Friday, April 1, 2011

SmartAss Commentary: Niaspan Commercials


Oh, how I loathe these commercials for Niaspan. Have you seen these? Wow, these pieces of passive-aggressive, sly, guilt-ridden pabulum are just stunning.

Here is the “brother” version. There is at least one more, but I cannot find a link for it. It is not quite as bad, but still not good. Scratch that, there are three total, and they can be found on the Niaspan homepage here.

I find these commercials to be full of coddling, wheedling, coercive, bullshit. It is hard enough to manage a chronic illness/injury/disability – we really do not need to be badgered by our friends and family. I think the idea that these are “interventions” kind of trivializes the actual purpose of an intervention, you know – giving a loved one a chance to stop and think about what they are doing to themselves and the people around them. To let them know that they are loved and supported, and that this will still be true if they try to change their lives for the better. It is usually reserved for exceptionally destructive behavior.

Take the brother commercial – the speaking brother is chastising the audience brother about the fact that he is not taking Niaspan. Never mind the facts that the brother has made the diet and lifestyle changes that are necessary for his condition. Oh, no – he isn’t doing enough because he isn’t taking this pill! What if he is already taking niacin? Or what if he has a contra-indication, like liver trouble? The speaking brother apparently does not care. He has decided what is best, and damn anything else.

The daughter commercial does not specify what other changes the audience dad has made. But she is going out on an awfully long limb for something that “might” work.

The sister commercial is mind boggling. “I know one more pill… I get it, I do,” No she does not, or she would not follow that with, “I am not taking ‘no’ for an answer.” The gall on display is stunning. Of course she knows best, how it could be any other way is beyond her grasp.

These commercials are demeaning to health care customers. They play into the all-to-common assumption that we, as individual patients, are either too stupid or too lazy to consult with our doctors, do our own research, and make our own decisions.

If you do have a friend or loved on that is dealing with cholesterol issues, it is totally okay to offer your support. As with other health issues, save your advice for when you are asked for it. No, we do not want unsolicited advice – by definition. If we wanted it, we would seek it out and ask you.

While looking for links to the commercials themselves, I found some folks that despise this almost as much as I do at CommercialsIHate.

Niaspan on Wikipedia is here. (This entry is actually about Niacin. Niaspan is apparently prescription strength, time release Niacin.)


  1. I agree. Of course, I would never allow a sibling to badger me about something that isn't their business. Another dangerous drug on the market.

  2. I just sat there thinking, "Do NOT encourage this kind of behavior!"

    It is one thing to be involved and invested in the lives of the people you care about - another entirely to order them about.


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