Intermezzo My Ass

Intermezzo was a movie starring Ingrid Bergman, and of course it’s a musical term. Now it’s also a drug for people who wake up in the middle of the night. I’ve seen ads for Intermezzo at least ten times tonight while watching TV. In the last week, I must have seen the ad 100 times. I almost know the side effects by heart. (In depressed patients, there is a risk of suicide. Not suicidal ideation, but suicide.)

You might also drive, eat or engage in “other activities” while not fully awake, without remembering the event the next day. Other abnormal behaviors include aggression, confusion, hallucinations and agitation. Common side effects are headaches, nausea and fatigue.

Is it worth all this shit for a few hours of drugged sleep? It is right to market Intermezzo as a brand new drug when it’s just Ambien at a lower dose?  Why this deluge of  TV commercials? I can answer the last question:

“Facing lower-than-expected demand for sleep drug Intermezzo, Purdue Pharma and Transcept Pharmaceuticals are broadening the commercial strategy to include DTC and a larger selling force.

Intermezzo is a sublingual version of Sanofi’s blockbuster insomnia pill Ambien (zolpidem). But the new formulation, approved in November 2011 and introduced earlier this year, has had a lethargic launch. Hence, the firms are rolling out a $29-million DTC ad campaign and, for the first time, tapping into Purdue’s analgesics sales force of 525 reps to call on PCPs and retail pharmacies. Another 90 contract reps will detail specialists.

“There are a few ads for Lunesta out there, but the market has been fairly quiet,” said Transcept president/CEO Glenn Oclassen on a conference call this morning. “So we get to take fullest possible advantage of that and believe this level of expenditure will be sufficient to get the impact being sought.” (more here)

Oh no, the ad is playing again RIGHT NOW! Unbelievable.  I won’t be happy about this until the lawsuits start rolling in.

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9 Responses to Intermezzo My Ass

  1. Bonnie says:

    I know someone who suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Those side effects are an exact description of her behavior when she is off her meds. Amazing that they think sales were sluggish due to lack of advertising, and not because the side effects scare the crap out of people. Oh well. I know what to reach for the next time I want the magical ability to drive while sleeping.

  2. David Duff says:

    I used to “engage in “other activities” while not fully awake” according to the ‘Memsahib’.

    I never did find out exactly what she meant.

    Usually because I had nodded off again.

  3. Andra says:

    Shit!! Scary stuff.

  4. Kristin says:

    A few years ago I started taking Lunesta when I could not sleep. It was touted as being “non-addictive.” After a few weeks on it I found that I could not go to sleep without taking it. I was going through a particularly stressful time, and believing the “non-addictive” spiel, I kept taking it. Months went by. I finally tried to get off it and discovered I couldn’t. I called my psychiatrist and said I couldn’t sleep without taking the drug. She said, “then take it!” To her it was quiet rational that I should just continue my dependence on a sleeping pill. I tried for months going through whole nights of not sleeping and then finally giving in and taking it. It eventually happened that I went on a two-week vacation and forgot the pills. I didn’t sleep for those two weeks but I broke the addiction. I won’t take any sleeping pill ever again.

  5. Andi says:

    Is it bad that your tags for the post were my favorite part?

  6. kate says:

    You know, in some countries it’s illegal to advertise drugs.

  7. hammie says:

    I live in one of those countries. We have a few oblique commercials that will allude to a condition like “frequent urination” with an uncomfortable looking actor standing outside a toilet door, with the tag “Ask your Doctor”
    I wonder if they embed the key word with all the GPs that the drug reps visit so they are preprogrammed to prescribe this mystery drug.
    Coming from that culture, an hour spent watching network tv in the US scares the bejaysus outta me. One minute I’m happily wondering what Raymond’s mother is going to do about Debra and the next I’m hearing about nausea, migraine and underwear leakage!
    How anyone takes a drug knowing it may cause them to shart on occasion mystifies me. Or do they sell double underpants in Duane Reade?

  8. pam ela says:

    hum, i see a connection between these 3 recent posts:

    -sandy hook massacre
    -young, bright man committing suicide
    -constant ads for pharmaceuticals.

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