Friday, July 29, 2005

Neulasta in My Pasta

Some of you unfortunate enough to watch commercial television may have noticed the new ads for Neulasta, a product for boosting white blood cell counts during chemotherapy.

What you may not know is that one injection costs about $3000--for .6 ml of liquid, which is less than the amount of an ejaculation (which I offer for free, though the Nobel Sperm Bank was shut down--I was refused in any case because William Shockley thought me inferior).

Now this one shot is good for only one chemotherapy cycle, which can mean weeks or less. Four cycles means $12,000. Doctors normally monitor your white count during the process but no doubt will be besieged for the drug for preventive reasons, I assume, in the near future.

For $3000 you should also know the side effects of the drug, which are free-- I mean, if you're concerned about side effects, since you must already have cancer to qualify for the drug, from rxlist.com:

adverse experiences occurred at rates between 72% and 15% and included: nausea, fatigue, alopecia, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, fever, anorexia, skeletal pain, headache, taste perversion, dyspepsia, myalgia, insomnia, abdominal pain, arthralgia, generalized weakness, peripheral edema, dizziness, granulocytopenia, stomatitis, mucositis, and neutropenic fever.

Since I already have most of these it didn't scare me, though I'm intrigued by "taste perversion," which, I supposes, strikes to the heart of nature vs. nurture with regard to bisexuality, recently deemed a myth by a Canadian researcher who noted that bisexuals, on visual stimulation, either responded to hetero or homo fare. Then taste perversion could possibly mean that I find Frost sophomoric and am seized by a need to read Jorie Graham, or I suddenly prefer Neil Young's guitar work to that of Jimi Hendrix. The mind boggles but the price doesn't; hard to buy a used car for $3000 any more and pre-owned vehicles cost even more.

Another site cautioned about blue lips and fingernails, but for Goth girls this hardly sounds like a cosmetic bargain.

I noticed the dawn of TV ads for prescription drugs in the early nineties when I was still practicing as a family doctor. They started with arthritis drugs and Prilosec and the like, then moved on to sleepers like Sonata and antidepressants like Lexapro.

Clearly nothing is an invasion of privacy anymore, and the doctor-patient relationship has been supplanted by the marketer-consumer relationship, and profit is king. Profit was always king, I suppose, but the prophets of profit had previously been limited to what products they might hawk on the public airwaves; no more.

It used to be patients would bring in The National Enquirer to ask me about miracle drugs (which were not miracle drugs but drugs of existing classes already being marketed in Europe). Now any illiterate patient can harass a doctor based on a thirty-second TV ad. To help my colleagues I have come up with some antidotes for this plague: Blowitoffazol, Zombine, Upyourassizone, and Idontgivearatsassapine. Sadly I don't have the venture capital to launch them.

Obviously the intended demographic for the sale of this product is high-end, which like the sale of yachts does not suffer in economic downturns. It only takes one: one cancer patient with a low white count or one yachtless billionaire.

Finally, to make my blog current with the news cycle (for which I take Newslasta):

As to terrorism: Why not a drug to eradicate terrorist cells?

As to profiling: Why not a drug to boost black cells?

As to the space shuttle: Why not a drug to secure foam cells?

All for today.


Your Faithful Philosophraster,

C. E. Chaffin

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    I am 39 years old. Have been on Lexapro for 2 years now. This medication had an almost immediate positive effect on my life. Within 2 to 3 days of starting Lexapro, there was a noticeable lift in my general mood. A WARNING ABOUT STOPPING OR WEANING OFF LEXAPRO: I started taking 10 mg daily a couple of years ago for about 2 months, then decided I just didn't want to take medicine every day. So I weaned myself off over a 2-wk period, first reducing the dose to 5 mg/day, then 5 mg every other day before I stopped altogether. I figured I would be able to tell if my mood was going downhill and I would just restart if it did. Well, there was no gradual decline. I was careful to monitor my mood and thoughts every day and everything went great for about 3 months, then C.R.A.S.H!!! I mean it hit me like a WALL, very very suddenly! Despite exercising 4-5x per week, healthy eating, etc., I hit an all-time low.

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    I hope this information will be useful to others,
    Lisa Carter

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