The Online Reputations of Celebrex and Humira

Our series on the online reputations of the top 10 DTC-spending brands in Q1 2012 continues with a look at two arthritis medications: Celebrex and Humira. As always, if you need a refresher course of the study’s methodology or terminology click here, or feel free to take another look at Cymbalta, Lipitor, or Cialis and Abilify. If you are all caught up, then continue on to see how these two drugs rate in the minds of patients.



Main Issues Contributing to Negative Sentiment

  • Side effects such as allergic reactions, angina, gastrointestinal upset, ulcers, ringing in the ears, kidney problems, and all over aching and pain.
  • Not effective for many for migraines.
  • Concerns about the drug’s removal and then re-appearance in market and comparisons to Vioxx.
  • Fear of fatal side effects even as patients find Celebrex valuable for pain management. Other patients challenge their physician’s choice of medication due to fears, especially if the patient has a family history of heart problems and stroke. Physicians seem to underplay side effects with patients, which tends to make patients more fearful and distrusting.
  • Patients looking for more homeopathic treatments to joint issues beyond just pain management such as glucosamine and chondroitin for osteoarthritis management.
  • Hundreds of posts on the lawsuits and patient/caregiver reactions as well as stories. These range from 2008 until today as people continue to post and read.

Main Issues Contributing to Positive Sentiment

  • Effective for OA, RA, interstitial cystitis, Crohn’s, UC, arthritis, fibromyalgia pain and inflammatory issues.
  • Patients with lupus can find Celebrex helpful.
  • Cancer patients (colon cancer, liver cancer) are using Celebrex as part of their treatment protocol combined with traditional cancer drugs and are reporting improvements in prognoses. While comments about Celebrex with chemotherapy with or without Avastin as an active part of therapy are new in 2012, cancer patients have been using Celebrex as part of pain management and anti-inflammatory treatment since 2001. Physicians began pairing Celebrex with Tarceva for lung cancer patients in 2005 and some physicians were even using Celebrex with Temodar for brain cancer as early as 2004. In some cases, patients are more convinced than their physicians of the efficacy of adding Celebrex to their therapy.

Main Areas of Risk

  • Fear and the high visibility of lawsuits do a great deal of damage to the brand’s reputation.
  • Patients with personal and family history of heart problems and stroke are being prescribed Celebrex.



Pan1305_ Humira

Main Issues Contributing to Negative Sentiment

  • Patients associate Humira with increased risks of cancer and there are patients and caregivers who claim to have lymphomas and various cancers including pancreatic and stomach cancer due to Humira. The risk of TB also created concern and there are patients who have contracted TB while on Humira. Also patients report developing MS, nerve damage, lupus, sepsis and serious infections after taking Humira. A few patients report stroke. Most patients blame their physicians and the FDA for not adequately warning them of the risks, not taking patients’ concerns about the risk seriously, and/or not recognizing early signs to catch potentially fatal consequences earlier.  Caregivers report deaths attributed to Humira. Reports start in about 2007 and continue until today.
  • Concerns over immune-suppressive attributes of Humira as a reason not to start or recommend.
  • Costs of treatment.
  • Other side effects including flu-like symptoms, headaches, fatigue, vision problems, autoimmune responses, edema and burning at the injection site.
  • Patients and caregivers want to see more emphasis on dietary changes for disease such as Crohn’s and UC even if patients are taking Humira.

Main Issues Contributing to Positive Sentiment

  • Many patients see vast improvement in symptoms for psoriasis, Crohn’s, Sjogren’s, iritis, uveitis, juvenile arthritis and RA.
  • Patients find being able to give themselves injections can be more convenient than infusion treatments like Remicade.

Main Areas of Risk

  • Discussions of increased cancer risks and reports of cancers attributed to Humira and patients’ concerns about cancer risks are not being effectively addressed by their physicians.

Keep a look at for next month when we dig into Chantix and the NovoLog FlexPen.


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