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New Hope
17 posts
Users comments and reviews on Do Drug Commercials Really Sell Drugs? by Robert Rister


I absolutely agree: commercials are not at all a reliable way of learning about medications. In the US, where more of the population seems to be visual, the side-effects are most often *spoken* quite rapidly as these scenes of formerly dejected people who've achieved a miraculous recovery via the latest medication are paraded before our eyes.

I'm one who ignores the imagery and listens carefully to the information whistling rapidly past my ears. In the majority of cases, I conclude: the "cure" seems potentially far worse than the problem the medication alleges to solve.

Case in point: Abilify. I've not taken it, but have seen the results in those for whom it's been prescribed. An artist suffers a severe concussion in a fall. Whether this was properly diagnosed or treated at the time remains a mystery for me. This man was unhappy prior to the accident: due to his wife's insistence that they move to the country 'for the benefit of their autistic child', he is enticed to leave his job in a city which he enjoys. They move to an area where jobs are scarce and wages are low. Although he is an excellent artist, there are few places where his art can be displayed and these are small 'tourist traps'. Although I've read that those who have autism are incapable of manipulation or dishonesty, having worked with autistic people, I've observed that autistic children tend to pattern their behavior after a parent or guardian to whom they are most strongly bonded. If this 'authority figure' is manipulative, the child will consider this behavior acceptable. If the 'authority figure' shows disrespect for a spouse or friend, the child will show disrespect.

So it was, this formerly dynamic and productive man became increasingly frustrated as he was unable to find work and, having lived his entire life in cities, was bored in a place with a minimum of culture and sophistication.

After his accident, he was taken to a Psychiatrist and Neurologist for evaluations, as the autistic teenager had observed the Father crying and had "intuitively recognized the Father was having a seizure." Which is quite remarkable, considering that this teen did not have the ability to intuitively differentiate dangerous situations from safe ones, nor distinguish humor from aggression. The spouse, who was very selective in the excuses made for the spoiled & manipulative autistic teen, now attributed exceptional perception to the teen, despite all evidence to the contrary.

When I first met the Father, he still maintained some sense of self-respect and an appreciation for absurd humor. At this time, he was on a pharmaceutical cocktail which included Concerta, two antidepressants and Ativan for anxiety. Abilify was added to the mix.

Post-Abilify-added, this man became like a zombie. He no longer laughed, was unable to motivate himself and seemed to have lost all sense of his own value. His spouse and adult child became condescending toward the man, made sport of his increasing weight (despite the fact that both the spouse and child were significantly overweight themselves) and ordered him around like a servant. The spouse told me, without any hint of sarcasm that "He was doing much, much better with the Abilify."

Better, perhaps, because he no longer spoke up for himself, made any show of resistance when "asked" to help with chores and went along with anything the spouse or teen wanted, regardless of how patently ridiculous or illogical their plans were. The family, who'd been living on a limited budget, suddenly came into money, allegedly via a "Settlement" from Social Social security. The money was spent had over fist, primarily to fulfill the whims of the teen.

My opinion of Abilify is in no way positive: this man was not Bipolar. He was not schizophrenic. His depression, which seemed to be based in a realistic reaction to feeling out of place and trapped, unable to express even mild resentment without being treated like an insensitive monster.

Abilify plunged him into a near-catatonic state. He would sit and stare at the television for hours on end, not even bothering to change the channels. One of the major "selling points" for this med in the US is: "Are you taking an antidepressant, yet feel it is not helping you? Ask you Doctor about Abilify."

According to the evidence I've seen, a man can be plunged into a state of depression so morbid, he appears to be psychotic. And, thanks to the spouse doing most of the talking at the Psychiatrist's office, when last seen, Abilify had caused this man of 50 to shuffle like someone nearer to 90 years old.

Abilify may help people who actually suffer from the conditions it's meant to treat ~ but here in America, it's being prescribed a little too liberally, often to keep a family member "docile". And I'm certain that the commercials for this med prompted the spouse to inquire about it ~ the home was like a Psych Ward, with a television always on.


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298 posts
this is a sad story...

I have never worked with autistic children, nor I am medically trained... I do however have an opinion on depression drugs an drugs in general, although the topic is not directly connected to Abilify.
I agree that drugs in general are prescribed too liberally. The problem is they do not treat the cause of a disease and often people are forgetting about the side effects etc..

Anyway, I am more in favor of natural approach, but most of all - protecting the health you have (smoking, alcohol, exercising...). I do want to have 60 or 70 years one day and be able to go skiing - and I am sure not popping a pill every time I have headache... not to mention the most ordinary cold and starting on antibiotics etc...

I am not saying all drugs are bad and definitely there are situations when going on meds is inevitable, but then again- there are so many situations when a drug is not necessary.

I believe the problem comes from doctors, but originally form pharmaceutic companies - they do not care about people getting healthy, they care about getting the money - and the less healthier you are, more money making for them.... I know this sounds like a conspiracy theory but this is the reality, and it does not look good.