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.