Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
31 Jul

The 10 Dumbest Drugs Ever Invented

When Big Pharma and the health care system get together to “treat” our health issues, it’s like a Dumb and Dumber convention. (It’s a treat, all right.) Allow us to present the ten stupidest drugs, ever. Well, at least the ten stupidest drugs, today.

Ah, the golden elixir. Drugs: magically delicious!

Magically Delicious!

10. Avandia

Because why eat right and exercise when you can consume a known toxin (sugar) and then just take a drug for it that will give you a heart attack? Doesn’t that sound like more fun? Go Pharma, it’s your birthday!

The Trouble with Avandia

…But That’s Not Gonna Stop the FDA

9. Alli

Somehow, a drug that carries the warning to wear dark clothing in the unfortunate event of, well, “incidents” just doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence – but maybe we’re just being insecure. The oily spotting and lack of effectiveness are awesome, but seriously, who wants to wear black in summer?

Top 10 Alli Leaks, Oops, Links

8. Zetia

This is a special statin. S-p-e-c-i-a-l. The ad for Zetia proudly explains how Zetia does – wait for it – not work. You see, most statins “work” (and that’s being generous) in the liver, but Zetia absorbs cholesterol from the food you eat. Zetia just works differently: unlike some statins, Zetia has not been shown to prevent heart disease or heart attacks. Well, that’s a comfort!

Zetia: a Different Way to Help Fight Cholesterol!

7. BiDil

You know BiDil: the racist decades-old drug that is less effective than every other heart disease treatment. Obviously, it makes sense to market this golden oldie to African Americans on the basis of fun things like zero scientific evidence! Besides, other medicines work better on everyone (including African Americans). But whatever. It’s so encouraging to know that the federal government now has legal precedent to make medical rulings based upon race. It just makes sense, really. Think about it: giraffes and leopards belong together because they’re spotted. Tigers and zebras are both stripey. Treating humans based upon external appearance is just nature’s way. Hooray for segregation!

Big Pharma’s Benevolent Racism

6. Yaz

Now Yaz has a really cool commercial, and that’s what counts. Oh, you’ve seen it. A glamorous gaggle is hittin’ the club scene, gettin’ some party on, complete with fruity, hip cosmopolitans in every hand. Naturally, the ladies are discussing the hot new birth control pill: Yaz! After recounting recent medical studies and listing all the side effects alphabetically, exactly like a million other women in clubs all across America on any given night, we learn that one of these young lovelies is a real live doctor! With a capital M.D.! A female doctor? How edgy and unusual! Yaz is cool, not just because the actress in the commercial is a “doctor”, but because it’s way more dangerous than other birth control pills. Best of all, Yaz understands that women are just crazy (something men have known all along). Yaz includes a special hormone to help you be less crazy. Isn’t that thoughtful? Poor women, they just need all the help they can get. (Runner up: Serafem. Because only women are affected by hormones, and the more we can numb the little loons, the better!)

Oh, That Yaz!

5. Cox-2’s

It’s just too easy with this one. (Unlike exercise.)

Understand the risks“…of being a sloth.

4. The Pecker Pills (Levitra/Viagra/Cialis)

Hey, not being able to get it up just might be God’s (or Charles’) way of reminding you that you shouldn’t have a shot at passing your genes along so some other poor bastard can share your fate. These are drugs of de-evolution. They reward genetic inferiority. Oh, were you expecting this post to be politically correct?

Viagra Facts

Levitra Facts

Don’t Forget About Cialis!

3. RLS Treatments

Because inventing diseases is fun! Have you heard about PDA Separation Anxiety? Or trafficitis? You may want to consider getting checked for Roll Discomfort Syndrome, as well.

2. GERD treatments: the New Way to Spell GLUTTONY

Gerd your loins for these little purple pills. When Prilosec didn’t work so well, they just renamed it Nexium and that did the trick! Because why exercise and eat vegetables when you can live on free-radical infested, acidic deep fried garbage? Just pop a pill and you can still enjoy all the chili cheese fries and Coca-Cola you’ve always adored! Best of all, this won’t get in the way of your best-laid plans for obesity.

