LAVAL, Quebec, Dec. 3, 2021 – Bausch Health Companies Inc. (NYSE/TSX: BHC) (“Bausch Health”) and its gastroenterology business, Salix Pharmaceuticals, (“Salix”), one of the largest specialty pharmaceutical companies in the world committed to the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, today introduced a collection of digital and social activations aimed at helping adult patients with opioid-induced constipation (OIC), irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). Launched during Constipation Awareness Month in December, the digital and social activations are designed to help patients with constipation and their caregivers identify symptoms and potential causes of constipation and find appropriate treatment options.
“We understand the importance of reaching patients who may be suffering with various types of constipation where they are – in their homes and on their digital devices,” said Robert Spurr, president, Salix Pharmaceuticals. “Our hope is that these new resources will help patients and their caregivers increase their understanding of the various types of constipation and potential underlying causes and may help them identify treatment options right for them.”
OIC Takes the Spotlight on TikTok
Between 40-80 percent of patients with chronic pain experience OIC,1, 2, 3 a common side effect of opioids, yet many are unaware of the connection between opioid use and constipation. Salix’s reimagined website, UnderstandingOIC.com, provides enhanced imagery and links to downloadable materials to help educate patients about OIC and encourage them to have informed discussions with their health care providers.
To further share educational content about OIC and drive patients to visit UnderstandingOIC.com, Salix has partnered with five popular health care professionals on TikTok, including:
“I’m excited to collaborate with Salix to share information about OIC with my TikTok community,” said Ethan Melillo. “It’s important for people to understand they can lean on their pharmacist as a resource, especially when it comes to side effects of certain medications like opioids.”
Since TikTok launched in 2016, it has continued to grow in popularity, including among the health care community. The innovative platform allows patients to interact and gain an understanding of specific topics from the comfort of their homes.
Jennifer Fijor agrees that social media allows health care providers and patients to break down the barriers often associated with discussing uncomfortable topics, like constipation. “I talk about lots of different types of constipation with my TikTok followers, because not all constipation is created equally,” she said. “In my experience, most patients are unaware that their opioids could be causing their constipation. Through this partnership with Salix, I hope to bring awareness to OIC so that chronic pain patients on opioid therapy can get more information.”
The TikTok campaign will continue throughout December and will be followed by other digital initiatives, including integrated audio content for voice-activated devices or speakers, which will offer listeners helpful information about OIC and tips on where to find more educational resources. Salix also illustrated patients’ collective descriptions of living with OIC into a graphic depicting the patient experience to share with health care professionals and other patients to help visualize the shared story of several OIC patients. Edgy new banner ads were recently launched to capture the attention of web users seeking more information about this type of constipation.
IBS-C and CIC Initiatives Aim to Spark Greater Awareness
Approximately 36 million American adults have CIC,4 and 3.6 million American adults have IBS-C.5 However, many remain undiagnosed and may not have the knowledge they need to recognize that the constipation they are living with is not normal.
There is quantifiable evidence to show that people who have less than three bowel movements per week, hard to pass bowel movements, straining, discomfort and don’t feel empty after a bowel movement, may be suffering from CIC.6 Add abdominal pain to those symptoms, and those people may have IBS-C.7
Proper diagnosis is not the only challenge. An online survey of individuals with IBS-C found that only 20 percent of respondents felt they were in control of their symptoms despite using a variety of treatments, and even fewer HCPs (6 percent) felt their patients were in control.8 Improved dialogue between HCPs and patients around IBS-C and CIC management pathway options is necessary to address unmet patient needs.
In addition to its educational website, ConfrontConstipation.com, Salix has distributed an informative article to regional and local news outlets across the country explaining the symptoms of IBS-C and CIC, as well as the potential underlying causes. The article also includes resources to encourage people experiencing constipation to have a productive conversation with their health care provider.
Salix has also partnered with a social influencer on Instagram to spark greater awareness and conversation about IBS-C and discuss a potential treatment option. By leveraging the voices of patients who reach a large and diverse audience, Salix hopes to motivate more individuals to seek diagnosis and relief.
Finally, to ensure that health care providers are kept updated about the urgency of addressing IBS-C and CIC, Salix is communicating directly with clinicians across the country to inform them of the latest perspectives of patients dealing with IBS-C and CIC.
Salix Pharmaceuticals is one of the largest specialty pharmaceutical companies in the world committed to the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. For more than 30 years, Salix has licensed, developed and marketed innovative products to improve patients’ lives and arm health care providers with life-changing solutions for many chronic and debilitating conditions. Salix currently markets its product line to U.S. health care providers through an expanded sales force that focuses on gastroenterology, hepatology, pain specialists and primary care. Salix is headquartered in Bridgewater, New Jersey. For more information about Salix, visit www.Salix.com and connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About Bausch Health
Bausch Health Companies Inc. (NYSE/TSX: BHC) is a global company whose mission is to improve people’s lives with our health care products. We develop, manufacture and market a range of pharmaceutical, medical device and over-the-counter products, primarily in the therapeutic areas of eye health, gastroenterology and dermatology. We are delivering on our commitments as we build an innovative company dedicated to advancing global health. For more information, visit www.bauschhealth.com and connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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