Which Drugs Live Up to Their Advertised Hype?

Photo (cc) by StockMonkeys.com

Drug commercials are hard to miss, but can you believe them?

For instance, how about the TV ad featuring an older woman with arthritis as she walks along a sandy shore and swims in a lake? Of course, her activities are possible because of her new arthritis drug, or at least that’s what the ad suggests.

Then there’s the ad where a couple in their mid-50s smile at each other over a glass of wine, before sharing a dance and retreating into a bedroom. Again, the ad implies that the tryst is possible because of the latest drug treating erectile dysfunction.

According to Consumer Reports, drugmakers plow billions of dollars into advertising for prescription medications.

In fact, from July 2013 to July 2014, drug manufacturers spent $1.9 billion on ads for just the top 10 drugs alone.

Are the drugs worth all the hype? CR took a look at several drugs to see just how effective they really are.

  • Cialis and Viagra. Used to treat erectile dysfunction, “drugmakers know that millions of men are happy to pay for a pill to improve their sex lives, even if insurance doesn’t cover the cost — about $70 for 10  5-­milligram tablets of Cialis (tadalafil) and $332 for 10  50-milligram tablets of Viagra (sildenafil),” CR said. Although CR said the pills do work, they have notable risk factors, such as vision and hearing loss or a chance of heart attack and stroke.
  • Lyrica. Also known as pregabalin, Lyrica is designed to treat fibromyalgia. It runs about $260 a month. But CR said the benefits of Lyrica as a treatment are small. Plus, there are generics of other fibromyalgia-treatment drugs, such as amitriptyline, gabapentin and paroxetine, available for $106 or less a month.
  • Celebrex. This arthritis drug costs about $181 to $282 per month. It also increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and intestinal bleeding. CR recommends trying exercise and losing weight, plus generic, nonprescription ibuprofen or naproxen to treat arthritis pain.
  • Abilify. With costs exceeding $900 a month, CR said this depression-treating drug provides little benefit to individuals struggling with depression. CR’s verdict on this medication: “Don’t jump to Abilify.” Side effects include heart attack, stroke, weight gain and type- 2 diabetes.

Click here for CR’s verdict on Humira (for Crohn’s disease), Eliquis and Xarelto (for atrial fibrillation), Xeljanz (for rheumatoid arthritis) and Symbicort (for COPD).

What do you think of the advertising and marketing that goes into trying to sell prescription drugs? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Are you spending too much money on name-brand medications? If so, generics are likely a good alternative, but watch this video for a word of caution:

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon
13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon

Every household should have these products on hand. Buying them in bulk on Amazon saves you cash.

What’s the Difference Between FICO and VantageScore Credit Scores?
What’s the Difference Between FICO and VantageScore Credit Scores?

There are lots of credit scores out there, but if you’re keeping an eye on your credit, here’s the one to watch.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

7 Ways to Save Money Without Trying
7 Ways to Save Money Without Trying

Saving money doesn’t always mean drudgery and sacrifice. These tools make it easy — sometimes even fun.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine
The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

The CDC has unveiled a schedule that likely will determine who gets the next doses.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.