Never read the small print

I’ve hurt my arm.

It’s nothing serious, but it is pretty painful. My doctor sent me for precautionary x-rays, which showed that everything is ok bonewise. She also gave me some anti-inflammatory tablets which she enthused about. In fact, she got quite carried away, reminding me of my wife when she discovers something else she can do with MS Excel.
Sheesh – accountants/doctors/other happy professionals.

Anyway, such was the doctor’s excitement over these tablets, I found that my scientific curiousity had been somewhat stimulated. I was almost quivering with mounting anticipation as I headed home from the pharmacy.
As soon as I got in and had removed the scrambled egg from the carpet, sofa and curtains (see: 2-year-old, having a), I went through the HUGE package insert. After a while, I realised that despite my years of medical training, I was struggling to understand a word of it. Then I realised I was looking at the Afrikaans side.

Etorikoksib word omvattend in die lewer gemataboliseer en minder as 1% van die dosis word in die urine as onveranderde geneesmiddel herwin.

Which, for a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug is pretty remarkable. And probably accounts for the mean oral bioavailability of 100%, which impressed me too.
Etoricoxib (the English spelling) is a COX-2 inhibitor. Stop sniggering at the back. 
Hmm. That’s obviously enough of the exciting pharmacology.

I moved onto the section entitled Side Effects and Special Precautions.  Yes – we’ve all seen renal failure, dyspepsia, nausea, dizziness, headache and the obligatory DEATH (“Don’t say we didn’t warn you, Mr Thousand!”). However, I was taken completely by surprise by what I read after those little gems. It was there I came across the best side effect I’ve ever heard of:

“detachment of the top layer of skin from the lower layers of the skin all over the body”

How cool is that? You too can be a snake for a day. Just don’t roll in salt afterwards.

I’m off out for a curry this evening – can you imagine the reaction as I moult gently into the shared naan bread?
“Hmm – this is a bit flaky tonight… not up to their usual standard.”

7 thoughts on “Never read the small print

  1. So laaik, I laughed and thought “wow he’s right, that is the coolest side effect ever” and then after a couple of minutes of appreciation I realised I wanted to know the beginning of this story, how did you hurt the arm in the first place? Was it under unusual and amusing circumstances? 😀

  2. I know how you hurt your arm!

    It was from the strain of sending SMS on that OLD bulky phone of yours. Now if you had just had your wife’s…

  3. Ooooh, those little inserts make for awesome reading material when you end up spending a night in the bathroom just in case your stomach manages to leave your body through you throat after all.

    Next time I am definitely reading it first before I drink it just cause the doctor said it would help.

    Hope you don’t start shedding! 😉

  4. Well written, enjoyed it tremendously. Trying to get the pic of all these jellie looking, wobbling in their skin people out of my head! haha

  5. Would that mean you would have shed a load of skin….loadshodding in SA is a bigger problem than we thought!!

    Don’t knock COX-2 inhibitors – they are the future for pain relief!

  6. That is a hardcore side effect. But my fave lately has been from a restless leg syndrome drug that lists compulsive gambling and sex as side effects…

    No wonder Mom wants to go to Vegas all of a sudden.

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