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If Antidepressant Commercials Were Honest

Prescription drugs marketed directly to consumers is a weird idea, but it works -for pharmaceutical companies. People who have no idea about medicine ask their doctor for the latest miracle cure they saw on TV. Doctors, who have way too many patients to see already and don’t want to hear you whine, let you try them out, even if a much cheaper and older drug would do just as much for you. This goes double for antidepressants, as so many people feel unhappy. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have depression, since there’s plenty to be unhappy about in everyday life. But a TV ad promising to make you feel better is really tempting.

(YouTube link)

In another of their series of Honest Ads, Cracked looks at antidepressants that are advertised directly to the public. There are medicines that can help people suffering from depression. But you have to trust a medical professional to determine a diagnosis and treatment. And pharmaceutical salesman are not the professionals to trust in that situation. -via Tastefully Offensive


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We've had so many posts about quack medicine and snake oil. Those old patent medicines were full of alcohol, opium, cocaine, morphine, and they didn't cure anything, but damn, they made people feel better. And they didn't cost hundreds of dollars.
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There was some interesting research into why the effectiveness of antidepressants is worse in the real world than in clinical trials (where it can beat placebo, but still far from perfect). Studies couldn't account for it by just looking into doctors prescribing stuff due to various forms of kickbacks or incentives from the pharmaceutical companies. More careful studies found a big effect from people going to a doctor and demanding antidepressants, either specifically or just a pill form solution of any sort. Without doctor's discussion, examination, and follow up, antidepressants become more placebo than not. And it was easy to find a general practitioner that will prescribe it without going through that or ones that recommended a followup with a psychiatrist that gets ignored.

That was 15 years ago, and I don't think I've seen any signs of things changing.
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