Wednesday, March 18, 2009


There are life-saving medicines and miracle drugs.

There are also a lot of drugs which still fit the label of snake oil.

But these drugs are not so much “quack remedies” as they are dangerous.

The latest sweet-sounding pill that I saw on TV has the name of Abilify.

This word made me think of these words:

Mollify Pacify Modify Dulcify Amplify

It relaxes me just to say these words.

The pill must be good if its name sounds this good.

But maybe not.

Companies give their new drugs pleasant-sounding names to make them sound efficacious.

However---as is so often the case---a drug’s side-effects have a life of their own.

Why take any drug if it makes you worse off in other ways?

I guess it’s a trade-off between what a drug does that’s good, and what else it can do that’s not so good.

Before I describe Abilify’s good and bad anodynes, let me give the advertisement for a drug that I have concocted:

“You will feel renewed with Blissful!” Blissful takes away all of those aches and pains from a hard day’s work, and produces pleasant dreams of lush, green gardens with beautiful maidens (this drug is currently only available for men!)…with soothing waterfalls... sweet frankincense swirling in the air.”
“Side-effects of Blissful may include (but are not limited to): coma, heart attacks, migraine headaches, suicide, and spontaneous combustion. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects.”

If this drug sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Here are some of the actual descriptions for Abilify.

First, the good things that this drug supposedly does.

Then the not-so-good side effects.


Abilify [aripiprazole] is an antipsychotic medication. It works by changing the actions of chemicals in the brain. Abilify is used to treat the symptoms of psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (manic depression). It is also used together with other medications to treat major depressive disorder in adults. Abilify may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.


Some of the most common side effects associated with aripiprazole are anxiety, blurred vision, constipation, cough, headache, insomnia, lightheadedness, nausea, rash, restlessness, runny nose, sleepiness, tremors, vomiting, weakness, and weight gain. As with other anti-psychotics, long-term use of aripiprazole may lead to a potentially irreversible condition called tardive dyskinesia (involuntary movements of the jaw, lips, and tongue). A potentially fatal complex referred to as neuroleptic malignant syndrome has been reported with anti-psychotic drugs, including aripiprazole. Patients who develop this syndrome may have high fevers, muscle rigidity, altered mental status, irregular pulse or blood pressure, rapid heart rate, excessive sweating, and heart arrhythmias.

Go ahead.

Buy it.

It’s your life!

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