Publication Date



Background: US direct-to-consumer advertising spending for medicine has soared in recent decades. Advertising has been shown to impact drug utilization. Most Alzheimer’s disease patients are above age 65 and may take a range of prescription medications for various disease states. Objective: To investigate how direct-to-consumer advertising is associated with the drug utilization of patients ≥ 65 years old. Methods: Using advertising expenditure data and Medicare Part D drug purchase claims, we performed regression analyses for each of the highest-spending drugs and age group, with cumulative monthly spending as the predictor variable and drug utilization as the response variable. For each drug, we ran a second set of regression analyses to determine if the spending-utilization correlation showed a significant difference between the two patient age groups (older than 65, younger than 65). Results: For all 14 drugs in our study, advertising spending is positively correlated with utilization (p < 0.01) in both age groups. For seven of the 14 drugs studied, the difference in the utilization of patients older than 65 and the utilization of patients younger than 65 is statistically significant at a p < 0.01 level. The 65-and-older age bracket exhibits significantly greater utilization for all seven of these drugs. Conclusion: We find televised advertising for certain drugs to be associated with significantly stronger drug utilization among seniors, as compared to younger patients. Alzheimer’s disease physicians should be aware of this result, in light of the medications that patients may take for other disease states, particularly mood and mental health medications

Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Alzheimer's Disease