Tuesday, March 18, 2008


If you, or anyone you know, has ever taken Prozac, you might want to click on the header.
What about this picture? Well, we live at high altitude here and sometimes we wonder what the flatlanders are up to in regards to television advertising and drug research.
You know they go together if you watch any TV at all. Drug companies flood magazines, newspapers and especially television with advertising.
In any case, there's a fairly new drug that is being pushed for Restless Leg Syndrome, a problem my Wild Thing has suffered from for many years. It's called Mirapex and is manufactured by Pharmacia & Upjohn.
The Food and Drug Administration put out this warning: "Two new drugs for Parkinson's disease may suddenly put patients to sleep, a dangerous side effect termed ''sleep attack'' that has caused at least eight people to have car wrecks, doctors said today.
"The effect appears rare: More than 100,000 Americans take these drugs, and the food and drug agency said it knew of no additional cases."
Like many meds, it warns against driving while taking the drug. No biggie. (And besides, those who "fell asleep" while driving might very well have been overtired and the sandman just caught up with them. But it's always handy to have a whipping boy available when you have a prang.)
It also has warnings that, in addition to physiological effects, it can have psychological effects. Like overeating. Like becoming oversexed. Like gambling. Yes, truly. There's an article from the Mayo Clinic if you're interested: http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/BN/00043.html .
So I tried to figure out which parts of the body control the desire to gamble. I checked the instep of my left foot, my belly button and my scalp and right ear and lobe. No luck. I spent 47 minutes carefully examining different body parts (use your imagination) and nothing indicated that any part was interested in gambling. Except my brain, which considered gambling as enjoyable. Rats.
Next, I tried to find out which part of my body controlled the sex drive. After only 26 minutes, the only thing I could find was (no, not that), my brain, which considered sex enjoyable. Rats.
I hunted for my overeating glands and wound up at my brain after only 17 minutes. Yep, it considered eating enjoyable, too.
This isn't a put-on posting. Really. But I have trouble with a drug invented for one problem being used to help with a different problem and then turning out to have the power and potency to alter a person's mind and thinking processes.
I am wondering why the FDA doesn't declare these drugs as potentially mind altering and put them either on a severely restricted list or have the manufacturers remove them completely from the market? It looks like a bit of collusion to me.


Buck said...

If you, or anyone you know, has ever taken Prozac, you might want to click on the header.

I've never taken Prozac but I was on it's first cousin, Paxil, for three months back in '98. After the three months had gone by I told my doctor I wanted OFF. Walking around numbed-up (emotionally speaking) was NOT a pleasant or even comforting sort of feeling. Makes me wonder... and greatly, at that... about people who embrace that sort of feeling. But people are people, with completely different sets of ideas, emotions, and philosophies (or brains if ya prefer, Cat).

That's the ONLY answer that makes sense to me.

alphonsedamoose said...

The part of the advertising that I REALLY love(tongue-in-cheek), is the part when they are listing side effects and put in death as casually as possible. This would seem to be a serious side effect for me.

Catmoves said...

Buck, I've never tried either of those drugs (prolly 'cause the shrinks couldn't tie me down), and I have no intention of trying any of the mind benders. It's bad enough with the pill taking routine after a heart attack.
P.S. Told Doc one of those pills was affecting me in ways I didn't like. He changed it on the spot. Now that's a doctor.

Catmoves said...

Moose, ya gotta remember we're living in a profit making society. So what's a life here or there?
I've seen that warning a couple of times, just can't remember which ones were the culprits.

alphonsedamoose said...

I just have to laugh when I hear it thrown it like it's no big deal.

just me said...

The gambling thing speaks to me of poor impulse control, and I wonder if anyone taking the drug would be aware of strange impulses. I mean, it might feel pretty normal to them.

Drug companies have more loop holes than anyone to get their drugs out there. They probably list death as a side effect to cover their asses in case someone does die. Pretty sneaky, I think.

just me said...

Plus, I want to read the research, who did it, why, and how much time was spent on it. I believe these drugs do work for some people. Like me.

Catmoves said...

Moose, we're getting so hardened to warnings that I, at least, mainly ignore them. Bad practice on my part, and I'll try to correct it. Suuuuuuure I will.

Catmoves said...

Just Me, I do understand that people have built-in uncontrollable (mainly) urges. Gambling is apparently one of them. But a drug that might release the urge in all its destructive phases is not for the general public in my opinion.
As for the study about Prozac, the department of psychology at Hull University did the work. You can find them with Google.
The principle behind placebos is that they will indeed work on some people if the subject has a strong enough belief. It's my opinion that the subjects own body takes action from the brain's commands to "fix me" whenever it can.
I try never to underestimate the power of our own intellect on our lives and bodies.

Catmoves said...

Buck, I found this about Paxil:

What side effects may occur?
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine whether it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

During the first 4 to 6 weeks, you may find some side effects less troublesome (nausea and dizziness, for example) than others (dry mouth, drowsiness, and weakness).

Side effects may include:
Abnormal ejaculation, abnormal orgasm, constipation, decreased appetite, decreased sex drive, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, gas, impotence, male and female genital disorders, nausea, nervousness, sleeplessness, sweating, tremor, weakness, vertigo.

Helena said...

Ooops I just tried to leave a message and it disappeared! So you might get this twice! LOL!

