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Attention News/Medical Editors:

Patient groups applaud the availability of new therapy for women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    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,, 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
    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
    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 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.


    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.

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

This press release concerns more than one organization.
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