Mo Rocca On TV Drug Ads' Side Effects

Mo Rocca
Contributor Mo Rocca gives his opinion on prescription drugs.

If you're bewildered by all those claims for prescription drugs you have two choices. You can 'Ask Your Doctor.' Or you can ask Sunday Morning Contributor Mo Rocca.

By now the litany of side effects of TV-advertised pharmaceuticals is an old joke.

Viagra and Cialis - the "E.D." drugs - have the single most notorious potential side effect: the one that lasts longer than four hours. (That's a bad thing, in case you were wondering.)

The E.D. drug Levitra warns users about another awkward side effect: "Vision changes, such as having difficulty telling the difference between the colors blue and green."

Your eyes. They're the most beautiful … blue? … green? … tourquoise?

One potential side effect of Mirapex, the restless leg syndrome drug, is downright strange:

"Tell your doctor … if you experience increased gambling, sexual or other intense urges."
You might be tired of your significant other kicking you in bed. But are you prepared for him or her to ditch you for Vegas?

The arthritis medication Celebrex understands that you don't want to gamble with your health - which is why they assure you that the odds are no better (or worse) with the competition:

"Any prescription NSAIDs, including Celebrex, may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke which can lead to death."
The truth is we are being asked to gamble - to weigh the benefits against the risks before we've seen a doctor.

Only two countries - the U.S. and New Zealand - allow drug companies to make such direct emotional, and often unscientific pitches to consumers.

Here's an ad for the anti-depression drug Zoloft:

"You know when you feel the weight of sadness. You may feel exhausted, hopeless, anxious…"
Hasn't everyone felt like that sad little bean at some point? But should everyone be on Zoloft?

If there's one side effect to all these ads, it's heightened anxiety. (And no, I'm not prescribing Paxil.)

Maybe the best solution is to tune out the ads. Or at least ask your doctor if watching them is right for you.

And in no instance should you watch them while you drink or operate heavy machinery.

Otherwise you're likely to experience nausea, dizziness … and an uncontrollable urge to throw your TV out the window.