Harvard Health Advertisement Watch: A fibromyalgia treatment

It’s something I’ve heard countless times from patients with fibromyalgia. They’re informing a pal or relative about their problem and the response is, “But you do not look ill” or “But you look so well.”

Occasionally, the response is more of an eye roll or some other reaction that reflects hesitation that the trouble is even “genuine.”

Those are problems attended to head-on in a television ad for Lyrica (pregabalin), a treatment for fibromyalgia. “To most people, I resemble most individuals,” a woman says. “But on the within I really feel chronic, prevalent discomfort.” After clarifying that the discomfort is real, this direct-to-consumer medication advertisement carries on to state one of the existing concepts concerning the beginning of pain in fibromyalgia is that it’s “believed to be caused by overactive nerves.”

The state of mind of the advertisement is somber at first. Unfortunate songs works as backdrop to a female who is plainly experiencing as a guy– probably her partner?– plays in the park with two charming kids. When she talks about taking Lyrica, that all adjustments. The music skyrockets and the voiceover tells us that “Lyrica is believed to calm these nerves.” The now-smiling woman explores the video camera as well as pronounces, “I’m thankful my doctor prescribed Lyrica.” The scene brightens as well as she’s grinning as she sets about establishing for an area block party. The voiceover notifies us that, “For some, Lyrica provides effective relief for fibromyalgia pain and enhances feature.”

Comes the litany of side results that could accompany treatment. Extra on those quickly.

The good The advertisement obtains a number of points right, consisting of:

  • the reality that the problem might be “unnoticeable” to others
  • the notion that the root cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but professionals think it might be because of “over active nerves”
  • the character in the advertisement that has fibromyalgia is a woman– in fact, the problem depends on six times a lot more typical in females than males
  • discussing the threats (and not just benefits) of a medication is important. The most common, and lots of uncommon, prospective adverse effects are explained. Keep in mind, however, that including a description of adverse effects or referring customers to even more info is required by the FDA, as I noted in my initial blog on direct-to-consumer ads describing pros, words, as well as cons to consider very thoroughly).
What’s missing out on

Some vital info is missing out on from this advertisement, including:

  • The restricted performance of the drug. Keep in mind the language in the ad: Lyrica works well “for some.” You might wonder simply the number of “some” is! A recent evaluation of past research studies found that only about 10% of treated research study topics reported exceptional outcomes, and also only around 40% reported great or exceptional outcomes. Lyrica was just modestly much better than a placebo tablet. An additional analysis discovered that amongst previous researches, only 20% to 25% of study subjects experienced “at least 50% pain strength reduction” within two to three months of therapy.
  • The advertisement only points out one therapy alternative: medicine. Yet that’s not the only option. Nondrug alternatives, such as normal workout as well as boosted sleep, are considered vital for the effective therapy of fibromyalgia.
  • No comparison to various other medicines. A variety of various other medications are approved and also recommended for fibromyalgia, yet there’s no reference of just how Lyrica measures up to these various other medicines prescribed. According to a recent evaluation, Lyrica appears to be no much better (or worse) than other accepted drugs, consisting of milnacipran (Savella) and also duloxetine (Cymbalta).
  • Just like nearly all drug advertisements, the cost of the medication is not pointed out. In November, the price of Lyrica had to do with $12 per 75-mg capsule, according to Drugs.com. The recommended starting dosage is 75 mg twice daily, which adds up to around $24/day or more than $760/month. Often, higher doses are needed, which presses the price even higher. Naturally, drug expenses are a moving target, due to the fact that medical insurance coverage, copayments, deductibles, drug business promo codes, and also other aspects might impact the price you pay.
The dangers of treatment

The checklist of side effects in this commercial is as long that many (or probably most) audiences will certainly disregard. While typical adverse effects consist of dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain, or swelling of the extremities, “severe allergic reactions” and “suicidal thoughts or actions” are the initial ones stated. These dangers are listed against a wonderfully disruptive and also visually interesting background– in this advertisement, it’s giant bubbles as well as puppies. Yes, pups and bubbles! If you take Lyrica is not a coincidence, perhaps supplying a diversion from the checklist of points that can go wrong. A lot of drug ads do this.

The bottom line

Advertisements for medicines are not meant to be thorough or well balanced. Their intent is to increase sales of their medication. Medication makers typically talk about the importance of these advertisements to educate the general public concerning treatment options. However the obvious (as well as understandable) bias towards the medicine being promoted– Lyrica, in this situation– makes the high quality of the education suspect. That’s why I’m opposed to route advertising and marketing to consumers for medicines as well as clinical procedures, and that’s probably a factor most countries do not allow it.

Yes, fibromyalgia is a troublesome and also genuine problem that’s unnoticeable to others. But drug treatment, such as Lyrica, is only one component of basic therapy. And it’s not always efficient. Want a lot more complete and well balanced information regarding fibromyalgia? Talk to your medical professional or speak with impartial resources that aren’t trying to market you anything. A pharmaceutical promotion might not be your best choice.

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