If Calling Mom Makes You Hear Voices, Then AstraZeneca Has a Pill for You

Last Updated Mar 22, 2010 3:00 PM EDT

Can calling your mom worsen your symptoms if you're a schizophrenic? Or does taking antipsychotic medicine help you to remember to call your mom more often?

One of those possibilities seems to be the claim in this ad (click to enlarge) for AstraZeneca (AZN)'s Seroquel, an antipsychotic that has been the subject of 10,399 lawsuits.

The ad shows a chart with two variables, "Calling mom?" and "Dosing." The line between them indicates that more you call her, the more Seroquel you'll need to deal with the mental fallout. Alternatively -- and I'm guessing this was AZ's intent -- the chart shows that the more Seroquel you take, the more you'll be psychologically stable enough to call her.

Underneath that, a headline says, "Up to 800mg ... and who knows how many calls to mom."

Sure, we've all sat through the "Why don't you call me more often and when are you going to have kids?" conversation more times than we need to, but I'm not sure it's ever led to paranoid delusions. (At least, not permanent ones.) Doubtless it was well-intentioned, but this is one more reason why drug companies rarely attempt humor in their advertising.

The Pharmagossip blog points out that the ad also says "weight change minimal," a claim that's controversial because many believe the drug is associated with sudden weight gain.

It's not clear where the ad ran -- AZ did not return a message requesting comment -- but it appears to have been made by the Canadian agency Creativity Inc. Related: