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Lifestyle drug

A lifestyle drug is a medication designed to improve the patient's quality of life by addressing relatively minor and non-life threatening conditions such as baldness, impotence, wrinkles, and obesity. Antidepressants are also sometimes called lifestyle drugs.

Pharmaceutical companies often reject the term "lifestyle drug" as pejorative; they claim that the term is subjectively applied and used to imply that the condition treated by the drug is unimportant.[citation needed] Nonetheless, the term is widely used in the media.[1]

Critics argue that drug companies actively reclassify conditions once considered normal as "diseases" or "disorders" that can be treated medically with their products. "Halitosis" (bad breath), for example, was a concotion of Listerine's marketing team, while "erectile dysfunction" was invented by Viagra's marketing team. Before the development and marketing of their respective treatments, neither bad breath nor impotence were considered disorders, but rather a normal part of life.

Social critics also question the propriety of devoting huge research budgets towards creating these drugs when far more dangerous diseases like cancer and AIDS remain uncured. It is sometimes claimed that lifestyle drugs amount to little more than medically sanctioned recreational drug use. Proponents, however, point out that improving the patient's subjective quality of life has always been a primary concern of medicine, and argue that these drugs are doing just that.

Many health insurance programs, such as those run by the government of Germany,[1] do not cover payments for medications they classify as "lifestyle drugs".


  1. ^ Sanofi drops after FDA staff comments on Acomplia, Reuters, June 12, 2007

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lifestyle_drug". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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