Featured Column
Week of 4.5.2004
Warning: "Taking this drug
could be worse than the disease!"
Awful side effects from drugs
          I was thumbing through a popular magazine the other day when I noticed how many pharmaceutical advertisements it contained. There were ads for drugs that combat runny noses, sneezing, acid reflux disease, osteoarthritis, memory loss due to Alzheimerís, itchy eyes, social anxiety disorder, high cholesterol and certain male difficulties, among other afflictions.
          Accompanying every advertisement is the tiny-type disclaimer, which rivals the bottom line on an eye-test for readability. These companies should provide a magnifying glass with each magazine containing their ads.
          The teeny-type disclaimers could be the basis for a comprehensive medical journal. They warn that by taking their pill you might be making yourself vulnerable to a host of other miseries, some, seemingly worse than the original affliction.
           Iím sure we all appreciate the drug companies carefully listing the side effect dangers of taking their products, but a close inspection of these associated dangers might give pause to an ailing individual before taking the cure.
          An infirm, thinking male might consider the possible side effects before taking a pill to treat ED (donít make me spell it out, you know what I mean!). First of all thereís a warning that increased sexual activity can put a strain on your heart (thereís a price for everything!). Other possible side effects can be headaches, runny nose (?), dizziness or upset stomach. The small disclaimer type also states that a male, taking this pill for ED may get the uncommon affliction of priapism (this means that the very cure you want might last for more than 3-4 hours!). Ouch. There goes your afternoon tennis match!
          Another modern concoction to combat allergy symptoms warns that side effects could include headaches, insomnia and nausea.
          Thereís a medication for the treatment of social anxiety disorders, depression, obsessions and compulsions. Side effects for this one can include twitching, malaise, weight decrease, impaired concentration, abnormal thinking and something called epistaxis.
          A remedy for the relief of arthritis pain and stiffness warns that the commonly reported side effects could include upper respiratory infection, nausea, diarrhea and high blood pressure. Rare side effects could include heart attacks, swelling of the face, lips, tongue and throat. So, if you suffer from the pain of arthritis you might have the pain go away, but you may be walking around with an exceptionally fat face.
          If youíve ever eaten a spicy tamale and subsequently suffered the pain of acid reflux disease you would certainly welcome a panacea. That burning in the middle of your chest can be bothersome to say the least. But now thereís relief. But before you dig into another torrid tamale and pop the pill be prepared for some of the uncommon side effects, which may include: Nausea, flatulence, constipation, fatigue, edema and bowel irregularity. You might get rid of the burning sensation and acquire a nasty case of another embarrassing malady.
          The drug companies of the world have provided mankind with a plethora of cures and antidotes for our afflictions. We have so many pills to take that cure so many of our disagreeable and life-threatening disorders. Iím thankful for these almost magical medical advances that we can swallow with a glass of water and find relief.
          Just remember, as in most things in life, thereís usually a price to pay. You might ease the pain of that sore back and find yourself walking around with a bloated face or some serious twitching. And if you suffer from ED be especially careful Ė you donít want the miracle cure to effect you for up to four hours and make you miss that trip to Home Depot.
          So, if youíre not feeling tip top and youíre looking for relief in the form of a magic pill, get out your trusty magnifying glass and read the fine print on those drug advertisements. You might avoid some surprising side effects.
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ronís career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ronís interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger