Tuesday, June 02, 2009

If they don't know then who knows?

Watching the tube tonight I saw a commercial for the anti-depression drug Prestiq. Now we all know that those side-effect warnings on prescription drug commercials can get pretty ridiculous, but this commerical gets ridiculous long before they even get to the side effects.

About 27 seconds in, right after they say that it's been proven effective in treating depression, the voice-over slips in this little gem:
Prestiq is thought to work by affecting the levels of two chemicals in the brain...
Thought to work? Are you seriously trying to sell me a drug and you don't even know how it works?

I don't care how you think it works, if you don't know how it works maybe I should hold off on putting it in my body until you do.

Hell, I think bourbon works by activating the Debonair receptors of my brain thus making me look and act like Don Draper, but if I were trying to sell bourbon I think I would keep that theory to myself.

If you want to sell something and you don't know exactly what it does or why, just hire the Sham-Wow guy.

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At 1:49 AM, Blogger Roadshow said...

the mechanisms by which the brain works are barely understood, so to claim one knows exactly how a psychiatric medication affects those mechanisms would be foolhardy. Even something straightforward like increasing dopamine might have other affects which are neither obvious nor understood.
What can be understood though, are the effects on the lives of people with depression. Depression is a terrible illness that wrecks lives, medication which controls it's symptoms, whether understood or not, has to be a good thing.
The real question ought to be, are all the people taking anti-depressants actually clinically depressed or just pissed off with their lives etc. Recent studies have suggested that whilst anti-depressants do work on the clinically depressed, they are nothing more than a placebo with possibly dangerous side-effects on those who are just a bit miserable.
If the drugs were only being taken by those that need them, as prescribed, there would be little or no requirement to advertise them on TV. Those that ask for them as a result of having seen the advertising, will be those that do not require them in the first place.

Meanwhile, your Pachobel song is an absolute comedy classic and it's high time you were performing it here in the UK. You should think about playing next years Edinburgh fringe festival.

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Robin said...

Is it wrong that I was mesmerized by the little wind-up doll for a while at the beginning?

There's a similar commercial -- can't remember which drug it was for now -- that listed among the side-effects irrational rage, violent behavior, and increased risk of suicide. So it'll either cure your depression or make it much much worse. Ah, the wonders of modern medicine.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Beatriz Guti√©rrez said...

It'd be unethical of me to say, "no more anti-depressants, read more Platon", since I'm a med. student and that's actually the title of a book... But, may a recommend a little less bad TV with silly commercials in it and a little more outdoors conversation with interesting people.
Love your Pachelbel canon rant.


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