I am interested in the viewpoints of those of you who have been observing for awhile. Many years ago, amitriptyline products were the rage. Probably because there was not much else. Elavil, Etrafon, Triavil. I don’t know if they did much then, but a woman recently told me that 150mg of amitriptyline a day has handled her OCD quite nicely when none of the new drugs de jour helped at all. Her eyes widened happily as she exclaimed, “At a generic copay too.”
This is not good news to the manufacturers of the five dollar a dose “mental” drugs that we pour into vials every day to the tune of millions of dollars before noon. I have this idea that we are just pimps for Big Pharma.
It’s not just depressed middle aged housewives anymore, it is children too. You can’t help but notice that American children are right beside their parents in being overdiagnosed and overmedicated for exaggerated or fictitious mental disorders. This is becoming one of the defining characteristics of the there-is-a-drug-for-everything era.
The blues used to be a good thing. Your boyfriend dumps you, put some Roberta Flack on your i-pod and blues your way through a couple days. Feel it. Yes, it hurts, what the sunuvabitch did. A good lesson learned. Makes you stronger. You will never do that again.
That was then. Now, your mommy calls Doctor Family Practitioner and the guy goes out of bounds and calls in a prescription for Cymbalta. Not fluoxetine for pennies, but Cymbalta for many dollars. Who did you say the pimp is? You learn nothing if you don’t feel it.
People have been drugging themselves for as long as they have been capable of doing so. Cigarettes! If you have never smoked tobacco, you will never know the sublime euphoria you can get from a Marlboro. Cocktails. Lunch and dinner and bedtime. What the? This is healthy?
Before Durham-Humphrey, you could get almost anything from Doc the Druggist. Anyone remember Hadacol? After legend drugs, the era of proprietary drugs kicked in. They have taken 5 decades to get it down, but they run the place these days.
I’ve had fun writing this. If you have read my stuff for the last 20 years, you know that I have a strong narrow-mindedness about Big Pharma. I really think that the drug companies have their hand in a signature medical phenomenon of our times: The urge to manage real or imagined psychiatric pain through substance use.
Let’s stick with kids as a marketing group. You hit the wall with the adults, so you create a market by getting your drugs approved for use in young people and then you brainwash the prescribers.
Children were rarely given amitriptyline for their “pain”. We were given nothing in the 1950s and we lived through our emotional horrors just fine. I remember a girl, beautiful, who was nervous before a major beauty pageant. I was her pharmacist and I thought it strange that her doctor prescribed 12 Stelazine 2 mg. Nowadays, children are given a whole medicine chest of drugs.
Big Pharma is just better than they have ever been before in creating mental illnesses in healthy children. I know that this is not a clear cut matter. It is not as linear as I have portrayed it. There are many extenuating features. Latch key kids are ripe for Big Pharma. Their parents seek out drugs rather than give them hugs and kisses and just pay some attention to them. “Open your mouth, Junior and let me put an Effexor in it. There. Good boy. Go play Wii now, Mommy has things to do and she is tired.”
Big Pharma sees this. “This is a good, sustaining market. Let’s get it.” It is like Field of Dreams, “Market a new drug and they will prescribe it.”