TV commercials touting the latest prescription medication cure for god knows what malady absolutely
dominate the airwaves. I don’t have access to the exact statistics, but I’ll bet they account for a third or more of all network spots.
Some are well done. Most are formulaic and banal. All carry those wild side effect warnings at the end (some of which say the meds might actually cause the malady they’re intended to prevent).
My favorite meds commercial is for Mirapex, a drug intended to lessen restless leg syndrome (who knew restless leg syndrome even existed before these spots began to air?). Anyway, at the end of these ads, a stern, male voiceover warns that taking Mirapex might lead to uncontrollable gambling urges. Now, there’s a first. Taking a prescription med might make me break out a deck of cards and, say, challenge others to a winner-take-all game of five card stud? Amazing. Alarming. Astonishing.
Card playing requires one to maintain, well, a poker face. But, suppose one suffers from restless leg syndrome, pops a Mirapex, has a sudden and uncontrollable urge to gamble and then proceeds to ‘tip off’ his or her strategy with a shaking leg? Wouldn’t that be counterproductive? Actually, it could make for a nice line extension for Mirapex. Maybe they should produce MirapexFullHouse, a pill that controls leg spasms for the duration of a card game. After all, you’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them and, if you’re popping Mirapex, know when to keep them from shaking.
I bet it does.
Jon Stewart had a great routine on The Daily Show about this side effect. I’m just interested in how a specific thing like “gambling” could be considered a side effect. As I was discussing this with a friend over the weekend–perhaps while you were brainstorming this very post–it seems the urge to take risks or something similar could be considered a side effect, but gambling just seems so odd to list…Wonder if it also causes “driving over the speed limit,” or “the desire to climb tall mountains?”
Miraplex. Take it for the tell.
I’m so glad you picked up on that! I tend to get a kick out of “side effects” listed in drug commercials, but the Miraplex one absoultely cracked me up.