Consumer Reports Dissects Ad For Restless Leg Syndrome Drug Requip

Consumer Reports deconstructs the ad for “restless leg syndrome” drug Requip in this amusing video. Restless Leg Syndrome, while a real condition, affects less than 3% of adults, but the ad offers a vague enough definition that it could apply to anyone. The ad does warn against some of the side effects, like nausea, diarrhea, drowsiness while driving and increased gambling and sexual urges. Consumer Reports tells us that in one Mayo clinic study, two people with no previous gambling history took it and subsequently went to lose over $100,000 in gambling. But, hey, at least their legs weren’t restless underneath the roulette table.

Finally, an antidote to TV drug ads [Consumer Reports]


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  1. DeeJayQueue says:

    Prime example of how overmedicated we are. I like Bob Newhart’s method of dealing with stuff like this.

    patient:”I can’t stop shaking my legs when trying to fall asleep.”
    bob: “STOP IT!”

    Unless there is actual pain involved, like leg cramps or something, I’d rather just sit there and jiggle all night long than have that list of side-effects. Imagine having all that at once?

    “Hey babe, why don’t I just put it all on 28 red and then we can go back to my place and sc- Ohmygod!” *Splortch!* *Splat!* “Zzzzzzzz”

  2. BloggyMcBlogBlog says:

    This is one case where the cure is worse than the disease.

  3. DrGirlfriend says:


    Why don’t these guys just say “We have no idea how this medication works. Anything could happen, including actual relief of your symptoms, if you’re lucky.”

  4. xredgambit says:

    My god this is awesome. I want an increased sex drive as well as an urge to gamble. Best thing would be to convince your friends they need it then bet them they won’t gamble (automatic win for you).

    But by seeing the side effects I’m guessing the medicine is really just booze and viagra.

  5. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    Well maybe my wife is one of the few who actually needed this medication, she was diagnosed with RLS BEFORE there was meds for it. She would normally take 3-4 hours to fall asleep, because she felt pain and uncomfortableness from her legs. It’s not so much her legs moving as it is the feeling that they are moving without your control. SHe has had these symptoms since she was a child. Try only sleeping 4 hours a night for a couple of years and you will see the disease is worse than the side effects. Which she has experianced none of unfortunatly, the increased sexual urges would be nice :).

    Anyway I agree that there are a lot of overmedication in our country. And meds that actually do work for a very small group of actual sufferers are marketed to everyone in a way to make it seem as though everyone has the problem.

  6. junkmail says:

    I too have experienced this particular affliction. However, it’s not often enough, nor severe enough to warrant medication, much less one with such a laundry list of “possible” complications. Thanks anyway.

  7. velvetjones says:

    Isn’t this the condition formerly known as Ants in the Pants?

  8. costanza007 says:

    no, its the jimmy legs

  9. homerjay says:

    That chick was a hoot. CR should put out more stuff like that.

  10. powerjhb says:

    I hope you were just being snarky, but if not, believe me these side effects are real and life affecting. There have been scientific evidence that Parkinson’s patients (Requip is a dopamine agonist and a Parkinson’s drug) have gone into hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt due to gambling and ruined marriages because of the sex addiction issues (People were becoming addicted to online porn and even visiting prostitutes).

    These side effects are a regular subject on Parkinson’s boards, particularly with young onset parkinson’s patients.

  11. ZekeDMS says:

    Nah, that’s ADHD. I believe this was called “Walk it off.”

  12. MeOhMy says:

    The “increased urge to gamble” side effect really struck me the first time I saw a commercial for this drug. Really bizarre.

    I used to joke about one of the sleep aids that listed diarrhea as a side effect. That’s gotta be one of the most undersirable side effects I would want from a drug that makes me sleep!

  13. mrestko says:

    @Nemesis_Enforcer: Thanks for telling us about your wife. I was just about to make the case for the drug when I saw that you already had.

