Lundbeck, Otsuka target Alzheimer's caregivers in ad for expanded Rexulti label

Lundbeck and Otsuka are ramping up their pursuit of an Alzheimer’s disease niche. Months after winning an FDA nod for Rexulti in dementia-related agitation, the partners have launched an ad to let children of Alzheimer’s patients know a new treatment option is available.

The ad, which is shot in black and white, starts with a close up of an older woman’s hands. As the camera zooms in on the hands, gentle piano music plays and a female narrator says “these hands used to hold me as the little girl, would comfort me.” 

Then, the tone changes. The narrator says the hands have “become aggressive.” As she says that, the person on camera forms their hands into fists and slams one of them down on the table and a discordant sound rings out. The words “hitting,” “pushing” and “throwing things” appear in yellow text on one side of the screen.

The next scene begins with a close up of the person’s mouth. Again, the narrator relays fond memories, saying how the mouth used to sing them lullabies, before explaining that it is now “unrecognizable.” As the narration shifts from fond memories to the harsh present, the person, still shown in a close up on the mouth, starts shouting angrily. 

Again, discordant static starts playing over the top of the piano and text, this time “cursing,” “shouting” and “spitting,” appears on the screen. In a series of quick cuts, we see close-ups of the woman’s eyes and mouth interspersed with a wider shot of her slamming her fists on the table.

In that sequence, the voiceover changes as a man explains that: “If your loved one with Alzheimer's dementia has become agitated, it's not their fault. They could have agitation in Alzheimer's dementia, which can cause behavior beyond their control.” As that message is communicated, we see the woman looking calmer but sad and the discordant static ends. 

The final sequence shows a younger woman comforting the Alzheimer’s patient. As the two women hold hands, the text “Help your loved one. Learn more at” appears on screen, along with a message that the ad is sponsored by Otsuka and Lundbeck. For the final shot, the camera zooms out to show the two women in a tender embrace, resting their foreheads against each other.

On the website, the video is presented as providing “a brief look at what some symptoms could look like in your loved one.” The website states that the agitation symptom is a treatable condition separate from Alzheimer’s dementia and includes a questionnaire that caregivers can complete and share with doctors. Driving agitation prescriptions could help Lundbeck grow Rexulti sales beyond the 2.85 billion Danish kroner ($423 million) Lundbeck generated last year.