Common Side Effects

Warning: Common Side effects include…

I get a lot of joy out of drug commercials. They feed my soul. Now if that seems a little odd to you, you really haven’t been paying attention. You see, at the end of each commercial is a little slice of paradise called the “common side effects.”

For example, Celebrex is a drug used to treat arthritis. At the end of the Celebrex commercial, listen closely for: “CELEBREX is not for everyone. CELEBREX should not be taken in late pregnancy or if you’ve had aspirin-sensitive asthma or allergic reactions to aspirin or other arthritis medicines or certain drugs called sulfonamides. In rare cases, serious stomach problems, such as bleeding, can occur without warning. The most common side effects in clinical trials were indigestion, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.”

Now, if you don’t see the humor in this, you’re not trying. Apparently drug companies operate on the head fake theory of medical treatment. If they can make some other body part, system, or region feel infinitely worse, you’ll completely forget about why you took the pill (3 times daily with food). “When serious stomach problems, such as bleeding can occur without warning,” isn’t it nice to know that your arthritis won’t slow you down as you dial 911!

The researchers that gave us Bextra (another arthritis medicine) decided that bleeding stomachs were sort of wimpy when it came to side effects. They combined bleeding stomachs with “headache, abdominal pain, indigestion, upper respiratory infection, nausea and diarrhea.” Nothing like an upper respiratory infection combined with a bleeding stomach to confuse the heck out of the EMT’s.

Another of my favorites is Zyrtec. Zyrtec is used to treat allergies. However, according to the common side effects (Ominous music should be playing now) “In Zyrtec studies with infants 6 to 23 months old, side effects overall were similar to placebo and included irritability/fussiness, insomnia, fatigue and malaise.” What parent wouldn’t want a 23-month-old insomniac that is irritable about its malaise?

Now depression is no laughing matter. But the depression drug Zoloft sure is! Zoloft boasts, “The most common side effects include upset stomach, having trouble sleeping, diarrhea, dry mouth, sexual side effects, feeling unusually sleepy or tired, tremor, indigestion, increase of sweating, feeling agitated, and decreased appetite. In clinical studies with Zoloft, few patients were bothered enough by side effects to stop taking their medicine.”

I can see the customer testimonial now — “Johnny used to be depressed. Now thanks to Zoloft, he’s a sweaty, twitchy, cranky, insomniac. He tries not to focus on it, inasmuch as he spends most of his time trotting to and from the bathroom. Due to his frequent diarrhea and loss of appetite, he’s lost much more weight than Jarred.”

Viagra is used to treat a different type of depression. I think the side effect I’m most impressed with is “bluish vision.” If they could just tweak that a little to make it purple — well, I don’t have to tell you how many Jimmy Hendrix/Viagra jokes we can expect on late night TV.

All of the above side effects are absolutely true. Now I would like you to read MY audition side effects. These will surely get me hired by a big city ad agency!

“Hi, we’re the Johnson’s. Ever since our little Betty Lynn started taking Zerpitol for her nervous tick, we’ve noticed a vast improvement. Sure it took us a little while to get used to the fact that for no apparent reason, she yells out state capitals. And, her pinky toes are unusually large. But hey, it’s a small price to play for us to be a family again.”

“Hi I’m Ned Hannerhan of Skokie. I’ve been taking Growitol for my receding hairline. My new hair makes me look 10 years younger! One side effect I’ve noticed is that I’m growing beards on my kneecaps. Also, I often have the urge to read Daniel Steele novels and stutter in Portuguese. My wife doesn’t mind the Portuguese so much, but she won’t let me wear shorts.”

So, I’m anxiously awaiting a major drug company ad writing contract. In the meantime, I’ll continue to take my blood pressure medicine. It works great! The only side effects are the excessive use of adverbs and the overwhelming desire to teach parrots the words to Take Me Out To The Ballgame.

Carry on, Citizens!

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by Jeff

Jeff Stanger is an author and fundraising consultant as well as the answer to several obscure trivia questions. He writes for food and occasionally for spite. Google+

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