    For many people, it seems that rationally weighing the benefits of a treatment against its side effects is more difficult than trashing a faceless drug company which supplies the best product they can produce to patients that need it.

  14. BearTack says:

    I have had this for twenty years, before there was an acronym for it. Attacks are incredibly frustrating, and can be painful. You feel like you want to crawl out of your own body, that you have little control over the muscles along the long bones, and that convulsions are just about to start. Like some, I get this in the upper arms and shoulders as well as the legs, and the only surcease is to walk around in circles doing curls with some light weights.

    The lack of sleep, as well as the other after effects make me miserable the next day. I am lucky that I usually only get this a couple of times a month, and am not a candidate for the meds.

    The disease may sound funny, but I would rather break a finger or toe, have a tooth pulled, or have a colonscopy than suffer an RLS attack. Drives my wife nuts when I can sleep through it because I kick until I wake up. Usually she goes off and sleeps in another bedroom.

  15. @powerjhb: Man, like Parkinson’s isn’t expensive enough on it’s own.

    (It is, isn’t it? I can’t imagine that it’s something that’s cheap to diagnose and treat.)

  16. pz says:

    Wow — a drug that increases your urge to have sex impulsively (thus increasing the possibly of children resulting) and gamble (thus blowing your money away instead of saving it)…

    What I want to know is: how are the sufferers of these side-effects distinguished from everyday normal Americans during clinical trials?

  17. ShadowFalls says:

    I think the gambling mention is a little bs. It sounds like a couple of people who are trying to shift the blame away from themselves. A medication does not make you go out and do things such as gamble,

    People should not blame over people or things such as medications simply because they can not learn how to control themselves.

  18. kenposan says:

    GLad my RLS isn’t severe enough to warrant meds.

  19. powerjhb says:

    You really should not talk about that which you do not know shit.

    Requip and another drug Mirapex are Dopamine Agonists. Dopamine also plays a role in the brain’s reward and reinforcement system, things that are effected by gambling, sex and other pleasurable activities. These side effects have been shown true through patient studies at the Mayo clinic where they reduced or eliminated the side effects by reducing the dosage of the drug.

  20. indiie says:

    I just use a heating pad at night to relax my leg muscles, or use a minty kind of “revitalizing” lotion meant for tired feet. I’m on enough meds, don’t want to add another one to the mix….

  21. XTC46 says:

    @DrGirlfriend: I actually saw a commercial and in the end, in small white print across the bottom of the screen it really did say something along the lines of “How this drug works is not fully understood”

    I was think “who buys something when even the company says they don’t know wtf it does.

  22. erockO says:

    best bet is to take reqip and go here []

  23. Jess A. says:

    @xtc46: Pretty much anyone who takes anti-depressants, and that’s just for a starter. The case with many drugs that treat neurological issues & brain chemistry is that the mechanism of how the drug/chemical works is not fully understood, because neurology isn’t as advanced as we’d like to think it is.

    What we do know about these drugs is that they appear to be useful for a significant portion of the population with a certain kind of issue, be it RLS or clinical depression.

    And no, I am not a shill for pharma. I just understand my meds as fully as a layperson/patient can.

  24. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    Drugs don’t cure people . They mask symptoms. If you have leg problems , you probably have a serious condition like diabetes.

    As a general rule, you should never take any drug advertised on tv or in print.

  25. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @MyCokesBiggerThanYours: Not so, my wife has had RLS since she was around 6. Numerous MRI’s CT scans even an exploratory surgery nada nothing they can identify is causing the RLS. She was screened for everything they can think of.@mrestko: Your welcome. Not all drugs are BS there are people who genuinely benefit from them.

  26. powerjhb says:

    I guess those diabetics should not use those blood sugar monitors that are advertised either. What kind of irrational circular logic are you using.

