Every night I administer eye drops containing betaxolol hydrochloride, brinzolamide, and the prostaglandin analogue latanoprost to my daughter. What do these marvels of modern medical chemistry accomplish? Almost nothing. That’s right – almost nothing.
Some drugs are simply chemicals that already occur in your body – you just change certain balances by administering them and naturally (more or less) push things in a desired direction. Other drugs cause profound reactions in specific cells. A well-timed antibiotic has saved many a man from near certain death. Pain killers make surgery possible in nearly all cases and daily life possible for many.
But other drugs are just grasping at straws to accomplish anything at all. I was reading a detailed report on how one of the drugs I mentioned above works and discovered that 80% of the drug is recoverable in urine within 17 minutes. 17 minutes!? Do you know what that means? It means as soon as you put the stuff in your body, it says, “What the hell is this? Flush that straight down the toilet!” The affect of the drug is literally felt for just a few minutes. You could administer it more often, but that is challenging, has many ill side-effects and only increases overall effectiveness a tiny amount. And speaking of side-effects, some of them are downright odd. One of them will cause your eye lashes to grow extra long. Another will make a funny taste in your mouth. A third can weaken your breathing – all with a single drop in your eye. So do they do what they are meant to do? Sort of. A little bit, but often nobody knows why. Under the mechanism heading on one prescription, it reads: “Reduces interocular pressure. The precise mechanism of this effect is not known.” Nice.
Now I love learning about this stuff. Some of my best memories are when my father used to read and explain passages from his pharmaceutical reference tome (among other things) to me when I was a young man. My sister is getting her doctorate in the field in a few weeks time. (Congrats!) But the more I interact with these materials first hand, the more I realize that this clever stuff will not save us. Not even close. Our own half-life is not much longer than some of these remedies. The only thing that will save my daughter is love – perfect love. It’s the only thing that will save me too.
God I need your help tonight
Beneath the noise
Below the din
I hear your voice
In science and in medicine
“I was a stranger
You took me in”
The songs are in your eyes
I see them when you smile
I’ve had enough of romantic love
Yeah, I’d give it up, yeah, I’d give it up
For a miracle, miracle drug
-Lyrics from “Miracle Drug”, by U2