Ever noticed how the TV ads seem to go hand in hand with aging viewers, bombarding us with promises of relief from every conceivable ailment? It’s like a medication marathon, where every other commercial break brings a new contender, armed with a laundry list of potential side effects that could make your head spin faster than a restless leg.

Is clearing up “restless leg syndrome” really worth falling asleep while driving?

Yes, the restless leg…a condition that no one in the country had ever heard of before until a drugmaker started advertising the drug Ropinirole under the brand name “Requip” in 2005.

I remember the first time I saw one of these ads, pushing a remedy for “restless leg syndrome.” Restless leg what? It sounded like something out of a comedy sketch.

But the punchline wasn’t so funny when the side effects sounded more like a horror movie marathon than a solution to twitchy limbs. Falling asleep while driving, irregular heartbeat, changes in vision, hallucinations, low blood pressure, and laughably, uncontrollable head, mouth, neck and leg movements. No thanks.

As I continue to watch these ads over the years, I am noticing more and more that the side effects for taking a lot of medications seem to be far far worse than whatever the original ailment is.

A list of side effects longer than the line at the DMV.

It’s like a side-effect showdown on my TV screen. Just the other day, I was catching up on the news, and what do I see? Three back-to-back ads for different medications, each with a side effect list that made the TV ad about three minutes longer than it needed to be.

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Take, for instance, the ad for psoriasis medication. Now, I’m sure that it’s not pleasant to suffer with the discomfort of red, itchy patches, but when the cure sounds worse than the condition – well, that’s a tough pill to swallow.

Picture this: potential side effects for this medication include thoughts of taking a nosedive off a cliff, your immune system waving the white flag against germs, and surprise visits from liver problems and inflammatory bowel disease. Yikes! I think I’ll take the itchy skin.

Of course, you are probably shouting at me (with your restless leg), “Who are you to judge??!!!” Well, that’s my job, as a writer. To discuss facts – and to judge. So there’s your answer.

Navigating through the side effect minefield.

At least the drugmakers are upfront about things (legally, they have to be) and they tell you that if you take their medication to clear up thinning hair or to lose weight, you might develop suicidal tendencies, you could tank your liver or have a stroke. That’s always good information to have. Some of the side effects also include “death” but those are usually the cancer drugs.

But like I said…before we go running to our doc to ditch our restless legs or zap our psoriasis, at least we are armed with the full picture of what might happen to us. Knowledge is power, even if it’s a little terrifying.

Inventive names are made up to advertise spooky products.

And don’t get me started on the names of these drugs. Bimzelix? That sounds like more of a weather emergency. It’s like the drugmakers are playing Scrabble with random letters and hoping for the best.

A local radio talk show personality used to have a segment where he would give us a name and we had to guess if it was the name of an automobile or a drug. It sounds easy but it wasn’t.

Is it a car – or a drug?

Can you guess if these names are for drugs or automobiles? Dupixent, Serenity, Imbruvica, Januvia, Brilinta, Ambrosia, Farxiga, Enigma… And some of the names are both a drug AND an automobile like Ecstasy and Opium.

So here’s the bottom line…the next time you’re tempted by that shiny, new magic pill with the cool name, don’t forget to squint at the fine print. Because in the dazzling circus of medications, sometimes the side effects steal the spotlight. And even if only 4% of patients are affected by the side effects, SOMEONE has to make up that 4%.

As Big Pharma keeps cranking out solutions to our everyday woes (many of which we never knew existed), it’s essential to give them the ol’ side-eye and a hearty dose of skepticism. Sure, these meds might come with flashy names and promises of salvation, but let’s be real, the cure might just be worse than the curse.