    Requip does work; just there are side effects and you need to weigh those side effects against your need to alleviate the symptoms it is “masking”

    Just because my tremors are masked by my PD drugs does not mean I should not take them. Neurological diseases are yet to be cured, but by “masking” the symptoms, people have more productive lives for a longer period of time.

  27. leftystrat says:

    Stop snickering – the commenters are correct. It’s a very useful drug, as many are. I think a huge mistake was made in allowing Big Pharma to advertise. Now clueless consumers can pester their overpaperworked physicians for the Latest and Greatest Cure for Whatever.

    When the doc and the consumer both fail to read the warnings, the inevitable lawsuit follows. Oddly enough, Big Pharma tends to make out either way. Hopefully most of the consumers do too.

    My brother was diagnosed with this many years ago but there were no meds. I’m told he flopped around like a fish before eventually going to sleep. He’s been known to injure his wife.

    As for the sexual urges, this is where it gets interesting. As any victim of antidepressants can tell you, long before the meds take effect, they get the side effects. A very common one is decreased or no libido. It is said the Requip is the first med to actually help RESTORE the libido. Yes, the potential negative side effect can really be useful for some people.

    And let’s face it… what’s the only thing worse than being depressed? Taking meds that leave you depressed with no sex drive. THAT’s depressing.

  28. HooFoot says:

    “Restless Leg Syndrome” is the worst possible name they could have come up with for this condition. If they gave it ANY other name, it would probably be taken more seriously.

  29. mysticone says:

    I also suffer from RLS. It actually runs in my family, with both my mom and sister having serious cases of it. While I do agree that the name is somewhat misleading, it really bugs me how people joke about it and act like it isn’t a real condition.

    I didn’t have any insurance for a number of years, so I just dealt with it as best I could. Sometimes it’s worse than other times, but it almost always made it very difficult to sleep (for both me and my wife, since kicking her isn’t so good for her sleep).

    Anyway, I’m on Requip now and it made a world of difference. I’ve not had any of those “interesting” side-effects, though I’m on a very low dosage of it (0.5mg/day). Anything higher and I get so nauseated that I’d rather put up with the RLS. But I’ve been able to sleep so much better, and I’m really glad that Requip is available, silly commercials aside.

    Hell, what drug commercial isn’t silly? Okay, maybe the ones for the various anti-depressants aren’t so silly, but you know what I mean.

  30. HawkWolf says:

    the problem here is that the company wants to sell requip. so, they advertise it. they do it in a way that makes people think they have a problem when they might not. clearly, people with RLS really are suffering. but what about people who just can’t sit still because they’re antsy for another reason? “doctor, I might have this thing that’s fixed by this drug I saw on TV!”

    it’s like the drug to treat ‘premenstrual depression’ or whatever, which is just another SSRI.

    or how about zyrtek, the only antihistamine approved for both indoor and outdoor allergies? (histamine is histamine; pollen and dust both make your body do the same thing, and the drug blocks the same thing either way, just like every other antihistamine)

  31. ShadowFalls says:


    Well duh, any drugs are going to cause side effects when the dosage is too high. No single dosage is going to be right for everyone.

    Don’t sit there and try to say that people can’t be responsible for their actions. You might get a pleasurable feeling, does not mean can not control your own actions. You made choices, and you can make a choice just as easily to stop.

  32. powerjhb says:

    How does a drug that affects you neurologically in the areas that effect impulse control and decision making allow you to come up with the idea that one can be responsible for their actions when on a drug with no outside monitoring.

    Doctors and family members are now asking the correct questions to patients that are on these medications because of the knowledge gained from the Mayo clinic. You do not have the choice to stop while on these drugs. This is because, while on the drug, you do not know you are making bad choices or that you are acting incorrectly because you have no impulse control.

    PD drugs as well as many neuro drugs effect every patient differently at different dosages. It is very much hit or miss and to say duh about overdosage of a drug does not mean you know what you are talking about. Symptoms at one dose may be alleviated, while it could take weeks for the side effects to occur.