Saturday, February 14, 2009

Excessive Gambling and Sexual Urges?

Last night I was enjoying TIVO - catching up on several TV programs I had missed during the past week. The beauty of TIVO is you can skip the commercials that ordinarily demand your absolute attention and, subsequently, turn you into a zombie-like consumer.

During a trip to the kitchen (okay, so I gave into a commercial for popcorn), I overheard an ad for Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). At first I was numb to the agony of such an affliction, but what really drew my attention was the list of side effects for the medication recommended to ease the symptoms.

There were the usual: nausea, headaches and dizziness. But, as the announcer continued listing the side effects talking as fast as he could so maybe you wouldn't catch exactly what he was saying, I was dumb-founded.

"You may fall asleep without warning during daily activities such as driving." If texting drivers aren't bad enough, now we have to worry about those behind the wheel with RLS?

"If you have urges that lead to pathological gambling and/or excessive/inappropriate sexual activity, contact your physician at once." This one leaves me half-tempted to visit a local casino to conduct a poll of couples leaving together. I'd give them my best in-the-name-of-medical-research posture and, with all the seriousness I could possibly muster, ask, "Excuse me, are either of you currently taking medication for RLS?".

"Hallucinations." Hallucinations? Yes, the FDA has approved this medication. Can you imagine the patients that participated in the test studies? "Legs, what legs?". "I can fly!"

I returned to watching The Cho Show and empathized with Margaret during the episode about her writer's block; however, her attempt to relieve this type of block with a colonic is nothing I've ever considered when I've needed to get past my blocks. Anyway, my mind kept drifting back to that commercial and the side effects listed. Just what is in this medication and how does it relate to the treatment of RLS? Watching the TIVO-ed ad over and over wasn't answering my questions. It was time for me to conduct my own independent research.

RLS is a severe and often disabling neurological disorder which afflicts 10-15% of the general population due to dopaminergic abnormalities. The medications for treating RLS contain dopamine. Of course, it's dopaminergic drugs that bring on these unwelcomed (or welcomed) side effects according to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ.

So, as you're trying to sleep and your legs are performing a smashing rendition of Michael Flatley's River Dance, the medication could possibly trick your mind into believing that you are much better off falling asleep at the throttle while attempting to land your Buick at the casino for slots and sluts. Sad, but true.



suZen said...

I coined the phrase "restless leg syndrome" WAYYY before I ever heard about the silly drugs for this - I'm serious - several decades ago. And boy you are right, the side-effects of most of the drugs on tv are ridiculous - like I'd purposely take some pill that will make me puke, pass out or have runs. As for RLS, people could just get up off their ass and walk it out. Works for me! Can't believe some actually risk those s.e. to take a damn pill!

Mike said...

I saw that commercial and laughed when he said that one of the side effects was you turn into a sexual deviant. That's great.

Anonymous said...

Wifey has an attack of the restless legs every so often... usually in bed while we're trying to sleep. I swear, it's like lying next to a windmill sometimes! Still, I'd rather that than some of that drug's listed side effects!

Jenn Thorson said...

I knew about the Restless Leg symptoms and am totally with you on the "Wha-? Gambling?" thing. So my mind is now dwelling on... COLONICS for writer's block?

Doesn't she know the really good ideas come out of THE OTHER end? :)

Lindsay Champion said...

Margaret Cho's show... I love her comedy but in the episode of The Cho Show I saw, she had her butt bleached. Usually I watch TV while I'm eating lunch or dinner, so this show is unfortunately out.

lindsay ||

Ram Venkatararam said...

So, is it a prerequisite that you actually have RLS in order to get these drugs?

Actually, I don't know why the drug company needs to reference the illness at all, those drugs will sell themselves.

Amy / Aimz said...

it was hard for me to find the comment form but, very funny post! i hate those quickly-muttered side effects they-dont-want-you-to-hear!

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