CommonHealth: Why Was There An 'Opioid-Induced Constipation' Ad During The Super Bowl?

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Super Bowl commercials: an American tradition. Sunday's broadcast was an onslaught of bizarre junk food ads, sleek car commercials and dramatic TV promos, but there was one ad in particular that caught our attention.

The spot, called "Envy," features a man walking around a city staring longingly at people and animals apparently going to the bathroom with ease. A voice over tells the viewer to talk to their doctor about opioid-induced constipation, or OIC. Is OIC a real condition? How common is it?


Carey Goldberg, co-host of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog. She tweets @commonhealth.


CommonHealth: Mystery Solved: Why That ‘Opioid-Induced Constipation’ Super Bowl Ad?

  • "I imagined 100 million people all scratching their heads at the same time and saying, 'Huh?' The source of their bafflement: Why, among all the usual Super Bowl ads for cars and beers, is there a minute-long tale of a man who envies others — even a dog — their digestive regularity?"

The Washington Post: This Super Bowl Ad Proved Just How Much America Loves Its Opioid Painkillers

  • "If you weren’t paying close attention to the simple black-and-white television advertisement that ran midway through the second quarter of Super Bowl 50, you’d never know what it was about. It featured no celebrities. No laugh lines. It wasn’t selling beer. It wasn’t selling soda. Or cars. Or chips. Or a new movie. That’s the kind of All-American advertising expected during the annual Super Bowl ritual, where 30-second spots this year reportedly went for $5 million each. No, this ad was about opioid-induced constipation. And honestly, it deserves its coveted spot during America’s Big Game. That’s because America really loves its opioid painkillers — so much so that the country faces a major opioid overdose epidemic, which has become a focus for health authorities, the White House, even candidates out on the presidential campaign trail."

This segment aired on February 8, 2016.


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