The next time you see a pharmaceutical commercial on your television, the best thing for your health is to change the channel.
“Once a patient believes a medication causes certain side effects, it is very hard for physicians to prescribe it to the patient,” says Juan Castro, M.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. “You have to do a lot of talking and hope they decide to take the prescription as part of their treatment.”
Some patients will even begin to experience the side effects they hear during the commercials for psychological reasons, Dr. Castro says.
“There are patients who hear something and then come down with those side effects,” Dr. Castro says.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are the patients who hear about the medications from high-profile actors or doctors on television and decide those are the medicines they need to get better. This stimulates inappropriate medication use.
“Remember, it is a sales pitch,” Dr. Castro says. “If you have a question, call your pharmacist or physician, and that health professional will direct you to do what is best for your health.”