Attention News/Medical Editors:
TORONTO, July 31 /CNW/ - The Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Self Help Group, and The Canadian Society of Intestinal Research (SiR), which together represent the nearly six million Canadians suffering with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), are thrilled about the Canadian availability of a new therapy for women with constipation as the primary symptom of IBS (IBS-C). The new drug, Zelnorm (tegaserod)(*) is the first and only drug in a new class of medications known as gastrointestinal serotonin receptor agonists (GI-SRA), for the symptomatic treatment of constipation, bloating and abdominal pain in female IBS patients. "There is no question that the symptoms of IBS have a detrimental impact on a patient's ability to work and play," said Gail Attara, Executive Director of The Canadian Society of Intestinal Research. "There is simply no quality of life for people with IBS, yet only one in 20 seek medical treatment, probably because of social stigma associated with the bowel. SiR is pleased that Zelnorm(*) is now available to treat the multiple, debilitating symptoms of IBS-C. I encourage all IBS sufferers to seek out more information from our website, www.badgut.com, and to ask their doctors about this new IBS-C treatment option." Jeffrey Roberts, President and Founder of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Self Help Group and an IBS sufferer for more than 25 years added: "The launch of Zelnorm in Canada is welcome news for the millions of Canadian women who suffer from the symptoms of this devastating condition. Traditional treatment options have inadequately provided relief of the individual symptoms of IBS-C. Zelnorm(*) represents the most promising new prescription treatment in many years for those affected by abdominal pain and bloating associated with constipation-predominant IBS. There is hope that this treatment will allow female IBS-C sufferers to significantly raise their quality of life." Ms. Suzanne Glazer was diagnosed with IBS-C in 1999. "The symptoms would at times almost incapacitate me," said Ms. Glazer. "It came to a point where I was literally a prisoner in my own home and body because my symptoms kept me inside all the time. Now with Zelnorm(*), I don't have the severe pain, constipation and bloating that I used to suffer from on a near daily basis. I've now got my life back." Quality of life is significantly lower in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) than in healthy people. In fact, the IBS Self Help group recently facilitated a survey with Ipsos Reid that sheds light on the severity and impact of IBS with respect to quality of life. When asked about quality of life, 45 per cent of those polled indicated that IBS has a severe impact on overall quality of life. And, when asked to rate the degree of pain and discomfort they suffer as a result of IBS symptoms, 87 per cent of those surveyed said they suffered from severe or moderate pain (36 per cent and 51 per cent respectively). Further, more than 85 per cent of IBS sufferers reported that symptoms are extremely or very bothersome, having a negative impact on work, traveling and socializing. For additional information on the survey results please see the editor's notes below or visit the IBS Self Help Group Web site at www.ibsgroup.org. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a debilitating condition, second only to the common cold as a leading cause of absenteeism from work or school. Traditionally, there has been a great misunderstanding of this condition. It is a significant medical condition with substantial discomfort and a profound effect on sufferers' quality of life, but which too often has been misinterpreted as if it were simply a minor irritation to be treated with simple diet adjustments. The Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Self Help Group, formed in 1987, supports those who suffer from IBS, those who are looking for support for someone who has IBS, and medical professionals who want to learn more about IBS. The IBS Support Group works to educate those who are living with IBS and to increase awareness about this and other functional gastrointestinal disorders. Its Web site is www.ibsgroup.org. The Canadian Society of Intestinal Research (SiR) is a registered charity established in 1976 by gastroenterologists and patients. SiR is dedicated to patient support for all areas of the gastrointestinal tract in the forms of printed publications sanctioned by the medical profession, and its Web site www.badgut.com. SiR holds frequent meetings and conferences to educate the public and health care professionals and has IBS support groups in several Canadian communities. The society also funds medical research into gastrointestinal diseases and disorders. (*)Zelnorm is a registered trademark. NOTES TO EDITOR - RESULTS OF THE IBS IN CANADA SURVEY: IBS sufferers visit the doctor more frequently than average. In Canada, IBS is the leading cause of referrals to gastroenterology clinics - accounting for approximately half of all visits to gastroenterologists. - The IBS in Canada Survey showed that people visited their physician or other health care provider for IBS an average of 3.1 times in the past six months. IBS strongly impacts personal relationships and working practices. - Forty-eight per cent of people noted that IBS had a serious impact on their daily life, such as work or activities with friends or family. - Missing work or school due to IBS symptoms was reported by almost four-in-ten (39 per cent) survey respondents. - On a personal level, people were forced to miss a leisure activity or occasion because of IBS symptoms an average of 9.3 times in the previous three months. - In addition, 12 per cent of people are either currently, or have been in the past, on disability as a result of their IBS. -30-
For further information: For additional information or to set up an interview, please contact: In Ontario: Janiece Walsh/Laura Pagnotta, Edelman Public Relations Canada, Tel.: (416) 979-1120; In British Columbia: Patsy Worrall/Jasmine Lucky, Quay Strategies, Tel.: (604) 687-2824; In Halifax: Marie-France LeBlanc, Bristol Group, Tel.: (902) 491-2540; At Novartis Pharmaceuticals: Jason Jacobs, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., Tel.: (514) 633-7872; In Quebec: Johanne Denault/Daphne Weatherby, Edelman Public Relations Canada, Tel.: (514) 844-6665, ext. 226/225; In Newfoundland: Cathy Dornan, Bristol Group, Tel.: (709) 753-7242; In New Brunswick and PEI: Jan Carinci, GCP Bristol, Tel: (506) 383-4000
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