What are some tricks of the Dr. Feelgood trade?
November 30, 2007 8:50 AM   Subscribe

What are some techniques and tricks of pill-pushing celebrity doctors?

A recent spate of articles about a celebrity suggested that she used an asthma inhaler not because she had asthma but as a weight-loss device. Some articles also suggested that she used an anti-narcolepsy drug to combat cocaine addiction. Whether or not that's true, what are some other illicit prescriptions that a shady doctor might give (besides obvious pain-pills-for-jollies)? I imagine that good doctors might prescribe drugs for other than their official uses, but I'm looking for strictly shady and/or dangerous uses like the ones above. Also, any articles or books about Dr. Feelgoods, particularly in the entertainment world?

(I'm reading the Don Simpson biography right now, which should have some good stuff).
posted by Bookhouse to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The book Edie had some interesting accounts of the Factory crowd and various sixties celebs getting cocaine and vitamin injections by one of these guys.
posted by nedpwolf at 9:09 AM on November 30, 2007

Best answer: Scopolamine. Phentermine. Chlor clids.
posted by pieoverdone at 9:18 AM on November 30, 2007

Best answer: Hmm. Well, it's not like a doctor could prescribe it legally, but the first thing that popped into my head was Clenbuterol.
posted by peep at 9:30 AM on November 30, 2007

Ambien, the sleep drug, gives some wicked hallucinations and transient amnesia if you don't go to bed right after taking it.
posted by happyturtle at 9:47 AM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A friend of mine has repeatedly seen a certain actress in her thyroid doctor's office when said actress is losing weight after a role for which she had to gain it. Allegedly, said actress is prescribed excessive doses of thyroid drugs to accelerate her weight loss. I am aware this is FOAF, but similar tactics have been reported in the tabloids.
posted by rednikki at 9:55 AM on November 30, 2007

I'm sure it's quite common knowledge that adderall and ritalin, while legitimately prescribed for ADHD, are amphetamines that will give you speedy weight loss if you don't have ADHD.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 10:03 AM on November 30, 2007

Steroids for massive muscle gain?
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:38 AM on November 30, 2007

Not to hijack, but I have heard the same weight lose stories about adderall and ritalin.. My question is: why don't people who are properly prescribed the drug (people with ADHD) lose weight, too?
posted by mbatch at 11:56 AM on November 30, 2007

Best answer: Here's a GREAT one:

Topamax is an anti-convulsant and mood stabilizer, and used to control migraines, but it's side effects include startling weight loss and curbing of the craving for alcohol. While it is under review for legitimate use in combating alcoholism, the legitimate medical community to my knowledge has concluded that it's FAR too dangerous for use as a weight-loss drug. Side effects include massive tampering with your temporal lobe functioning (seizure control), potentially severe kidney problems and remarkable cognitive deficits (earning it the nickname 'Dopamax').

Notwithstanding, after I went from a size 6 to a 2 on Topamax (while using it legitimately for mood stabilizing effects), side effects ultimately became unmanageable. A female friend BEGGED me to continue the Rx and sell it to her for use as a weight loss drug. I declined.

In fact, the article I quoted above gives an overview of the drug and mentiones the weight loss issue, but it's far more generous and forgiving about the issue than other literature I'd read.
posted by bunnycup at 3:09 PM on November 30, 2007

Best answer: A conversation with a doctor over a few cocktails once elicited the comment: "They can go ahead and make abortion illegal if they need to. I can prescribe a combination of two pre-cancer treatments and cause anyone to miscarry."
posted by Gucky at 3:10 PM on November 30, 2007

bunnycup: Topamax is losing its patent in December/January, and they have been actively looking to market it as a weight loss drug for quite a while (I have a friend that has done some legal work for Ortho-McNeil). I take it for migraines and have to say that it definitely does impact hunger (or lack thereof). Not sure that I'm totally on board with 19yo college girls asking for scripts of a drug initially created to control seizures just so they can fit into a size 0 though, kwim?
posted by dancinglamb at 5:55 PM on November 30, 2007

Not to hijack, but I have heard the same weight lose stories about adderall and ritalin.. My question is: why don't people who are properly prescribed the drug (people with ADHD) lose weight, too?
posted by mbatch at 11:56 AM on November 30

Amphetamines do indeed reduce appetite in people who are prescribed them. I, uh, have a friend who took one of his friend's dexadrine pills once on a Vegas trip and it certainly reduced his appetite (but the buffetts are a big reason to go to Vegas, so he regretted it). But generally they're given in dosages that are lower than what your average tweeker would ingest, or in a controlled-release formulation, so weight loss isn't dramatic.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 6:08 PM on November 30, 2007

Sure, Topa would make millions as a weight loss drug - but having been on it I think it would be both medically and ethically unsound and inappropriate for a doctor to consider prescribing (or the FDA to approve) a drug with such drastic and/or dangerous side effects to be used essentially cosmetically (because, whether "health risk" obesity drives the approval process or not, it will certainly be sought after for minor cosmetic weight loss - think 90 days of topamax before a wedding, ugh). Which is why I proposed off-label use of Topamax as a GREAT example of the shady/dangerous Dr. Feelgood pill pushing here.
posted by bunnycup at 6:24 PM on November 30, 2007

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