A dozen popular antidepressants don't work nearly as well as the "data" doctors cite to tell you they do, according to an FDA review. (The whole graph is after the jump.) The biggest grade inflators were Serzone, Zoloft, Remeron, Wellbutrin SR, Paxil and Cymbalta. Effexor, the drug that shame-ridden shrink confessed to shilling unethically in the New York Times Magazine last fall came in seventh. Which brings me back to an important part I was trying to make when I posted insensitively about fibromyalgia the other day. See, it is often times the people who think they're least susceptible to advertising — ahem, doctors — who turn us all into suckers.
No one likes to think we're prey to the shameless "Talk to your doctor!" come-ons of the advertising industry. We like to think we are too smart for that. We like to think we make rational purchasing decisions borne of a thorough survey of all the available options — or that at the very least, we are creatures of our own innate needs and desires. I can only assume that this is why a lot of you got so defensive when I joked that fibromyalgia was a "vague pharmaceutical industry invented malady." A few of you turn out to have fibromyalgia — and "restless leg syndrome", and whatever else I treated with my signature careless disdain. I'm sorry guys; I made my point less thoughtfully than I maybe should have. We all have health problems. But right now the most highly -capitalized, influential and consumer-savvy source of all that we know and learn about those problems — the developers of the drugs, the sponsors and publishers of their studies, the sources of continuing education to your doctors — is the pharmaceutical industry, and the pharmaceutical industry exists to convince us that our problems are "syndromes" necessitating a pill you take once a day. Ever wondered why the industry doesn't seem to develop anything you can take once and be done with it? Yeah, well. Ever wondered who that cute guy in the suit with the briefcase sitting outside your shrink's office at lunchtime was? Yeah, don't ask him out, he's definitely a player and he's probably a recreational Cialis user on top of that.
Anyway, apologies to everyone out there who is suffering from something. Just hatin' on the game, so to speak. If I spoke that way. Whatever.