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Letter to the editor icon2

Letter to the editor icon2

When I was growing up the preponderance of TV commercials were advertising cigarettes.

When the dangers of smoking to human health were pointed out by the surgeon general of the US and backed by scientific studies (really!! Did we need clinical studies to tell us that lighting something on fire and sucking it into our lungs wouldn't be good for us?) these commercials were outlawed.

Today's commercials are frequently recommending the wonderful drugs available to cure just about anything that ails you. Each however carries certain risks! One such drug is to supplement the anti-depressants people are already taking to make those more effective. The ad states "2 out of 3 people on anti-depressants may still experience symptoms of depression." They freely admit that their drug is not for everyone and to call your doctor "about unusual changes in behavior or worsening depression or thoughts of suicide. Anti-depressants can increase these in those 24 and younger, and elderly dementia patients have an increased risk of death or stroke." They advise you again to call your doctor "if you have stiff muscles and confusion — to address a possible life threatening conditions, or if you have uncontrollable muscle movements as these may be permanent." They candidly state that their product "has been shown to increase blood sugar in some people" and that "other risks are increased cholesterol, weight gain, unusual urges or compulsive behaviors, increased white blood cells-which can be serious, dizziness on standing, seizures, trouble swallowing, and impaired judgement or motor skills."

When I see this commercial and several others endorsing different drugs whose possible side effects are just as frightening, I wonder: If the criteria used to ban commercials is to protect the public's health from an imminent threat, shouldn't these commercials be banned as well??

Jim Sheehan, Butte

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