Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The strangest side effect EVER

Any time I see one of those commercials for some unpronounceable drug, half the ad warns you of all the side effects. They scare the shit out of you. Yes, you could get blessed relief from hay fever, but every organ of your body could shut down.

If loss of vision or a severe stroke occurs stop taking this medication.

If you experience an erection lasting longer than four hours consult your physician.

Yeah, I’m going to wait four hours. “It’s only been 3 ½ hours, honey. I’m still fine. The fact that I have no blood going to my head would normally be of concern, but according to the Cialis ad on the NASCAR channel I’m still within the window of acceptability.”

Drug manufacturers of course, are covering their asses. And I’m sure they are required by law to list the possible side effects. Otherwise you’d see 60 seconds of old people doing cartwheels and climbing Everest. And they’d be making Flintstones Lexapro for kids.

Most side effects are blessedly minor. And overall, these wonder drugs – if used correctly -- mostly do work wonders. The long list of side effects are to cover every potentiality, and I’m sure your chances of getting trench foot from a diet pill are remote.

But a friend of mine had maybe the weirdest side effect ever. There is a prescription eye drop that starts with the letter “T”. If reduces eye pressure after a cataract operation. I’m sure millions of people use this drop and it has helped them immensely. One woman I know – and she swears this is a true story – has this uncontrollable urge to take off all her clothes after applying this eye drop. No foolin'.  She’s had to excuse herself from social situations.

Now I haven’t seen this first hand. This woman has never stripped naked in front of me. So I’m relying on her account. This is not the kind of thing she would fabricate, as she is not a Kardashian. But according to her doctor, other similar cases have been reported.

So how about this for their disclaimer if they ever decide to advertise?

This eye drop can cause itching, swelling, headaches, a burning sensation, a cough, runny nose, tearing, fatigue, and involuntary nudity. Do not take while driving, in church, when around football players, before political debates, in Utah, in bus stations, and in outer space.

I’m purposely not revealing the name of the drop because college boys will sneak into dorm rooms and slip it into the girls’ Visine bottles. But as a side effect that one is pretty unique.

And how can the drug company test for that? Do they put lab rats in little Jones of New York suits?

Someday science will solve this problem, but in the meantime this sheds new light on unacceptable behavior. Before, when we’d see someone naked streaking across a baseball diamond or exposing himself at the Mall of America we thought, “This is a crazy person.” Now we know this will pass and soon he’ll be able to drive better at night.


Scooter Schechtman said...

I never understood the ass-covering boilerplate myself. Since these are prescription drugs that require a doctor, why mention side effects on a commercial?. You'd think it would be more sensible to read warnings on ads for stuff like Tylenol. Not that Big Pharma would allow such blasphemy.

Mike said...

As your erection goes past the four hour mark, you hurriedly phone your physician's office to hear:
"Please wait while I transfer you to our Emergency Phone Sex Practitioner."

Hamid said...

A great read, Ken! I love it when you comment about offbeat subjects like this, same as those "miscellaneous posts and rants" you do.

I actually think you should write a book which is just your witty observations on various topics. I'd definitely buy it and many others here would too. I know that that is what you already do on this blog, but a whole book would let you expand and go in depth on your views on topics like contemporary sitcoms, Hollywood reboots, Roseanne being a monster, Natalie Wood and her tragic death, etc.

MUST KILL TV arrived in the mail yesterday, so I'll be starting on that tonight.

Douglas Trapasso said...

Since I am work right now, I don't want to look for or post the link. But there is a soon-to-be-classic pic from this past weekend of a young woman being escorted off the famous Chicago "El" train system minus any umm, covering up. There are several photos of her floating around the Net right now; the best one is of this lady's background along with another woman in the same shot totally engrossed in texting something on her phone.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I wonder if the drops are some kind of steroid - I've had friends on Prednisone report all sorts of weird compulsive behavior - like uncontrollable shopping or eating.


Johnny Walker said...

I don't get why prescription medication is advertised at all on TV. It must be hellish to be a doctor having to explain to a patient that, no, a drug isn't right for them, despite what a 30 second TV spot said.

I saw one the last time I was in LA that had a list of disclaimers and warnings that were longer than the advert itself. By the time it got to the end you'd forgotten what it was supposed to cure. I swear "death" was a possibly side effect.

One of them said, "Do not take Oxycopax (I forget the name of the actual drug) if you're allergic to: Cortisol steroids, paracetamol , ibuprofen or Oxycopax." No shit!

