Is ugliness a disease?

Something strange is happening in medicine, according to physician,  bioethicist and author Dr. Carl Elliott in his landmark article in The Guardian called Is Ugliness a Disease?  No longer, he claims, is medicine being used merely to cure illness. Medicine is now being used in the pursuit of happiness. We take Viagra at bedtime and Ritalin before work. We inject Botox into our wrinkled brows and rub Rogaine on our balding heads. We swallow Paxil for shyness, Prozac for grief, and Buspar for anxiety.

“For stage fright we use beta blockers; for excessive blushing and sweating, we get endoscopic surgery. We ask surgeons to trim down our noses and suck fat from our thighs in the pursuit of what we believe to be our true selves.  Continue reading

Top 10 most misleading drug ads

Forbes ran an interesting piece last month on the fine line in Big Pharma between promoting a new drug and presenting a misleading picture of its risk and benefits. In fact, the American Food & Drug Administration regularly singles out drug companies that use questionable language to imply or suggest their drug is superior to similar treatments, and watches closely for the omission of dangerous risk and side effect information. Forbes recently ran an online slide show of the 10 most misleading drug ads that have been slapped with FDA warning letters.

For example, actress Brooke Shields is a professional celebrity-for-hire (Volkswagen-Ford-Coppertone-LaZBoy-Colgate-Tupperware) and also spokeswoman for Latisse, a prescription eyelash thickening agent. Yes, there is such a thing. In September 2009, the FDA went after Latisse’s maker, Allergan, for a website that downplayed the drug’s serious risks which include cornea infections, hair growth outside of the treatment area, and permanent darkening of eye color.*

Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Dr. Steven Nissen, who is a fierce critic of drug ads, observed:

It’s almost impossible for the public to actually parse the ads and come to their own independent conclusions.” 

But Dr. Nissen is suspicious of most drugs that are advertised because he thinks that the marketing campaigns distract and mislead consumers. His advice: avoid the most heavily advertised drugs and stick to generics.  Continue reading

New ‘desire drug’ claims that sex really IS all in her head

porn for women

a woman’s aphrodisiac

Apparently, there have been a lot of satisfied yet exhausted male rats lying about in Montreal research labs lately, smoking that post-coital cigarette and wondering what on earth has gotten into their little nympho rat partners all of a sudden. This is largely thanks to an experimental drug designed to reawaken female sexual desire by blunting inhibition. (We used to call thisgetting wasted’ back in art  college, a pastime which had a similar inhibition-blunting effect on us). Although yet to publish any clinical test results showing the drug is actually effective, the German drugmaker Boehringer* is putting the finishing touches on a pill that, unlike Viagra which targets the mechanics of sex by boosting blood flow to the penis, works on the female brainContinue reading