Q. I find many prescription drug commercials to be totally inappropriate. My kids and I are watching TV when suddenly we see a commercial for Cialis for erectile dysfunction.

I am also fed up with all these intials! ED, RLS? Who on earth ever heard of restless leg syndrome? Are they for real? What’s next–AIW for age induced wrinkles?

A. People have been complaining about restless legs for decades, but “RLS” didn’t become a familiar abbreviation until a drug was developed to treat it. We agree with you that prescription drug commercials are annoying. Only one other industrialized nation (New Zealand) permits prescription drug advertising directly to consumers.

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  1. lgc

    “Turn the channel.” “Hit the mute button.” These are the cries coming from my 17-year-old daughter and me every 10 minutes on average. That’s how we react to the ED drug ads. My husband doesn’t know what to think! I would guess that women weren’t involved in the creation of this drug or these ads. I’m so over it! (Wish I could boycott the companies!) Other than the frequency of ads, my biggest complaint is the false portrayal of real life. People sitting outside in bathtubs holding hands? Get real!

  2. BL

    I have found a great way to keep the disgusting commericals away from my family: we do not have a television.
    We do have much more family time to do things together.
    Our 9 yr old son asked us to get rid of the television after viewing an “X-Files” commerical for a nightime show during “Fox For Kids” and becoming very scared.

  3. AJS

    I am annoyed no longer. I simply mute commercials. They are too loud and mostly objectionable.

  4. Leah

    Our family does not watch a lot of t.v., but we do like to watch our local baseball team. Must be a great market for the ED drugs, because there certainly are lots of ads during the games–ads that are longer than normal (or maybe they just seem longer?).
    One reason they make me uncomfortable is because they make me feel like a voyeur (definition: a prying observer who is usually seeking the sordid or the scandalous) and I am NOT seeking this experience, it is thrust upon me. Who knows what effect it is having on the kids.
    Something must be done! To whom do we complain? Who regulates what is shown on t.v.? Anyone have any ideas?

  5. bh

    I agree that the commercials for ED are so inappropriate. The statement “if you experience an erection longer than….” is so very offensive to me, especially when my 17 yr old son is right there in the room with me. We have allowed the tv to become a polluter of our homes and as mentioned earlier, the tv sexualizes our families.

  6. sammie

    I agree that the business of the drug ads is way out of hand, but, I feel that I must address the subject of RLS. Believe me when I say that it is truly a real condition, and people are severely sleep deprived because of it. Some people have been driven to suicide, literally.
    I have had it all my life, but never knew what it was until about 12 yrs ago. There were no drug ads then, and very few doctors had heard of it. It has been an educational and difficult process discovering this neurological problem. It has to do with the dopamine levels in the brain, much like Parkinson’s, and it is very difficult to treat. Requip is a parkinson’s drug that does not help everyone, but it is heaven sent to the ones that it does help.
    But, again, i do agree about the ads; the commercial does not even describe RLS as it really is. And, if I have to explain to my 83 yr old father, who has Alzheimer’s, what ED is one more time, I shall scream. :o)

  7. V. S.

    I remember being aghast at tampon advertisements. Now, ED has replaced the tampons with an even more objectionable topic. I’m fed up. But even more so, I’m sick of the monopoly of pharmaceutical drug companies over health care: too much intrusion into the training of doctors, too much intrusion into doctor’s appointment schedules, and direct-to-patient advertising of perscription drugs. Now THEY decide which illness – and disfunctions – we will have, how they will be treated, and how much we will pay for it, while sexualizing our children.

  8. L. S.

    My husband suffers from RLS, as well as his mother, and a family friend. We didn’t even have a name for this debilitating condition or a way to talk about it 10 years ago. The increased public knowledge has helped many people get relief. As it turns out, a relatively large percentage of the population suffers (something like 5-10%) from RLS. I realize the original comment was targeted toward ads for prescription drugs, but I felt I had to respond to the disparaging remarks regarding RLS from someone who obviously is unfamiliar with it and quite likely, unknowingly, knows people who suffer.

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