Tuesday, March 23, 2004

FDA Wants Better Warnings

Here we go with the whole chicken or the egg argument. The FDA is asking the makers of ten different anti-depressant drugs to add or strengthen the warnings on their labels about potential suicidal side effects. The primary drugs pinpointed are:

  • Prozac (fluoxetine)

  • Zoloft (sertaline)

  • Paxil (paroxetine)

  • Luvox (fluvoxamine)

  • Celexa (citalopram)

  • Lexapro (excitalopram)

  • Wellbutrin (bupropion)

  • Effexor (venlafaxine)

  • Serzone (nefazodone)

  • Remeron (mirtazapine)

This strikes me as an interesting philosophy, one based upon the ever-growing legal liability suits. A more invasive big brother, it appears, wants to treat it subjects as sheep in need of exuberant pampering. Anyone hear the call of the Illumanti? Chicken or egg, which came first?

The applicability of this philosophical dilemma, the so called chicken or egg conundrum, maybe actually be a fallacy, but this is why this policy is relevant.... These drugs are generally used for the treatment of depression, for which a symptom is, that's right kids, suicidal ideation, plans or attempts, according to the DSM-IV. How could a researcher feasibly have any real statistics about how prone an individual is to suicide on a medication, when that very tendency (i.e. the dependent variable) is what put them ON THE MEDICATION?


I'm alright.

So everyone, remember to read your labels. The side effects might be symptom... er... the symptom maybe be a side eff.... Whatever, you figure it out.

By the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 22, 2004

Smokers Phased Out... Again

It's coming, and coming soon. The dreaded smoking ban begins April 1st in Connecticut, and I, for one, am upset.

Yes, I'm a smoker. That states the obvious reason, but in reality, there are so many others.

I have no dilemma with not smoking in a restaurant. I can fully understand the aggravation of a non-smoker trying to eat and chewing down a large cloud of carbon monoxide. I don't have a problem with it at all, but I do find it odd to ban it in a bar.

New York City has done this. I've been there numerous times since the ban, and it sucks. I've read all kinds of articles about the economical windfall following the law, with losses, on average, of 30% of customers according to NYNewsday.

This brings to mind the days of Prohibition and the Speakeasy. Making a law that forces people to give up something they enjoy generally doesn't go well when they already have a well established lifestyle. The motivation, is of course, the health of non-smokers and employees. First of all, half the people that don't smoke light up at a bar. I've seen it, and many times. I'd say that at least half of bartenders in the places I frequent smoke themselves. A good bar owner will have an impressive ventilation system that removes the majority of smoke. Besides, come on, booze and cigs are like bread and butter.

But what kind of precedent does this set? If I'm allergic to perfume, is it going to get banned from a bar? I have sensitive ears, hooting and hollering and laughing loud: banned. I'm agoraphobic, so when I go to a bar, everyone has to leave. Ridiculousness.

I would say there are much smarter, slower methods. Consider, perhaps, taxing smoking bars. Let the owners decide what kind of losses they want to take, and let employees pick where they'd like to work. Already you have a financial option that the government might be a bit more interested in. Make a law that these bars also have to have a ventilation system that rotates through the air n-times per hour. Stop selling packs of cigarettes at bars. There are many options that are seemingly ignored. Even if you wanted to be really drastic, implement a law that cigarettes cannot be sold to anyone born after April 1st, 2004. Phase things out slowly... it's the way to institute change without rebellion.

I considered writing my congressman, governor, etc., but I know it isn't worth the time. Perhaps business will be the ones who really control the attention of the aforementioned representatives of the people.

But I'm betting against it.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Introduction - Johnny 5

Welcome to our slowly evolving discussion blog. We will be conducting discussion about various topics in everday life here as the site evolves and the formatting works out. We hope to create enlightening and inspiring debates and talks, and eventually allow others to add to our dialog. As time evolves, we'll let you know more about us, and introduce you to the fun little game known debate.

More on this later.