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Side Effects -- Invitation to Write #44

For Writers:

Side effects may include nausea, running around like a chicken with its head cut off, and spontaneous combustion…

Watch the evening news, and it’s difficult to avoid seeing a few commercials sponsored by the major drug companies promoting their latest miracle potions. You’ll see images of people living lives to the fullest, as the underlying musical score keeps the beat to optimism and hope.

Somewhere near the end of the commercial, an actor in the disguise of a doctor will come on screen and thoughtfully tell another actor in the disguise of a patient of potential side effects. We’re told that the most severe are also the most rare, but how often do we learn five or ten years down the road that maybe they weren’t that rare, or that other unforeseen complications resulted from years of daily use?

As just one example, millions of patients took the arthritis drug Vioxx, completely oblivious to the fact that it substantially increased the likelihood of heart attack. When the drug was finally pulled off the market, at least 28,000 people died due to Vioxx-induced heart attacks.

Is there anything that you do that has potentially serious side effects?

“There are three side effects of acid: enhanced long-term memory, decreased short-term memory, and I forget the third.” – Timothy Leary


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