We’ve all seen the dominant presence of prescription drug ads.  There is a drug for everything and everybody.  Are these new drugs the result of brilliant science or is it because more of us suddenly have a “condition” that’s treatable with a magic purple pill?

 Have you ever listened to or tried to read the small print warnings from these ads?  Does the ad ever feel like one long warning?  The real question is why are some of these drugs even available if the side effects are numerous, common, dangerous, and possibly deadly? 

Here are the warnings from a popular prescription drug that fights Asthma.  This text combines warning information from both their TV commercial and their website.(I’ve removed the name and website of this drug.)

The information on ___.com should not take the place of talking with your doctor or health care provider about how to manage and treat your asthma. If you have any questions about your condition, or if you would like more information about ___ or asthma, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Only you and your doctor can decide if ___ is right for you.

Approved Uses for ___ for Asthma

___is a medicine for the treatment of asthma for people 12 years and older whose doctor has determined that their asthma is not well controlled with a long term asthma control medicine such as an inhaled corticosteroid or whose asthma is severe enough to begin treatment with ___.  ___ is not a treatment for sudden asthma symptoms.

Important Safety Information about ___ for Asthma

___ contains formoterol, a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA). LABA medicines such as formoterol increase the risk of death from asthma problems. It is not known whether budesonide, the other medicine in ___, reduces the risk of death from asthma problems seen with formoterol.

___ should be used only if your healthcare provider decides that your asthma is not well controlled with a long term asthma control medicine, such as an inhaled corticosteroid, or that your asthma is severe enough to begin treatment with ___.

If you are taking ___, see your healthcare provider if your asthma does not improve or gets worse. It is important that your healthcare provider assess your asthma control on a regular basis. Your doctor will decide if it is possible for you to stop taking ___ and start taking a long-term asthma control medicine without loss of asthma control.

___ does not replace rescue inhalers for sudden asthma symptoms.

Be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all your health conditions, including heart conditions or high blood pressure, and all medicines you may be taking. Some patients taking ___ may experience increased blood pressure, heart rate, or change in heart rhythm.

Do not use ___ more often than prescribed. While taking ___, never use another medicine containing a LABA for any reason. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if any of your other medicines are LABA medicines, as using too much LABA may cause chest pain, increase in blood pressure, fast and irregular heartbeat, headache, tremor, and nervousness.

Patients taking ___

may experience serious allergic reactions including rash, hives, swelling of the face, mouth and tongue, and breathing problems.

may have a higher chance of infection. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you think you are exposed to infections such as chicken pox or measles, or if you have any signs of infection.

may experience an increase in wheezing right after taking ___, eye problems including glaucoma and cataracts, decreases in bone mineral density, swelling of blood vessels, decrease in blood potassium and increase in blood sugar levels.

If you are switching to ___ from an oral corticosteroid, follow your healthcare provider’s instructions to avoid serious health risks when you stop using oral corticosteroids. Children and adolescents who take LABA medicines may have an increased risk of being hospitalized for asthma problems.

Common side effects include nose and throat irritation, headache, upper respiratory tract infection, sore throat, sinusitis, stomach discomfort, flu, back pain, nasal congestion, vomiting, and thrush in the mouth and throat.

Talk to your doctor about prescription ___. 


No thanks doc!

Who cares what the drug’s name is if 90% of the advertisement is a warning?  Maybe, just maybe this drug isn’t ready?  By the way, if you can’t afford ___, they conveniently have a loan company, AstraZeneca, to help you.  How nice of them.

Make it a good day.


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