1. Reader survey: what’s the worst drug, ever?

Tell us what you think!

Further reading:

Tuesday 10 Posts

Most Popular Posts

Note: this post is pure parody, so please do remember that fun is still allowed even in these days of regulation. If you think today’s been a riot, just wait until tomorrow when Mark posts his eagerly anticipated, guaranteed-to-ruffle-someone’s-feathers Health Care Proposal.

Also on the burner for tomorrow: Mark’s famous daily salad finally debuts at MDA! We’ll share some great salad recipes and we’ll also be posting a helpful guide to summer safety for the whole family.

Sponsor note:
This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference!

Subscribe to Mark’s Daily Apple feeds

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. i would say antiacids are the worst because 95 percent of the time people actually have low stomach acid… further supressing stomach acid can cause issues for the rest of you life…b12 deficiency rheumatoid arthritis…hypothyroidism and a bunch of other nonsense

    kev wrote on May 4th, 2010
  2. It’s interesting to see that Yaz made your top-ten worst drugs list way back in 2007. My sister died of a heart attack last year (at 35) and we’re convinced that Yaz caused it. When they warn about “blood clots” in their ads, they mean “you could die”.

    Glenn Ammons wrote on June 16th, 2010
  3. Good collection! I think the worst kinds of drugs are those for chemo patients and patients who’ve just had organ transplants (drugs force them to accept the new transplant).

    kelly wrote on July 6th, 2010
    • Yeah, except without those drugs, we’d be dead…I had a double-lung transplant, and I’ll take my immuno-suppressants any day of the week and twice on Sunday over being dead at 23.
      As for Nexium: Yeah, I have GERD, have had it since I weight 90 pounds and I was sixteen, so it was definitely not a cause of being overweight.

      Emily wrote on November 9th, 2012
  4. Lamictal

    It was originally developed for seizure disorders, but has been gaining traction as a treatment for bipolar disorder and manic depression. Fun side effects include: “rash, dizziness, headache, somnolence, impaired coordination, difficulty with walking (ataxia), and gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping. The incidence of rash associated with Lamictal is approximately 10%, but the risk may significantly increase when Lamictal is dosed too rapidly or administered in combination with Depakote or other valproate derivatives. Of greater concern is the rare occasion in which the patient receiving Lamictal develops a rash that progresses to life-threatening systemic symptoms.”

    Yep you read that right, lethal rash!

    Carly wrote on January 17th, 2011
  5. Mark, what you said about people who take “pecker pills” was disgusting and downright evil. Implying that the “genetically inferior” shouldn’t reproduce is just despicable. Shame on you.

    Luke wrote on February 6th, 2011
    • The Greek never would have.
      In fact, a lot of cultures pick(ed) the strongest and most capable to reproduce.

      But, it’s 2011 and we’re so overpopulated that it’s okay to let Korg reproduce with his less than perfect health status. Now everybody is encouraged to have kids, even the mongoloids.

      Korg on!

      Suvetar wrote on April 11th, 2011
    • I happen to agree. I feel at odds with this article because on one hand I believe a lot of pharmaceuticals are really bad for us and even if my hubby had ”pecker” problems I still would abhor the pills. But to say that those with the problems are genetically inferior is horrid. This is where Planned Parenthood and Hitler stemmed a lot of their ideology from. They just took it a step further. Sick.

      Annie wrote on April 3rd, 2012
  6. I consider myself lucky that I only heard about Yaz and the viagras.
    BTW, I hope not all birth control pills are that bad. Im on Cilest for the second month now and I dont feel any bad side effects so far.

