The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Instagram

Adding to drug dependency

OP/ED
 Adding to drug dependency
Adding to drug dependency

Adding to drug dependency

First and foremost, regarding my column in last Thursday’sissue, I really am aware that “passion” has sevenletters, not six. Please excuse the typographical error.

A student in one of my dad’s health seminars once said shesaw a commercial for a prescription drug that she had never heardof before. She did however believe that she desperately needed thedrug.

She went to her doctor and asked for information on the drug.She said he didn’t know anything about the medication butwent ahead and prescribed it for her anyway.

After taking the drug for a few months, she didn’t noticeany differences. The woman then decided to stop taking themedication.

The medication she took was 10-to-1 an anti-depressant.

I picked up Tuesday’s edition of The Dallas MorningNews, lo and behold, the lead cover story headline was,”FDA issues warning on anti-depressants.”

The Food and Drug Administration asked in a public healthadvisory that makers of 10 anti-depressants include a warning ontheir labels that urges doctors to carefully observe patients whiletaking the medication.

Some of the drugs include Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Luvox. Now,I don’t watch a lot of television, but even I recall hearinga couple of these names on several television advertisements.

I also remember that some of these advertisements don’tnecessarily tell me what the drug is supposed to do. Butnonetheless, I’m encouraged to “talk to my doctor tofind out more about drug XYZ and see if it’s right forme.”

Considering I haven’t seen my doctor since I was inkindergarten, that might be a little difficult (not to mentionincredibly awkward).

I guess I’m starting to notice advertising more,especially after the advertising unit my ethics class just wentthrough.

Plus, whenever a prescription ad comes on, my dad occasionallyannounces something like, “Look, honey! More drugs to gethooked on!”

As humorous as I find the seminar student’s story abouttrying a drug that didn’t even work, prescription medicationsare generally not a laughing matter. There are some people who needthem, some for a short period of time, others just to get throughthe day.

People who suffer from epilepsy need their prescriptions tohopefully (but not completely) avoid seizures. Asthmatics needtheir inhalers and other medication just to breathe.

America has some of the most sophisticated medical knowledge andtechnology in the world. Yet, we are the unhealthiest people. Onething I find ironic is that Japan has the highest suicide rate inthe world, yet a Japanese woman just made the Guinness Book ofWorld Records as the oldest person alive.

For all our knowledge in medicine, you would think things wouldget better.

But from reports of rising epidemics like obesity and diabetes,it’s clear something isn’t working quite right.

Perhaps the need for some of these prescription drugs is purelypsychological. We essentially have to give up one pain for another.After all, prescriptions are “prescriptions” because ofside effects, one of the worst being addiction.

I don’t intend to kill the messenger, but advertisementsfor prescription drugs are not helping. Ads are notorious formaking the viewers feel insufficient. Something is constantly wrongwith us, but we can be just as happy as the people we see on themagical picture box if we take these medications.

Doctors need to know these drugs inside and out beforeprescribing them. If they don’t, they need to refer theirpatients to someone who does. And they need to tell their patientsexactly what to expect.

The FDA’s action on anti-depressants is a baby-stepforward. Any major success in the medical world would decrease thenumber of medications needed, if not eliminate the need completely.Research and development needs to look more into treating causesrather than symptoms.

There’s not much that can be said for ads, but networksshould contemplate before lending space for prescription drugads.

The last thing we need is a country of drug dependents thatdon’t really need the drugs.

A friend of mine is studying at the University of TexasSouthwestern in Dallas. Another is studying pharmacy in Indiana. Asmuch as I encourage both to passionately pursue a career in theirchosen fields, I still hold on to the hope that one day there willbe no need for their skills anymore.

But that’s just me.

 

Christine Dao is a columnist for The Daily Campus. She may bereached at [email protected].

More to Discover