According to the commercial for the prescription drug DreadLexa, “sad music is better music.” While that may be subjective, DreadLexa is also an objectively fake drug, a Funny or Die brainchild endorsed by rapper Mac Miller. In the parody ad, Miller complains that his raps got soft as his life got happier. With DreadLexa, a “prescription depressant created for musicians”, he was able to feel the anxiety and depression necessary to create great tracks. Taking a mix of common psychiatric drugs could have saved him the imaginative brainpower.
“Using a formula of bad drugs bought off sketchy dudes with too many pit bulls, DreadLexa works by inhibiting dopamine receptors, keeping you depressed and prolific,” a narrator explains in the ad, released Tuesday. “Works best when taken with alcohol after Googling yourself.”
It’s a tongue-in-cheek sketch for Miller, who has publicly discussed his own depression, but has also experienced recent personal and commercial success. And while DreadLexa is obviously fake, its effects aren’t completely fantastical. It’s just that for a drug to cause “narcissistic delusions” and a “wave of self-doubt”, it likely would have to take the chemical components of multiple drugs. Citalopram, an antidepressant, and Clozapine, an antipsychotic, would likely do the trick.
It goes without saying that someone should never, ever combine drugs like these. Depression is a serious mental health condition that affects an estimated 15 million Americans. In light of rapper Kid Cudi’s very real, recent admission to rehab for depression and suicidal thoughts, even this satirical sketch feels a bit ill-timed.
The effects of the hypothetical drug DreadLexa are a combination of the unwanted side effects of real prescription drugs. Citalopram, an antidepressant, may seem like an odd drug to include in a “prescription depressant,” but taking it can cause side effects like aggressiveness, restlessness, and anxiety. Some users also report that the drug causes them to become narcissistic (a deliberate effect of DreadLexa). In a study of 23,140 people who have taken citalopram, however, only one was found to actually have narcissistic personality disorder.
DreadLexa also seems like it would have similar effects to Clozapine, an antipsychotic used to treat severe schizophrenia. Like DreadLexa promises, Clozapine is designed to block dopamine receptors to change the chemical reactions in the brain. Research indicates that it doesn’t create motoric side effects (so one could presumably still rap), but it would probably induce full-on apathy if you took it without a prescription.
“Pleasure is sucked out of a gray world,” one commenter, describing what it’s like for a non-schizophrenic person to take clozapine, said on Quora. “You don’t give a damn about anything. You stare at a wall or ceiling and have a hard time moving to do anything. It would be depressing if you cared about being depressed. Which you do not.”
Damn. Even it keeps you from making crap music, taking drugs to feel that dark isn’t worth it.