Ken, I've started reading MUST KILL TV. Hugely amusing with sparkling wit, as always, but I was surprised that you didn't make more of Gersh's first call to Charles. Considering the title of the book, and considering Charles was called to assist in an emergency in the middle of the night -- a mysterious emergency from a frantic man that required a shovel, no less -- that you didn't build it into some sort of reversal. I can imagine that I'd have all but convinced myself it was something sinister by the time I'd driven there. Great read so far, though. Congrats on another successful book!

Bg Porter said...

Prescription ads are on TV for the same reason that hard liquor ads are -- deep-pocketed companies would love to spend gargantuan amounts of money on broadcast ads, and luckily for them, the National Association of Broadcasters is one of the largest and most effective lobbying groups in DC. "Just pass this one little bill for us & we'll be sure that all your next races are covered just right.

Wayne said...

Eye drops cause nudity? Their slogan. "Gets the pink out."

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Since when does BLOGSPOT have ads?

Well anyway, here's a Friday questions that I'm curious about:

There was once a time when movie actors were considered, "Too big", "Too important", and/or, "Too expensive" to even remotely consider lowering themselves to do TV work (or at least, that's why none aside from Gary Burghoff reprised their M*A*S*H roles for the series), however, nowadays, Maria Bello, Kevin Spacey, Dennis Quaid, Ashley Judd, James Caan, even Samuel L. Jackson are all doing TV now. What's your personal opinion on this shift in movie actors migrating to TV? Are the actors trying to broaden and expand their own repertoire, or are networks still in the mindset that a show will only sell if it has star power?

Jeff G. said...

I can't remember where exactly I heard it, but I believe the law is that commercials for prescription drugs have to list all the side effects if they state what the drug is supposed to accomplish. That is why we sometimes see prescription drug commercials that just show people doing generic happy activities as an announcer repeatedly states the name of the drug and tells you to "ask your doctor". If they don't actually say what the drug is for, they don't have to list the side effects.

These ads always make me think of the old "Happy Fun Ball" parody commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gzDC-2ZO8I) that was on SNL years ago. "Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball"...

Donald F said...

Since the dawn of drug advertising,I recall announcers saying "Nothing works better than (insert drug name here)". I've always wondered if that statement should be taken literally.

vicernie said...

way up here in Canada (and in much of the free world) drug companies are not allowed to advertise their products unless they don't mention what they are for. the vigra ads features a content looking couple but no warnings.

chuckcd said...

Usually the cure is worse than the disease.

Mark P. said...

Best drug ad claim ever: "In studies at a major university hospital for pain other than headache, Excedrin was found to be more effective than other pain relievers ... So the next time you have a headache, reach for Excedrin."

Dan Ball said...

There's a guy named Craig Huxley/Hundley who invented a musical instrument called the Blaster Beam, which was used on a lot of scifi movie scores in the late 70s/early 80s whose sound allegedly caused women to spontaneously have orgasms. Basically, the instrument is a hollow wooden box with piano string attached to the inside. An artillery shell is struck against the piano wire to create the sound.

Here's a link to the instrument being used in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COPG-nN9Mjg

Cap'n Bob said...

Today's drug ads are tomorrow's class action lawsuit ads. My favorite side effect is "oily discharge."

Johnny Walker said...

I remember there was a horror movie where an early sound mix had such a low, bassy rumble that that the sound designers claimed the first row of the cinema would have have to leave suddenly. Not because the movie was scary, but because they urgently needed a bowl movement.

Movies with medicinal effects? "Feeling constipated? Check out the latest from Wes Craven in your local theater. It's so scary that you'll --" I digress.

DwWashburn said...

My favorite disclaimer is "People taking a statin or the elderly. . .". Who takes the elderly (other than a scammer, of course)?

Mike said...

@Johnny Walker: That's the mythical Brown Note. Lemmy claims Dikmik of Hawkwind would target susceptible audience members with an audio generator.

The sound of the Tardis (de)materialising is derived from a key run along a wire. The Radiophonic Workshop and Musique Concrete, back in '63.

Storm said...

Mike, old son, I like you better every time you post.



Albert Giesbrecht said...


Here are a sample of the Canadian Cialis ads:




Jason said...

Have you ever notice they say contact your Doctor and not call the nurse's hotline?

Do you think that's just a coincidence?

Johnny Walker said...

Ha. Thanks for the clarification, Mike.