Like every good American, I enjoy consuming media to the point that it actively detracts from my productivity time, I consider college extremely important despite the fact that the USA needs fewer history majors and more 'trades' people than ever, and I take way too many pills to go to sleep at night. It is this last part that I found so interesting.
Bear with me: imagine you've moved from a beautiful place--wherein you were healthier than every before--to a place in which your allergies suffer constant, low-grade stimulation. It's not even very painful or annoying, except for a half-dozen three minute periods every day. You've never needed to take allergy medications in your life; your skin is alabaster, because you limit your outside time to avoid seasonal allergies. But now, even though you're inside far more than before, you've got this mild allergic reaction.
You walk around the drugstore--you're not even sure where the allergy medications are kept. They want to ding you $15 for a 30-day supply of 24-hr allergy relief. (That's 50 cents/pill, if you're still groggy from last night's festivities.) Okay, so you've tried this for a month, and nada. *Maybe* you get one fewer annoyance per day.
Head back to the drugstore, buy another variety. They've got 12-hr pills for a little more than half of the 24-hr pills. There are three dominant anti-allergy medications: Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Loratadine (Claritin), and Fexofenadine (Allegra). Oh, don't forget the very first anti-histamine: Diphenhydramine (Benadryl). This is where it gets funny--it's a mostly "ha ha" funny. Mostly.
Like many pharmaceuticals with relatively small molecular sizes, diphenhydramine's effects on human physiology tends to target multiple effects. Although it was FDA approved in 1946 as an anti-histamine, medicos discovered that it caused drowsiness, eased depression and anxiety, and attenuated some side-effects of other medications (e.g. tremors, nausea). Pretty cool--kind of like aspirin and penicillin, yeah?
Let's price some diphenhydramine at Walgreens:
(1) $7 for 48 pills, 25 mg each: 0.583 cents/mg
(2) $22 for 250 pills, 25 mg each: 0.352 cents/mg
(3) $10.80 for 96 pills, 25 mg each: 0.450 cents/mg
(4) $25 for 160 softgel pills, 50 mg each: 0.313 cents/mg
(5) $12 for 48 softgels, 25 mg each: 1.00 cents/mg
"Well that doesn't seem too drastic, Jessi! It's common knowledge that buying in bulk is cheaper than not." True. You may even go so far as to paraphrase "The Big Bang Theory": "You know you're going to have a period about once per month for about 45 years; you should buy your tampons and/or pads in bulk!"
Before you think it's just about buying in bulk, each of these is advertised as a different medication:
(1) generic Benadryl, for allergies ("Wal-dryl")
(2) generic Unisom, for sleeping ("Sleep Aid")
(3) the same fucking generic Unisom, for sleeping ("Sleep II")
(4) softgels for generic Unisom, for sleeping ("Wal-som")
(5) another fucking generic for Unisom, for sleeping ("Wal-Sleep Z")
Five names, one medication. Inactive ingredients may differ, but primary ingredient is the same: diphenhydramine. I am *not* picking on Walgreens, nor am I picking on diphenhydramine; as you said earlier, it's 'common knowledge'. I won't even rant about the dearth of 'common knowledge' in the average consumer of media. I leave you with this:
The next time you're suffering allergies, and you don't particularly care about being sleepy, or you have some low-level anxiety, or find your thoughts trending negatively at night, or you've got some nausea, *or* you've got some mild tremors...look for diphenhydramine cheap in the sleep-aid aisle.
**Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. I am not offering medical advice. I *have*, however, tried "Sleep II", and it is actually the worst: the pills dissolve so quickly that they get caught in the back of my throat as I'm trying to swallow them! One should avoid those at all cost! They even cost more per pill! They're the **same** fucking medication!