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Levitra Pulls a Boner

On the promotional package of Levitra (a pill like Viagra used to make Mr. Happy stand at attention), the company boldly claims that “Levitra is clinically proven to work for men with erectile disfunction, even those with high blood pressure…”

Levitra

At the bottom of the page is this typical warning:

*MOUSE PRINT: “Please see Important Safety Information on back panel.”

The back panel spells out various possible dire consequences such as erections lasting longer than four hours, and sudden loss of vision or hearing. It also warns:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Levitra

One has to wonder how many people with high blood pressure may have only seen the big print representation that Levitra was seemingly safe for those with high blood pressure, but missed the smaller but stiffer warning to steer clear.

Clarification: The warning is actually a two-part one for those with high blood pressure: (1) For those with high blood pressure but taking drugs to control it, you are advised to consult your doctor before taking this drug; and (2) for those with uncontrolled blood pressure, you are advised not to take the drug at all. This is substantially different on both counts from the unqualified advertised claim that Levitra is suitable for people even with high blood pressure.

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15 thoughts on “Levitra Pulls a Boner”

  1. Actually there is a difference between high blood pressure and
    uncontrolled high blood pressure. Uncontrolled means you are
    unable to get your blood pressure controlled, or in the normal range (under
    140/90) with the use of diet, exercise and prescription medication. My
    brother, for example, routinely has uncontrolled blood pressure
    in the danger zone (210/120) even though he is on 3 different
    blood pressure medications. This would obviously not be a drug
    for him. For the average man with high blood pressure, though,
    who is taking his medication and is able to stay under 140/90 on
    a regular basis, Levitra should not cause a problem. I have no affiliation with
    the drug company; I’m just someone who has worked for internal medicine physicians
    and urologists for the past 20+ years.

  2. So if you have high blood pressure, it’ll work, but then it’ll kill you?

    I guess there are worse ways to check out.

  3. I think you’re ignoring the very important modifier “uncontrolled” in the mouse print. That makes a pretty big difference! I don’t see a problem with this.

  4. While it may be in mouse print, it does clearly state “uncontrolled” and as pointed out above, that factor’s quite a bit differently into the equation. Also, Levitra is available by prescription only (unless the Levitra website has led me astray). While I understand that medical doctors have a full plate, it is still their job to make sure that they are not prescribing medicine that they shouldn’t be and would likely see said difference between high blood pressure and uncontrolled high blood pressure. This would be a much better argument for a mouse print article if I could just walk into a pharmacy and buy it, no questions asked, but that’s not currently possible.

  5. So it sees we have a clear case of expertise knowledge vs lay-man knowledge here. To the lay-man it seems contradictory, to the expert, apparently, there is a huge difference.

    Now the question is whether the average user is a lay-man or an expert….

  6. So Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation, GlaxoSmithKline, and Schering Corporation [see Levitra website] or whoever is in charge, herein referred to as “the Company”, is off the hook or at least has an “out” that the Company’s lawyers can shoot through, should they incur legal action. That’s the legal aspect.

    The moral aspect that the Company ought to face is that the advertisement puts undue pressure on the physician to prescribe the drug, thus altering the basis of patient management away from “pure” medical science. The sad fact of medical practice is that doctors are 50% more likely to prescribe a drug when the patient requests it; and patients are more likely to make that request after viewing direct-to-consumer advertisements. (Sorry, I can’t cite the articles on this. Try this: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/357/7/673 or http://search.nejm.org/search?w=Direct-to-Consumer+Advertising&search=SEARCH)

    With subtle use of language, the Company takes advantage of confusion, their legal “out” and their commercial “in”, to take care of business. (This is right in the Mouse Print alley.)

  7. Apart from the clear “uncontrolled” modifier, “Clinically proven to work” does not necessarily mean “suitable” or even “recommended.”

  8. If you ask me, there’s no such thing as “controlled” high blood pressure! If your blood pressure is “controlled”, then it wouldn’t be high blood pressure at all – would it?! Just normal to me.

    The bold print should have “high blood pressure” completely omitted. And “uncontrolled” should be omitted in the mouse print.

  9. You people are ridiculous in your assumptions that corporate America is just out to screw the little guy. Give me a break!

  10. @ Shawn: What other business is corporate America in other than trying to maximize their profit, by any means possible, aka screwing the little guy?

    By the way, the issue is in the *by any means possible*, not in the profit maximization.

  11. Can’t agree with this one. There is no gain, and its fully disclosed in pretty big print. Stick to busting actual deception like hotwire

  12. I don’t see the deception here. The language is crystal clear. This drug works for men with high blood pressure, but is not recommended for men with uncontrolled high blood pressure. What is so difficult to understand here?

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

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