My male co-worker takes Midol. You’re kidding, right?

March 10, 2010

We all know that Midol is a medication that is used primarily to treat symptoms related to female menstrual and premenstrual syndromes such as pain, bloating and discomfort.  The product is manufactured, labeled and marketed specifically for women and the physical problems they experience due to this biological attribute.  So imagine my surprise when I recently saw one of my male coworkers popping in a couple of Midol tablets while at work one day.  Before I approached him, TV and radio commercials for Midol flashed through my head as I recalled the message of discomfort and pain that women go through when experiencing this condition and couldn’t help but feel a little squeamish as I sat there.  When I approached him to determine this perceived bizarre medication behavior I promised I would keep an open mind, and concentrate on a little fact checking and education within my conversation.  Through my conversation with my male co-worker I found out that he had researched the active ingredients in Midol and determined that they are acetaminophen (to treat pain), caffeine and pyrilamine maletate (which helps to relieve bloating and cramping).  Turns out that he had experienced problems with bloating after eating certain foods and was a chronic headache and backache sufferer so he was taking Midol specifically because of those active ingredients to relieve the symptoms he was experiencing.

But wait a second.  Midol is only for women, right?  Wrong.  It is only perceived that way because of the drug manufacturer’s marketing and advertising campaign to women as a relief for their menstrual and pre-menstrual symptoms.  It got me to thinking…..why is it that we, as consumers, so often blindly listen only to medication advertising and marketing messages without doing our own homework on the active ingredients of a drug to use that information as a way to self-medicate?  Self-medication is defined as “use of a drug with therapeutic intent but without professional advice or prescription.”  It is on the rise on this country and as more medications are available as OTC drugs, more consumers are taking their health care into their own hands and liberating themselves from established medicine by diagnosing, researching and prescribing their own medications for a particular ailment or condition.  It’s only natural as a society that we have evolved to this stage due to the skyrocketing amount if information available on the Internet and other resources about every possible subject on medication and diagnosis we can imagine, and more.  Unfortunately, the research that a large number of consumers conduct is solely based on marketing and advertising messages, especially testimonials from satisfied users, rather than a complete and thorough understanding of; the medication active ingredients, drug label warnings, dangerous side effects, proper dosage amounts and pre-existing conditions, just to name a few.  We look to our peers for first hand stories and advice, and to the drug manufacturers as a trusted resource for the due diligence required before ingesting our seemingly intelligent choice of which medication would work best.

The story of Midol is a clear cut example of how someone had done their homework and researched the active ingredients and side effects of the medication before determining that it wasn’t relegated exclusively for the treatment of menstrual and pre-menstrual syndromes but could also act as a relief for the unique symptoms that they were experiencing.  At Medilyzer, we encourage consumers to use our resources as a platform to educate themselves on the truth of medications and step outside of the maufacturer’s marketing zone to empower oneself to use their own, unique biological condition as the starting point for their self-medication.  If my co-worker went to the Dr’s office to seek professional advice and a treatment recommendation for his condition, do you think that Dr. would have suggested Midol as a viable medication?  My guess is probably not.  It was through my co-worker’s use of the Medilyzer database  and information portal that directed him to use Midol to relieve his symptoms and subside his discomfort.  His condition was unique, as every consumer’s is, and he empowered himself through the Medilyzer resources to take action in his efforts to self-medicate his condition.

The moral of the story is: extensively educate yourself, do your homework and don’t rely only on what you see on T.V. and in print or hear on the radio when arriving at your decision on what medication is appropriate for you.  Use the resources that Medilyzer provides you, heck you can even download our solution to your smart phone and carry it with you when you visit the pharmacy to have it readily available as you conduct your research.  Educate, empower, then act.

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