    Reka wrote on April 11th, 2011
  7. Oops. Somebody didn’t do their homework. If severe, restless legs can be a tortuous horror. I went for over a week trying to sleep while standing or sleep while pacing. Compresses, Mirapex and other drugs didn’t help. I have suffered with insomnia due to RLS since childhood.

    No doubt, the RX giants loved the opportunity to expand their smallish Parkinson disease market to a broader population. But that does not mean the disease is some frivolous construct dreamed up by creative marketers.

    It’s important to note that in my case, RLS was exacerbated by Cymbalta. Some people with dopamine issues have it even worse.

    Trust me. At its worse, you would welcome death. It’s not a joke. If you had it, you’d be begging for Mirapex.

    Dave wrote on May 4th, 2011
  8. Chantix

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000351/

    It removes your ability to get a good dose of dopamine for ANYTHING. Music, food, sleep, sex, exercise, all of these things just seem bland and meaningless. Then, the depression sets in. Then the suicidal thoughts.

    I’m a thanatophobe. Taking this drug is the only time in my life I’ve considered harming myself.

    My boyfriend also insists I was just more angry, hateful, and generally crazy the longer I went on it.

    Thankfully I just stopped taking it and quit smoking cold turkey about a year later.

    Moral of the story: Yes, suicide will make you quit smoking, but that’s sort of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, no?

    RedMenace wrote on August 24th, 2011
  9. Dig Dis Sci. 2006 Aug;51(8):1307-12. Epub 2006 Jul 27.
    A very low-carbohydrate diet improves gastroesophageal reflux and its symptoms.
    Austin GL, Thiny MT, Westman EC, Yancy WS Jr, Shaheen NJ.
    SourceDivision of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and the Center for Esophageal Diseases and Swallowing, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. gaustin@unch.unc.edu

    Abstract
    Obese patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may experience resolution of symptoms utilizing a very low-carbohydrate diet. The mechanism of this improvement is unknown. This studied aimed to prospectively assess changes in distal esophageal acid exposure and GERD symptoms among obese adults initiating a very low-carbohydrate diet. We studied obese individuals with GERD initiating a diet containing less than 20 g/day of carbohydrates. Symptom severity was assessed using the GERD Symptom Assessment Scale–Distress Subscale (GSAS-ds). Participants underwent 24-hr esophageal pH probe testing and initiated the diet upon its completion. Within 6 days, a second pH probe test was performed. Outcomes included changes in the Johnson-DeMeester score, percentage total time with a pH<4 in the distal esophagus, and GSAS-ds scores. Eight participants were enrolled. Mean Johnson-DeMeester score decreased from 34.7 to 14.0 (P=0.023). Percentage time with pH<4 decreased from 5.1% to 2.5% (P=0.022). Mean GSAS-ds score decreased from 1.28 to 0.72 (P=0.0004). These data suggest that a very low-carbohydrate diet in obese individuals with GERD significantly reduces distal esophageal acid exposure and improves symptoms.

    PMID: 16871438 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    George Henderson wrote on November 29th, 2011
  10. I vote for Lipitor. Hooray for the drug most effective at keeping firemen away from the fire!

    Joshua wrote on May 11th, 2012
  11. I know this will be controversial but I think antidepressants can go on this list for the vast majority of people who are taking them.

    I was reading a book about depression, by a Harvard professor of psychiatry. He stated that a study was done on a prisoner population where they did a physical exam on prisoners who were being treated for depression, also on a control population who wasn’t. They found that the depressed prisoners were several times more likely to have underlying physical problems than the ones from the general prison population.

    I have found that changing my fatty acid intake to be sourced more from animals and from coconut is a lot better for my brain function than taking Lexapro ever was. I am still depressed but some of that is situational, and I believe it will improve when I am finally able to change my situation (right now, I really can’t).

    Also, no one ever tested my serotonin to see if I was really low on it. They just took my word that I was depressed, made an assumption about me, and put me on a drug. This is irresponsibility to an incredible degree. They are also allowing pregnant women to be on these drugs with no examination of the woman’s diet and no thought to what the drug will do to the baby.

