Taking medication is a sort of daily religious ritual, only with less billowing incense and a lot more enteric-coated communion wafer thingies. Fortunately, there is also no falsetto choir, unless, of course, you have taken the wrong pill at the wrong time of day. Regular observance of a medication regimen is certainly an act that requires a great deal of faith in the covenants and testaments of others: this doctor preaching Christian Crestor from his pulpit at the clinic; that doctor calling the afflicted to Islamic Zocor from a hospital minaret; another doctor is on a Hindu pilgrimage to the promised land of Questran; there are even some unorthodox, holistic healers who swear by herbal extracts and drinking fish oil on the Sabbath; and when Carl Sagan famously remarked that human beings are made of "star stuff," I imagine he had merely become confused by AstraZeneca's therapeutic products.
But there is no real evidence that any of these medication creeds actually work, in mysterious ways or otherwise, other than the biological wonders that their proselytizing doctors claim for them. Alas, there is no pharmacological equivalent of Pascal's philosophical wager, since the extremely provable existence of side-effects means that patients have a lot to lose if their prescription pill-God turns out to be naught but a hollow idol.
Side-effects come in all shapes and sizes and degrees of severity: bloating, swelling, liver disease and hives, for example; not to mention our old friends nausea and vomiting. Victims are advised to consult their doctors, somewhat counter-intuitively, since it was this drug-pushing know-it-all who originally prescribed the bile producing poison, and will undoubtedly suggest yet another innocuous-looking pill to address the negative symptoms of the first. I don't know what the medical term from such treatment is, but in alcoholic circles I believe it's called "the hair of the dog."
Thankfully, the only medication side-effect I've experienced so far is a creeping, shapeless sense of dread that I'm going to experience side-effects from taking medication: a chronic condition for which medication is unsurprisingly available. And so it becomes a vicious circle; a queasy carousel from which you can't escape once it's started going round. We must just hang on for dear life, literally, hoping and praying that the mechanism won't terminally malfunction. Frankly, it makes me feel dizzy and lightheaded just thinking about it.