TechCrunch – Pushing Drugs

TechCrunch is definitely a site to keep up with since they seem to get all of the news related to new businesses, funding, mergers & acquisitions, along with anything else. They’re definitely one of the feeds I pay attention to. Where else can you find out about startups and new videos by Radiohead!

Today a headline caught my attention about executives in Silicon Valley hopped up on Provigil. I was familiar with the prescription drug name, but I was unfamiliar with what it is prescribed for. Luckily, Arrington did a great job, as always, explaining everything about it. Or did he? It’s a drug used to keep you awake. Maybe like speed, but without apparent side effects that come with most other drugs. At least this is how Arrington is selling it on his website.

I thought I would do a little digging around to see if this really had ‘no side effects’ and this is what I found:

The most commonly observed adverse events ( ≥ 5%) associated with the use of PROVIGIL more frequently than placebo-treated patients in the placebo-controlled clinical studies in primary disorders of sleep and wakefulness were headache, nausea, nervousness, rhinitis, diarrhea, back pain, anxiety, insomnia, dizziness, and dyspepsia. (Source)

While these aren’t really that bad, it does show there “ARE” side effects. Of course, I wanted to get the information directly from the Provigil site to see what they say. I was a bit shocked at what I read:

PROVIGIL may cause you to have a serious rash or a serious allergic reaction that may result in hospitalization or be life-threatening. If you develop a rash, hives, sores, swelling, or trouble swallowing or breathing, stop taking PROVIGIL and call your doctor right away or get emergency treatment.

PROVIGIL is not approved for use in children.

If you experience chest pain, depression, anxiety, hallucinations, psychosis, mania, thoughts of suicide, aggression, or other mental problems, stop taking PROVIGIL and call your doctor right away or get emergency treatment.

PROVIGIL does not replace sleep and may not stop your ES completely. Do not drive or do other dangerous activities until you know how PROVIGIL affects you. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking PROVIGIL.

PROVIGIL has the potential to be abused or lead to dependence. Please use only as directed.

Tell your doctor if you have: history of mental health problems (including psychosis), heart problems or had a heart attack, high blood pressure, liver or kidney problems, a history of drug or alcohol abuse or addiction, or are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Women who use hormonal birth control may have a higher chance of getting pregnant, while taking PROVIGIL, and for one month after stopping. Talk to your doctor about other birth control methods while taking PROVIGIL.

Common side effects of PROVIGIL are headache, nausea, nervousness, stuffy nose, diarrhea, back pain, anxiety, trouble sleeping, dizziness, and upset stomach. (Source)

WHAT!! There should be a large spike in Silicon Valley children in around 9 months! Seems Arrington should have put a little more research into a post about drugs. This quote from his site shows he gives the complete opposite facts about it being habit forming:

There are few side effects to Provigil compared to stimulants and it is supposedly not habit forming. That, of course, doesn’t mean it’s safe to take it just to be able to stay awake for 20 hours a day.

I doubt he meant to peddle drugs, but after I read it, I was like “Hmm, maybe I should check it out.” I’m sure I’m not the only one. The people who think Arrington walks on water will probably have a script in hand by the end of the day.