Re the prozac-

a lot of the reports of the research are very flawed and misleading. It did NOT say that prozac et al didn't work, it said that for MILD or MODERATE depression a placebo was as effective, probably because of the 'someone is listening to me at last' effect. It said that in THESE cases the first choice of treatment should rather be therapy, support, exercise, etc.

However, it did not say this about serious depression.

I'm bi-polar and have taken a lot of different drugs over the last 20 years, including a few years without any at all.

I HAVE taken Prozac- but I wasn't mildly depressed, I was suicidal, and going in and out of a near-fugue state. Prozac got me so well I could return to work! And without all the side-effects that many other drugs have had.

I'm on different meds now. Different meds work for different people....

Re drugs being for one thing originally but used for another-

it has to be a recognised use and be licensed for it. E.g. a drug in the USA that is to help people give up smoking has been found to have a mood-stabilising effect. So, in the USA it is licensed to be given to people with bi-polar. I have asked about it here, but it isn't licensed for that use here (UK) although it is available for smokers trying to give up.

Lots of drugs start out for one thing but other effects show up in development. I think viagra was originally a heart medication, but in trials the male volunteers noted a less than unwelcome side effect....


YesBut said...

Its all very simple - the pharmaceutical companies say, if you don't let us make disproportionate profits, we will stop doing research on new products.

Shrinky said...

I was misdiagnosed as depressed (I kept saying I wasn't) and prescribed proziac. Turned out I had an under active thyroid that was causing the mood swings and other symptoms, and was easily enough put right by the correct meds. But PROZIAC? Sheesh, it turned me into a Stepford wife! Hubby reaped far more benefits than I ever did from it. I flushed them down the loo inside of a month. I'm happily back to my good old bitch mode now (grin).

Lin said...

By the time I read the two pages of disclaimers and warnings that follow drug ads, I go take two aspirin for the massive legalize headache.

just me said...

Side effects are why we take medication to begin with. The side effect that makes us feel better is the one we want. I do understand the concept of a double blind study, and how a sugar pill can affect some people the same way a drug can. The human mind is a powerful weapon in the fight against many diseases.

As for impulses I think the drug just increases the natural impulses we have, and perhaps gives us that feeling of euphoria where we don't perceive an impulse as being negative.

I have restless leg syndrome as well, and its a bugger. There are other, safer medications for treatment than this new wonder pill.

Anonymous said...

I believe chronic gamblers are addicted to adrenaline. Anything that gives a rush makes one want to repeat it until one is hooked by the adrenaline rush. Gambling is a physical addiction.

I don't know whether I read this somewhere or I made it up but it makes sense to me so I'm going with it.

Restless Leg Syndrome - I had that until the doctor arranged to send me to a sleep clinic. I said no way in hell I was going to sleep with a bunch of nerds in white coats staring at me. I was immediately cured.

Also I put a cupful of epsom salts in the bath before bedtime. Magnesium in the salts calms muscles and nerves.

Another way to get Magnesium is take a Calcium/Magnesium/Vit D supplement before bedtime. It's magic.

Catmoves said...

First of all: Apologies to all. I've been slaving away on a new post and am remiss in responding to you all. Sorry.

Helena, I believe you're right about Viagra (a true wonder drug?) I've read something about that. I note that the Yanks drug controllers and the Brits equivalent don't always work in conjunction. It's a shame since if they tried it, they might like it. And both countries might get life saving drugs sooner. Surely they could agree on the test. Oh, well.

Catmoves said...

yesbut, I think the drug companies and the oil companies have the same board of directors (much like the sports teams). If the profit isn't obscene, we're not interested.

Catmoves said...

Shrinky, I can just imagine you as a Stepford wife. P.S., just got an email from someone asking me if I knew where he could get some of those pills.

Catmoves said...

Lin, our exact lady, actually reads that fine print? Hmmmmph. Better eyes, more patience (patients?) than I. Aspirin is marvelous stuff, huh, Lin?

Catmoves said...

Justme, the human mind is perhaps the most powerful of all medications we can use. Many "miracle cures" can be traced back to no other causative agent than the human brain.
And I watch when Wild Thing has a bout with RLS. It's no fun.

Catmoves said...

Babzy, I am hard put to consider gambling as a physical ailment. But then, I don't consider smoking as a basically physical addiction, either. Adrenaline is an extremely potent explosion of power. I guess we can blame sex on it too?
Loved how you cured the sleep study. Bunch of dirty perverts.
Unhappily, WT has trouble taking baths (Arty Rithis visits her when she's in a sitting position) and she has too much extra calcium in her system to take more.

Rachelle said...

Took Prozac when it first came out. I have suffered from moderate to severe depression since puberty (so... since the stone ages LOL!) it worked okay for me, but after a while and trying many different meds, I got tired of all the side effects and used chocolate instead... not really, I just stopped taking anything!

I love it when I see and ad on tv that talks about one condition that a drug will treat, and the 27 possible side effects! Ha! Sudden death is my favorite.

BTW, I think my candidate for president is Prince Valiant- I like his hair, and if his daching good looks don't keep people in line, he can use his sword.

Catmoves said...

Rachelle, chocolate is a "never-out" in our house and it is recommended by any doctor who wishes to be paid. You are within your rights to refuse to pay any quack who wants you to stop eating choco.
As for Prince Val I wonder why he has never aged?