SUMMARY: One of the biggest complaints people have about their health is the lack of sleep caused by many factors, from diet and weight to chronic stress. DTC for a product that can keep people awake for nine hours is a message for potential abuse. Did I mention that they are using a flying pig in their DTC?
One of the most common complaints people have is “lack of energy”. Consumers have turned to energy drinks which was valued at $53.01 billion in 2018, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.20% to reach $86.01 billion by 2026.
Jazz Pharmaceuticals has introduced a new prescription medication for patients with sleep apnea/narcolepsy that “helped adults get up to 9 hours of improved wakefulness in clinical studies at 12 weeks” and they’re using a flying pig on their DTC.
This has abuse potential written all over it and could lead to more dangerous health problems.
First, the problem of sleep apnea..
Americans average 6.8 hours of sleep a night, and 40% of Americans get six hours or less. 37.9% of people report unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least once in the preceding month.
50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder, and obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most prevalent sleep disorders. Approximately 3-7% of men and 2-5% of women have sleep apnea.
Jazz’s DTC for Sunosi says “if you have obstructive sleep apnea or narcolepsy and are often tired during the day, ask your doctor if once-daily SUNOSI may be right for you” but what they don’t mention is that obstructive sleep apnea is associated with obesity in more than 60% of cases.
Now Jazz does say on their website that Sunosi “is not a stimulant,” but in my opinion, that’s just an added benefit for potential abusers. Given that most obstructive sleep apnea patients are obese men, it’s dangerous that the side effects listed for Sunosi say, “tell your doctor if you have heart problems, high blood pressure, kidney problems, diabetes, or high cholesterol.”
The tagline “SUNOSI Can Help You Stay Awake For Amazing Things” also leaves a hello of lot to be desired.
I can see patients asking their doctor for this medication to combat fatigue that we all experience at some time. The best way to fight sleep apnea is by suggesting that patients lose weight, not by prescribing a potentially dangerous medication.
If I was the FDA is would not allow DTC for this product without clinical proof that it’s non-addictive and that it would only go to patients who REALLY need it after trying other things like losing weight.
This DTC is an embaressment.