    I believe that as with obesity, most cases of depression are actually cases of malnutrition. They are also failures of society to help individuals improve their situation. Even doctors are in on this to some degree. I used to work at an internal medicine practice and overheard the head physician telling a drug sales rep that he’d rather put a patient on an SSRI than send them to counseling. Excuse me???

    I know, I’m about to be chewed out by everyone who reads this blog and “needs” to be on a psych med. I am sorry that you are in this kind of situation and I know it’s really hard to cope. But I don’t blame you. I blame the system that will not give you real help, choosing instead to resort to “better living through chemistry.” The irony being that improving diet is the best kind of such “chemistry” there is. And no MD-type doctor resorts to that in a way that would work. Not one. Even if you could never get off the drugs, being able to normalize on a lower dose has got to be better than half-normalizing on a higher one. You would think.

    Dana wrote on June 26th, 2012
    • I know this is a late reply, but I feel I must agree 100%! The irresponsibility of just prescribing drugs which effect people’s BRAIN, with no tests is outrageous. I have a friend who has an alcohol problem. She was court ordered to see a counselor. She took a 30 question test and saw a counselor for – I kid you not – 10 minutes. And then they put her on FIVE different serious medications and said she was schizophrenic. She NEVER saw a doctor or saw more then 1 person for 10 minutes. Oh, an she HAS TO take these medications by court order. It is horrendous!

      Gypsy wrote on January 31st, 2013
  12. I’ve found about 99% of the information on this site to be reliable but to be frank this post isn’t one of them. You are generalizing your experiences to everyone in the population. I.e., just because you don’t have erectile issues does that mean that someone who does (and has tried other healthy means of correcting the issue) doesn’t deserve a fulfilling sex life.

    jake wrote on October 18th, 2012
  13. I know this is an older post, but I had to add Halcyon. I was given this pill by my dentist when I needed a lot of dental work, and he wanted to just spend the whole day on me. The Halcyon was to knock me out. I took one before arriving at the dentist’s office, and I believe he gave me one or two more during the day. I was so out of it that I recall only a few short incidents between my trip home and when I finally went to bed. After that, I have no recollection of anything whatsoever for the following three days. During the trip home from the dentist also, I discovered the drug had given me superhuman strength, when I handily ripped the visor right off my brother’s truck with one hand and not even realizing I had done it (I was trying to fold the visor down to use the mirror on the other side to check my teeth). I also hallucinated, dribbled food on myself, peed on the bathroom floor having missed the toilet unknowingly and, according to my poor brother who was my caretaker during that recuperation, I did some other crazy things.

    Now, I will say that I was out and had no pain during my dental work AND I had far less subsequent pain than would be normal – my dentist believes that this drug reduces post-operative pain.

    My dentist later told me that Halcyon was originally developed as a mental illness drug, and was quickly taken off the market because it was causing people to commit suicide, kill others, and do the sorts of insane things one would imagine such a drug would do.

    Hap wrote on April 16th, 2013
  14. I’ve been on a statin for 1 year now and 2 bp meds with excellent results. I’m an old fart (41 years old) and my cholesterol was dangerously high according to my doctor. My bp was also way to high at 138/66. My doctor told me that left untreated I may not see my 50th birthday!!!!! Thats scarey! very very scarey! My cholesterol is now normal and my bp is 110/51! My doctor is really happy at how well the meds have cured me of getting heart disease. The only bummer is that I feel tired and achy but my doctor says its my age. Anyone who doubts there doctor or science base medicine better think twice because you dont want to be dead from a heart attack or stroke before your 50!

    dave wrote on August 28th, 2014
  15. Will the paleo diet eliminate my need for an Omeprazole prescription. I greatly prefer the curative medicine of diet and exercise to the symptom covering “medicine” of prescription drugs. Any foods which will help to cure my silent reflux?

    Mike wrote on June 22nd, 2016

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!