2015-05-08 18:24:02 UTC

IBS in America: AGA Initiates Comprehensive Survey of Patients and Physicians

Survey aims to shed light on IBS and drive better communication between doctors and their patients

CONTACT: Aimee Frank
301-941-2620
media@gastro.org

Bethesda, MD (May 8, 2015) – Today, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) launched a survey to understand the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) experience from both the patient and doctor perspectives. IBS is a serious, chronic and often ignored condition that affects 35 million people in the U.S.  A complex constellation of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, IBS is often misunderstood by sufferers, and people often suffer in silence for years. The survey aims to close the information gaps that currently exist.  

The “IBS in America” survey will be fielded by GfK, a leading market research company, and will be the most comprehensive survey of its kind, polling nearly 4,500 IBS sufferers and 400 health-care providers, including primary care physicians and gastroenterologists. The survey will look to capture perspectives on the full spectrum of IBS, such as the impact of recurring symptoms on daily life, how physicians evaluate and diagnose patients, and treatment usage and satisfaction, as well as geographic and demographic trends. This will be part of an ongoing, joint survey series to understand common GI health conditions impacting individuals in the U.S.

“IBS represents a serious strain on our health-care system — it is the seventh most common diagnosis among all physicians and is the most common diagnosis made by gastroenterologists.  Despite that, public awareness of IBS falls behind other chronic illness, such as diabetes or heart disease or even digestive diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis or celiac disease,” said Dr. Michael Camilleri, AGAF, president elect, AGA. “By understanding the specific barriers between patients and physicians, we can work together to improve the IBS conversations from all sides.” 

IBS can lead to abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, gassiness, and bloating. Some people experience IBS with constipation (difficult or infrequent bowel movements), while others experience IBS with diarrhea (frequent loose stools or an urgent need to move the bowels). Some people have alternating constipation and diarrhea. Symptoms can cause a great deal of discomfort and distress and impact the quality of life of sufferers. While the usual tests such as blood tests, colonoscopy or intestinal imaging performed for patients with these symptoms tend to be negative, there is increasing evidence that tests that identify disturbances of function are abnormal, such as measurement of colonic transit or bile acid balance, and these can help individualize treatment in patients with IBS.   There is a need to increase awareness of these opportunities among sufferers and their caregivers, since patients currently live with a great deal of uncertainty caused by the unpredictability of the condition. While IBS cannot be cured, symptoms can be managed. Treatment strategies are based on the nature and severity of symptoms, as well as identification of the disturbance of function; open conversations with an understanding health-care professional are essential. 

“IBS can be a debilitating condition for patients and their families to live with. The symptoms can be physically painful, mentally taxing and socially isolating. Additionally, hospitalization and treatment costs can be significant ,” said Dr. Anthony Lembo, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the GI Motility Laboratory at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Division of Gastroenterology, Boston, MA. “Through this survey, we hope to gain a better understanding of current behaviors of both patients and doctors, so more can be done to help patients who are suffering.” 

The “IBS in America” survey is funded by Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Actavis plc. 

About the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)
The American Gastroenterological Association is the trusted voice of the GI community. Founded in 1897, the AGA has grown to include more than 16,000 members from around the globe who are involved in all aspects of the science, practice and advancement of gastroenterology. The AGA Institute administers the practice, research and educational programs of the organization. www.gastro.org.

About Ironwood Pharmaceuticals 
Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IRWD) is focused on creating medicines that make a difference for patients, building value to earn the continued support of our fellow shareholders, and empowering our team to passionately pursue excellence. We discovered, developed and are commercializing a medicine that is approved in the United States and a number of other countries. Our pipeline priorities include leveraging our therapeutic expertise in gastrointestinal disorders and our pharmacologic expertise in guanylate cyclases to address patient needs across the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract. Ironwood was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. Connect with us at www.ironwoodpharma.com or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ironwoodpharma; information that may be important to investors will be routinely posted in both these locations.

About Actavis
Actavis plc (NYSE: ACT), headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is a unique, global pharmaceutical company and a leader in a new industry model – Growth Pharma.  Actavis is focused on developing, manufacturing and commercializing innovative branded pharmaceuticals, high-quality generic and over-the-counter medicines and biologic products for patients around the world.  

Actavis markets a portfolio of best-in-class products that provide valuable treatments for the central nervous system, eye care, medical aesthetics, gastroenterology, women’s health, urology, cardiovascular and anti-infective therapeutic categories, and operates the world’s third-largest global generics business, providing patients around the globe with increased access to affordable, high-quality medicines. Actavis is an industry leader in research and development, with one of the broadest development pipelines in the pharmaceutical industry and a leading position in the submission of generic product applications globally. 

With commercial operations in approximately 100 countries, Actavis is committed to working with physicians, health-care providers and patients to deliver innovative and meaningful treatments that help people around the world live longer, healthier lives.

Actavis intends to adopt a new global name – Allergan – pending shareholder approval in 2015. For more information, visit Actavis' website at www.actavis.com

About GfK 
GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their competitive edge and enrich consumers’ experiences and choices. www.gfk.com 


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