on??

Melanie said...

Very funny post about a depressing topic.

I had an antibiotic for severe bronchitis one time. Side effect: may cause diarhea. Sure 'nuf. Wasn't bad enough I was hacking up a lung, I had to do it sitting on the toilet.

Anonymous said...

My favorite is that my pills for depression will cause weight gain and/or depression... ummm... I'm depressed, won't weight gain cause MORE depression? And why the heck should I take medicine that will CAUSE what it's supposed to CURE? Sheesh, why can't pills cause weight loss and extreme elation?

Unknown said...

Melanie- That is unfair on SO many levels.

Christine- I'd love to know the answer to that one. If you find out, tell me. Really, why do anti-depressants cause... depression????