"Side effects may include explosive diarrhea, worms, consumption..."

Was there some law that was passed recently that now forces over-the-counter medicines to say these brutal things in their ads? Or is it that the FDA relaxed their requirements to something along the lines of “you can start marketing it now, but you have to say what the side effects are”? I don’t recall hearing these things until recently, as in the last few years.

If it’s the former, does that mean medicines I used to take also had these side effects, but they didn’t have to say anything?

If it’s the latter, why would they be OK with advertising their product this way? Seems a little strange to me, since I would never buy anything that gives me “sexual side effects”…

For that matter, shouldn’t they say what exact percentage of people experience these side effects? I’ve heard a couple of commercials say “these side effects were reported in less than 1% of our sample group” but for the most part they just list them.

Ding ding ding ding.

It was only a few years ago that the government started allowing drug makers to advertise directly to the consumer. As a stipulation, they have to list known side effects if the ad claims some specific benefit. This is also why you have those ads showing vaguely happy people that tell you to ask your doctor about some drug, without telling you what it does. If they don’t say what it’s for, they don’t have to list side effects.

God I hate those. Good to know why they exist, though. Thanks, Smeghead.

I recently saw one commercial that said, “side effects may include dizziness, drowsiness and diahrrea.” I thought, boy, those are three side effects you really don’t want to have simultaneously!

One drug gets the best of both worlds: Viagra. They don’t have to say what it does – everyone knows – so they don’t have to list side effects.

Does that mean that when I used to get these drugs in a prescription, the side effects were still there? Because I sure don’t remember my Doctor telling me anything about them…

Couple points:

You don’t hear these warnings about over-the-counter drugs, as in the OP, but about prescription drugs.

Also, the ads don’t say you will experience the side effects, but that you may experience them.

Thanks lissenser. In that case, I meant prescription drugs in the OP. (I don’t take any at the moment, so I wasn’t clear on the difference).

And that’s why I asked about the percentage - I’d need something more exact than I may experience profound detumescence, ya know? :slight_smile:

That’s when you pick up your Time, Redbook, People and you can look up the precise data on side effects of the most commonly advertised prescription drugs.

One in People magazine (I believe) for VIOXX was three pages long :eek:

But the newest ads, primarily featuring ex sports stars (Dorothy Hamill comes to mind) that do NOT say what it is for, but BOY HOWDY will you feel good if you take it, annoy the heck out of me.

I know, that was not overly relevant, but I am not known for relevance :slight_smile:

Is the PDR still around?

(Physician’s Desk Reference - listed all drugs, indications, contra-indications, side effects, etc)

Yes, drugs had side-effects, even if your doctor didn’t see fit to advise of that fact - one early birth control pill had a page and a half of contra-indications and side effects. It was commonly prescribed at the time (c. 1970) No, don’t remember which one.

** Sexual side effects are not always a bad thing. While premature ejaculation, impotence, decreased sex drive, and anorgasmia(yup, the inability to have an orgasm[sub]shudder[/sub]) are decidedly unpleasant, some side effects can be quite beneficial. You may experience delayed orgasms, or orgasms that require more stimulation(translation-staying power.). You may find it easier to achieve and maintain erections, increased sex drive.

   They cannot legally say "5% of patients experienced headaches on this drug. 4% of patients in the placebo group also experienced headaches. Chances are that this drug doesn't cause headaches.".
 They can say "Incidence of headaches were similiar to sugar pill". 

  A complete breakdown of any prescription drug is usually included in the box. These give breakdown of side effects by percentage, what drugs cause problems when combined with this one *, and a molecular diagram of the drug.  Many pharmacies give customers a simplified print out-it's shorter and easier to understand, and people are more likely to read it.

*MAO inhibitors are mentioned in almost every drug ad. MAO inhibitors are the drug of last resort for various mental illnesses. They do not mix well with anything. Eating the wrong food at supper can have serious medical consequences. I don’t know why they bother mentioning them in drug ads. If you are on them, you’ll definitely know. Your doctor will have given you a long speech before prescribing them and forbidden you from taking so much as aspirin without his permission.

Yes, look up aspirin in the PDR and the possible side effects of many prescription drugs will look mild by comparison. Note that PDR or physician’s prescription guide books will break out the side effects, typically on axes of severity and frequency. Note that people taking placebo (sugar pills) in clinical trials report a variety of “side effects” of the “medication.”

Most drug firms have a web site. Just google the name of the drug, go to the official site, and you can view the entire “fear sheet.” They’ll tell you not only all the possible side effects, but how often they happened in the test group, how often in the placebo group, how large the population of the test, and more detail than you really need. You’ll even see the stuff only meant for your doctor. They’re not hiding anything; you just have to be willing to slog through a lot of boring stuff. I’ve done it a couple of times for my asthma drugs. It was terribly boring, but now I know what to expect, and I feel much more confident about taking the drugs.