An Open Letter To Glamour About “The Pill That Made Me Happy, Horny & Skinny”

By on July 28, 2012

Antidepressants are not glamorous.

Glamour recently published a blog post called “True Health Confession: ‘The Pill That Made me happy, Horny and Skinny…,’” detailing one woman’s (non-normative) experience with the antidepressant Wellbutrin.

The article started with making mention of the fact that the makers of Wellbutrin, GlaxoKlineSmith, were fined three million dollars for inaccurate marketing and branding of the drug. Glaxo reps were pushing it as a “happy, horny, skinny” pill, and Dr. Drew Pinsky was paid to promote the drug’s libido-boosting effects to the media.

The article then goes on to quote one woman who had a positive experience with Wellbutrin, noting that Glaxo reps pushed it as a “happy, horny, skinny pill,” and claiming that she had experienced all of these “desirable” side effects. She was prescribed the pill to help her quit smoking.

(Incidentally, Glamour ran an article in the September 2009 issue, where Dr. Michael F. Roizen recommended that readers try Wellbutrin in conjunction with nicotine patches in order to kick their cigarette habit. And yes, this is an FDA approved use of the drug.)

The author of the latest post, Sarah Jio, mentioned that she thought it was a bit much to call the pill a “happy, horny, skinny” pill, and also mentioned that antidepressants often have undesirable side effects. however, she didn’t list any—or how potentially severe they can be.

The main focus of this post is on the positive experience that one woman had, and it makes the pill sound downright glamorous, when in fact, the majority of readers commenting on the post mentioned adverse side effects in their experiences with Wellbutrin and/or other antidepressants.

I applaud Sarah Jio’s intention to start a dialogue on antidepressant use, but the conversation that has been started needs to be changed—antidepressants are not to make you happy, horny, and skinny—ask Glaxo, they just got fined three million dollars because of the inaccuracy and irresponsibility of this marketing tactic.

So why is Glamour picking up where Dr. Drew left off?

The article’s headline and content is just as inaccurate, misleading and irresponsible as Dr. Drew’s paid promotion of the drug as a libido-booster.

“Take Wellbutrin, and you too can be skinny, happy and sexy like the dangerously thin, unrealistic airbrushed models in the pages of our glossy magazine,” it seems to suggest.

There’s nothing glamorous about America’s overreliance on pharmaceutical interventions, nor is there anything glamorous about how the drug companies are making billions keeping the nation on drugs.

That’s what happens when you get on an antidepressant for anxiety or addiction or depression—you’re generally looking at long-term usage. the pills don’t work for everyone, and almost 50 percent of patients require a dose modification or other prescription change before any improvement is seen. most pills take up to 12 weeks for any therapeutic effects to be felt, and you can generally expect to stay on them for at least six months after you start feeling better. Some people will stay on antidepressants their entire lives.

Without the pills to manage the symptoms, they are apt to return—what do you do then?

Physicians should advise their patients who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and addiction to try alternative treatments before prescribing antidepressants.

Patients should advocate for themselves and ask the doctor for alternative and/or complementary therapies if they are not offered.  if the doctor seems intent on pushing pills, don’t hesitate on getting a second opinion.

Medication should be a last resort and it should ideally be paired with complementary treatment—psychotherapy in addition to practices that are sustainable for the patient, such as dietary changes, a yoga/exercise program, EFT, meditation and other mindfulness practices offer the same benefits—without the risk of dangerous side effects like seizures.

These programs work if you are committed to working them!

But, alas, an astounding number of Americans are on antidepressants.

Women are two and a half times more likely to be taking antidepressants than men. Data suggests that antidepressant use has skyrocketed by 400 percent since the late 1980s. It’s estimated that one out of ten Americans is on antidepressants.

To Sarah Jio and Glamour, once again, I commend you for wanting to start a dialogue about antidepressant use. as the author mentioned in her post, “The more we know and can talk about benefits, side effects, complaints and shared stories, the better off we are, gals.”

Please accept my response as an invitation to help you help your readers have an honest conversation—an honest conversation is going to include the good, the bad and the ugly.

Naturally, women who want to be happier, hornier, and/or skinnier are going to be drawn to Ms. Jio’s blog because of the captivating headline.

Instead of featuring what seems to be largely pro-pill commentary, why not mention that there are other ways to be happier, hornier, and/or skinnier without popping pills—especially since this pill was never intended to be marketed in the manner that Glamour presented it in.

Offer your readers sustainable solutions—it doesn’t take but a moment to include a blurb at the end with a few links letting readers know that there are evidence based alternatives to antidepressants that work, because many people who end up on antidepressants do experience side effects, and very few of them are “desirable,” like the ones mentioned in this article.

Here’s to changing the conversation and empowering women.

Please don’t think you need to be “skinny” or that you need a pill to be happy, horny or healthy. You are enough and beautiful as you are…that’s glamour. if you want to make changes in your life to be happier, hornier and healthier, rely on your beautiful, amazing self—not a pill. 

Note:  if you are suffering from depression, anxiety, addiction, do not hesitate to see your doctor and seek professional assistance. Have no shame in your game, girl. Seeking a professional opinion is relying on your beautiful, amazing self—you are the expert on you, and it’s an act of self-love to take care of yourself. if a doctor recommends antidepressants, so be it—but be open to trying alternative and/or complementary therapies.

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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An Open Letter To Glamour About “The Pill That Made Me Happy, Horny & Skinny”

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