SIDE EFFECT: DEATH

Side Effect: DEATH

We believe that a case could be made for the recent electioneering, and that to come, as causing millions of adults – heretofore healthy and hearty if not rolling in dough – to develop what’s lovingly termed I.B.S.

Those of us of a certain age, and clearly there are millions of us, are suffering from a myriad of earlier unsuspected ailments.   As evidence, witness the billions of dollars spent every week between the hours of seven a.m. and midnight  – and especially during newscasts – on commercials for new drugs that promise miraculous easing of pain, depression, bladder problems, wrinkled skin, dull discolored teeth, not to mention real threats to our lives and limbs.

I.B.S., irritable bowel syndrome, is THE non-fatal disease of the post war era.  Chances are tension, ambition, disappointment, divorce, poverty as well as great wealth spawned the run of symptoms that seems annually to increase and to earn new code-names.  Drug companies are eager to give each and every common ailment acronyms to make them sound not only terrifying but also medical.   Thus, an advertisement for the non-existent Daily Diet Deficiencies, or DDD, suddenly seems to viewers of commercials something they not only have but have had for years, if only they’d known.  Of course, that’s what we have!  This is perfect.  We’ll order it.  Or at least bring it to our doctor’s attention.

Millions of us respond to a new symptom of anything with the realization that that must be what ails us.  The nation is nothing if not suggestive.  Not to mention self-dramatic.  How pleasing it is for us to regale our friends with our latest health deficiency.

Why are we in a snit about this, apart from the fact that who knows what percentage of so-called medicines are medically unnecessary and untested by the FDA?

Well, now we come to VIBERZI, a hot new candidate for your checkbooks, that purports to help ease the heartbreak of diarrhea and abdominal pain.  These, say the drug makers, are the main symptoms of IBS-D.  (Please note that the D has been added to differentiate this set of symptoms from others that cause the same two reactions.)

VIBERZI’s web site explains it all, although it fails to tell us how much these little wonders are going to cost us all by pill or bottle.  “Taken every day, as prescribed by your doctor, VIBERZI MAY provide continued symptom relief.  VIBERZI makes stools less loose and watery and has been shown to reduce abdominal pain.  In clinical trials, VIBERZI helped people get IBS-D symptoms under control – and keep them under control.

“VIBERZI is the first and only prescription therapy in a different class of medicines for IBS-D (Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea). VIBERZI acts directly in the intestine to treat diarrhea and abdominal pain.” *

The asterisk tells us: “This was seen in animal studies and the relevance to humans is not known.”

What?

How do we know whether or not the claim above – that VIBERZI keeps IBS-D under control – is valid, if it’s only been tested on mice?

So are we to order it for our pets, for wildlife in our neighborhood, for squirrels and turkeys and rats and coyotes?

We’re skipping the company’s advice to consult with our physician, and to make sure he or she knows what others drugs we are taking.

If we worry about side effects (which in this case seem not to include death), VIBERZI is there for us.  “The most common side effects of VIBERZI include constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain.”

Now we really have to be grateful to the company’s developers, Allergan, part of Furiex Pharmaceuticals.  The side effects are exactly what the drug is treating.  Amazing!

Better yet, Medicare, Medicaid, and nearly any other insurance plan you know about have not yet made this wonder drug a valid expense.  Still, we eligible patients can get our first 30 day prescription for nothing and then pay as little as $30 dollars for 30 day VIBERZI refills.  Is that a steal or what?  (As noted above, we have no idea what the drug sells for at our druggist’s.)

Only one thing about VIBERZI seems genuine: its makers certainly hold us patients in low esteem.

Why do we conflate this bunch of bogus jargon with primaries and elections?  Because we find increasingly that after watching Mr. Trump go ballistic at the press and all his various and sundry enemies, or watching Mrs. Clinton struggle to keep from screaming (a battle she daily loses), our stomach hurts.

Then again, we may not have developed IBS directly from exposure to radio and television.  Especially since our own symptoms have a tendency to erupt from further north.   Quick!  A Nexium!  It’s worthless, too, but it makes us feel as though we’re doing something.

One thing is certain: it’s all messy.

 

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