Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mushrooms for the new age

I used to think that the first people to ingest mushrooms were really living on the edge. Consider, someone had to show up and say "Hey, check it out. I just found this fungal growth underneath a rock I found beneath a pile of manure. I'm seriously thinking about popping it into my mouth and eating it." To which someone in the crowd replied, "I wouldn't do that. I know a guy who did and he went insane for 20 minutes." To which another in the crowd said, "That's nothing. I know a woman who did that and just keeled over and died." And the first guy said, "I appreciate the concern, but I'm on a personal quest to find something that will taste amazing with singed animal flesh."

However, thanks to the American pharmaceutical industry, I now know those guys were pussies.
Consider the depression treatment aripiprazole, better known as "Abilify". Isn't that a great name? It means the ability to have abilities! Who wouldn't want that? Well, if you're a depressed daredevil and you're thinking about getting on board, know that you're putting yourself at risk for any and/or all of the following side effects:
  • Headaches -- in up to 30 percent of people
  • Anxiety -- up to 20 percent
  • Insomnia -- up to 19 percent
  • Nausea -- up to 16 percent
  • Constipation -- up to 13 percent
  • Vomiting -- up to 12 percent
  • Dizziness -- up to 11 percent.

Some other common side effects (occurring in 2 percent to 10 percent of people) include:

  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Drowsiness
  • Shakiness (tremors)
  • Weight gain
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Joint pain
  • Throat pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion
  • Increased salivation
  • Swelling or water retention in the arms, legs, or feet
  • Signs of diabetes, such as: high blood sugar, increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger
  • Large or rapid weight gain
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Dizziness or fainting when going from a sitting or lying-down position to standing
  • Feelings of internal restlessness or jitteriness
  • Any abnormal muscle movements (these movements can become permanent if Abilify is not stopped quickly)
  • A painful erection of the penis that does not go away (priapism)
  • Signs or symptoms of neuroleptic malignant syndrome, which can include: A high fever, stiff muscles, confusion, irregular pulse or blood pressure, an increased heart rate (tachycardia), sweating, irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, including: Unexplained rash, hives, itching, unexplained swelling, wheezing, difficulty breathing or swallowing

Side effects that occur in less than 2 percent of people taking Abilify include but are not limited to:

(Source: http://bipolar-disorder.emedtv.com/abilify/abilify-side-effects.html)

HOLY DAMN!! That's an entire smorgasbord of disorders, ranging all the way from the socially-unfortunate-therefor-highly-amusing to what-I-wouldn't-give-to-just-be-depressed-again. Three out of ten (a batting average that will get you into the starting line-up of the all-star game) people are going to get headaches and the word "pain" is mentioned separately four different times, including once all by itself (which makes me envision a research subject telling a doctor, "Pain, damn it! It hurts! That's all I can tell you! I'm in pain!! For the love of God, stop asking me questions now and help me!"). You can get pimples, weight gain, farts, anxiety, unwanted erections and suicidal thoughts (or as I like to call it, The Adolescence Highlight Reel). Now, far be it from me to deny people anything that helps them cope with life's difficulties, but are we sure we couldn't have kept this off the market for a couple more months in an effort to remove just a couple of these little glitches or is this the absolute best we can do? If so, I need a pill to help me deal with the fact that we're not allowed to have lawn darts, but this can be sold as a medicine.


Denis A. Baldwin said...

A few years ago, I was on Wellbutrin for a combination of mental issues. I thought it was funny that one of the side effects to treat depression was... get this... depression?!

I cut myself free of that mess and haven't looked back. There's no reason to be constantly drugged up like that.

gadzooks64 said...

A friend was taking Prilosec like it was lifesavers and complaining about stomach pain, etc.

"The most common adverse reactions reported (i.e., with an incidence rate ≥2%) from PRILOSEC-treated patients enrolled in these studies included headache (6.9%), abdominal pain (5.2%), nausea (4.0%), diarrhea (3.7%), vomiting (3.2%), and flatulence (2.7%)."

Hmmm, why on earth would you continue to take something to make you feel better when all it does is make you feel worse?

Unknown said...

These are just the side effects we know about now...what about after people have been on these "meds" for five years? 10? 20? It truly blows my mind. If Sony made a CD player that had a 30% chance of the pause button not working, it would never make it to the marketplace. How does the FDA justify approving these drugs?

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