Just in case there was any question that this country over-prescribes medications, here is the tickbox list that came with the online health forms I had to fill out for my daughter to go on a school trip.
ABILIFY/AIRPIPRAZOLE ACCUTANE/CLARAVIS ADDERALL ADDERALL LA ADDERALL XR ADEK ADVAIR ADVIL AFRIN ALAVERT ALBUTEROL INHALER ALEVE ALLEGRA ALTACE/RAMIPRIL AMOXICILLIN ARIMIDEX/ARIMIDEX ASMANEX/MOMETASONE FUROATE ASPIRIN/ACETYLSALICYLIC ACID ATARAX/VISTARIL/HYDROXYZINE ATENOLOL/TENORMIN ATIVAN AUGMENTIN AURALGAN EAR DROPS AVANDIA AVAPRO/IRBESARTAN BACLOFEN BACTRIM DS BENADRYL/DIPHENHYDRAMINE BENTYL/DICYCLOMINE BIAXIN/CLARITHROMYCIN BIDEX BLOOD SUGAR CHECK BUSPAR CALCIUM CEFZIL CELEBREX CELEXA/CITALOPRAM CHLORPHENAMINE MALEATE CIMETIDINE CITLOPRAM/CELEXA CLARITIN/LORATADINE CLARINEX CLONAZEPAM CLONIDINE COMBIVENT CONCERTA CORTISOL COUGH DROPS COUMADIN CYMBALTA D-ALLERFY DAYQUIL DAYTRANA PATCH DDAVP DELSYM DEPAKOTEER DESMOPRESSIN DETROL LA DIASTAT DILANTIN DIMETAPP/BROMPHENIRAMINE DITROPAN/OXYYBUTYNIN DOXYCYCLINE DULCOLAX/DOCUSATE DYNACIN EFFEXOR/VANLAFAXIN EFFEXORXR/VENLAFAXIN ELAVIL/AMITRIPTYLINE ELESTAT ELIDEL CREAM/PIMECROLIMUS ENTOCORTEC/BUDESONIDE EPI-PEN ERYTHOMYCIN EXCEDRIN FACTOR VIII FIORICET/ACETAMINOPHENCODEINECAFFEINE FISH OIL FLOVENT FLONASE FOCALIN FOCALIN XR FOLIC ACID FORADIL GENOTROPIN GEODON/ZIPRASIDONE GLUCOPHAGE GROWTH HORMONE GUANFACINE/TENEX HUMALOG HYDROCORTISONE CREAM IMIPRAMINE IMITREX IMMODIUMAD/LOPERAMIDE INSULIN NPH INSULIN R INTUNIV ER KEFLEX KEPPRA LACTAID LAMICTAL LANTUS LEXAPRO LISINOPRIL LITHIUM/LITHIUM CARBONATE LODRANE LORTAB LURIDE LOZI TABLETS/SODIUM FLORIDE LUVOX/FLUVOXAMINE MAXAIR MAXALT/RIZATRIPTAN MAXALT/RIZATRIPTAN MELATONIN/ MERCAPTOPURINE/PURINETHOL METADATE METFORMIN MIDRIN MINOCYCLINE MIRALAX MIRAPEX MOTRIN/IBUPROFEN MUCINEX NAPROXYN NASACORT NASONEX NEURONTIN/GABAPENTIN NEXIUM/ESOMEPRAZOLE NORTRIPTYLINE NUTROPIN/SOMATROPIN OMEPRAZOLE OMNARIS PANCREASE/CREON PANTANOL EYE DROPS PANTENASE NASAL SPRAY PAXIL PENTASA/ASACOL/MESALAMINE PEPTO-BISMOL PHENERGAN/PROMETHAZINE PHENOBARBITAL PREDNISONE PREVACID/LANSOPRAZOLE PRILOSEC PROTONIX PROVENTIL NEB/MDI PROZAC PULMICORT QVAR RETIN-A/TRETINOIN RHINOCORT RISPERDAL/RISPERIDONE RITALIN RITALIN LA SEREVENT/SALMETEROL SEROQUEL SINGULAIR SOLODYN STRATTERA SUDAFED/PSEUDOEPHEDRINE HYDROCHLORIDE SUDAL SYMBICORT/BUDESONIDE-FORMOTEROL SYMMETREL/AMANTADINE SYNTHROID TEGRETOL/CARBAMAZEPINE TENEX TETRACYCLINE TOPAMAX/TOPIRAMATE TOPAMAX/TOPIRAMATE TRAZADONE TRILEPTAL TROFOANIL TYLENOL COLD DAY TYLENOL DIAZEPAM/VALIUM VERAMYST VITAMINS/VITAMINS VYVANSE WELLBUTRIN XOPONEX XYZAL/LEVOCETIRIZINE YAZ/DROSPIRENONE AND ETHINYL ESTRADIOL ZANTAC ZARONTIN/ETHOSUXIMIDE ZEGERID ZERTEC ZITHROMYCIN ZOLOFT/SERTRALINE ZOMIG/ZOMIGZMT/ZOLMITRIPTAN ZYPREXIA ZYRTEC D/CETIRIZINE DECONGESTANT ZYRTEC/CETIRIZINE
I felt like a bit of a slacker when I didn’t tick any, though she did get told off by her teacher the other day for having a Ricola at school, because it’s medicine, and I see now that cough drops are included above, though it’s hard to read within the angry shouting of all the capitalization.
Watching the medicine ads on TV was always a feature of our trips home when we lived abroad, symptomatic of a societal disorder which seems to be even more deeply rooted. The disclaimers are now woven into the narrative, so that the actors look you in the eye and describe what might happen if this medicine isn’t “right for you.” One takes it as reasonable that a side-effect might include an erection that lasts more than three hours (see our ad in Golf Digest), a coma, or even death. Why let risk stand in the way of potential?
Ask a third grader (with health insurance) what happened to her taped wrist and she will describe the MRI she had, the recommendation from the specialist. You learn medical terminology young. People have procedures. They will scan you at the drop of a hat. What was once the domain of the old is now open to the young but they enter with optimism and resilience.
There was a study done in the UK a few years ago about playgrounds and they found that children took more risks the more safety features were installed. If you watch the teenagers on swings that are on choke chains, see how they flip the swings over the bars. Children take more risks on bouncy surfaces. I think a similar study was done to correlate driving safety and seatbelts, or bike riding and helmets. By making playgrounds “safer,” —with the bouncy ground and the slow equipment—we are undermining the fun and pushing them to create riskier risks.
With more medications and procedures available to us (if we have health insurance) do we feel safer and more resilient?
The staple drug of my youth, a taste so redolent of being looked after and taken care of it is now available as a perfume, baby aspirin, is no longer safe to give to children. But everything else is, supposedly.