First it’s zapping bad memories (see previous article) and now – monthly periods for women. Gents, you may think of this post as “for ladies only” but keep reading: this has general biological implications for either gender.
Did you know that a small percentage – 8% according to this NYT report – of women have such painful periods that the condition qualifies as a disorder?
Enter Wyeth – a company manufacturing a pill that will zap debilitating periods – “forever”.
Since I haven’t yet seen DTC or marketing campaigns for this product, I’ll reserve the “disease mongering” judgment that anti-pharma activists or consumer groups may dole out. My main concerns will be:
– Whether there will even be a DTC for this product. If there is, then the gloves come off. There is no reason to have a massive commercial campaign for a disorder debilitating 8% of women unless the company wants to market this product as a “lifestyle drug” for those women who view periods as completely unnecessary and a hindrance to their lifestyle.
– How menstrual periods will be portrayed in the media. I maintain that periods are not a “disability” but a natural biological function that serves a purpose. My adolescent years were plagued by such monthly pain that my hands and feet would literally seize up before I collapse to the floor and dry-heave. It was THAT painful. I empathize with women who were unfortunate enough to experience this well into mature adulthood. I have to say that birth control pills was a serious help in mitigating the intensity of that pain (acetaminophen and ibuprofen were also lifesavers for me). However bothersome such monthly “inconvenience” is, I would never consider manipulating my own hormones with drugs unless I was faced with a major health reason (see next point for why).
– How long term safety will be portrayed by industry and in the media. Remember hormone replacement therapy and the side effects that didn’t become apparent until years later? As a former cancer researcher, I am leery of any drugs that alter any endocrine functions.
– Where the lines are between medical need and lifestyle/personal preference. If we start zapping menstrual periods, what’s next, drugs that would work at the site of spermatogenesis and render sperm incompetent as a “convenient male contraceptive”?