Over the years, I've noticed how over-the-counter medications -- particularly headache medications -- have tried to sound stronger and stronger in terms of their effectiveness. The problem is, everytime they make them sound stronger, they paint themselves into a new corner: If this is extra strength, what can be stronger?
I've seen the following "strengths" on various medications over the years:
- Low dose: Sort of like taking the medication...but not really.
- Regular: This is almost boring to take now. Only regular? Wimp!
- Extra strength
- ...and now Clinical
Now, I'm not quite sure what the difference is between super and mega but they appear to be different in some way.
Pharmacist: "Oh no, I wouldn't take that. That's the super dosage. Start with the mega dosage first and work your way up to that."
I think the worst thing that happened was when they came out with maximum strength versions awhile back. It probably sounded great at the time, but I have a feeling a few months later they realized they were kind of trapped. If this is the absolute maximum amount you can take...then, I think we're done! We reached the maximum strength. Send home the chemists and the marketing people! We can't do anything more for you!
And that's another thing about maximum strength that kind of bugs me. It's potentially very depressing. I've got a bad headache or some sort of really bad cold or whatever. I grab a box of the maximum strength and pop two pills. If that doesn't take care of the issue, there's nothing left. How depressing is that! I've got a nasty cold and not even maximum strength took care of it. I'm doomed!
Personally, I think they should back off the idea of "maximum" so there's always room to grow. I think they should relabel it "Kinda Close". This would be beneficial to both consumers and pharmaceuticals alike. For the consumer, if I take it and it doesn't work, then I know that at least some day, somewhere out there, I'll find something stronger. If the pharmaceutical, you can keep pushing it stronger and stronger. There's always room for more.
I suspect the next wave of these drugs will be either using the term "clinical" now (if they're "clinical" now, what were they before?!) or they'll start combining terms. You'll start to see Super Extra-Strength or Mega-max Strength.
I suppose that's all fine and dandy as long as we keep it to the medical industry. If this starts to bleed into other areas, that'll become a problem. I don't want to go to the grocery store to buy max-calcium milk followed by mega-grain bread with ultra-fat free steak.
If I do, that's ok. I'll just wash my dishes with clinical strength grease-fighting soap.
Editors note: An Australian friend has reminded me I missed "prescription strength". My apologies as there's about 10 more jokes I could've made had I remembered.