AGA Institute and Horizon Therapeutics Launch 'Connect to Protect' Program to Educate Physicians and Consumers on Risks Associated with NSAID Use

AGA Institute and Horizon Therapeutics Launch 'Connect to Protect' Program to Educate Physicians and Consumers on Risks Associated with NSAID Use

05/01/09
AGA Institute and Horizon Therapeutics Launch 'Connect to Protect' Program to Educate Physicians and Consumers on Risks Associated with NSAID UseBETHESDA, Md. and CHICAGO, Ill., June 1, 2009 – The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute and Horizon Therapeutics, Inc. today launched Connect to Protect , a program to increase awareness about the gastrointestinal (GI) risks associated with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Connect to Protect was created to highlight the connection between NSAID use and GI risks, and to encourage patients and physicians to connect more often about ways to avoid NSAID-induced ulcers, including but not limited to GI protective co-therapy.

“NSAIDs are among the most widely prescribed classes of drugs in the world, yet there is still very limited discussion among healthcare providers and their patients about the impact long-term use could have,” said Byron Cryer, MD, professor, Internal Medicine – Digestive and Liver Diseases, University of Texas Southwestern, and independent medical advisor, Connect to Protect program. “The goal of Connect to Protect is to facilitate the discussion between physicians and patients around the potential risks in taking chronic NSAIDs and to understand how to reduce a patient's risk.”

Connect to Protect will sponsor an educational Webinar hosted by Dr. Cryer on Tuesday, June 9, 2009 from 12 p.m. to1 p.m. EDT, during which he will discuss the prevalence of NSAID-induced ulcers, the causes and ways to reduce the risk. The Webinar is open to healthcare providers and media. To register in advance, please visit: www.connecttoprotect.com.

“We are excited to partner with the AGA Institute on this important initiative,” said Timothy P. Walbert, president and chief executive officer, Horizon Therapeutics. “For many physicians and their patients, NSAID-associated GI ulcers are rarely discussed, and when they are it is often too late. Connect to Protect is an important step to increase awareness of the problem and provide education and resources to address it.”

About NSAIDs and GI Toxicity
It is estimated that more than 60 million Americans use NSAIDs regularly, resulting in clinically significant upper GI events in one to two percent of users. NSAIDs, most often used for the treatment of arthritis and pain, block enzymes and reduce prostaglandins throughout the body and as a consequence, ongoing inflammation, pain and fever are reduced. Since the prostaglandins that protect the stomach are reduced, NSAIDs often cause ulcers in the stomach. It is estimated that GI hemorrhages due to NSAID use account for approximately 60,000-120,000 hospital admissions annually. Though difficult to quantify, available reports suggest that deaths from NSAID-related GI events vary from 3,200 to more than 16,500 per year in the United States.

For more information on the risks of chronic NSAID use and ways to avoid or reduce those risks, please visit www.connecttoprotect.com. In addition to facts on the risks of NSAID use, there are discussion guides for physicians and their patients about avoiding or reducing risks associated with chronic NSAIDs.

About the AGA Institute
The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) is dedicated to the mission of advancing the science and practice of gastroenterology. Founded in 1897, the AGA is one of the oldest medical-specialty societies in the U.S. Comprised of two non-profit organizations—the AGA and the AGA Institute—our more than 17,000 members include physicians and scientists who research, diagnose and treat disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and liver. The AGA administers all membership and public policy activities, while the AGA Institute runs the organization's practice, research and educational programs. On a monthly basis, the AGA Institute publishes two highly respected journals, Gastroenterology and Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology . The organization's annual meeting is Digestive Disease Week® , which is held each May, is the largest international gathering of physicians, researchers and academics in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. For more information, please visit www.gastro.org.

About Horizon Therapeutics
Horizon Therapeutics, Inc. is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of therapies for the treatment of mild-to-moderate pain and arthritis.  Horizon's clinical portfolio includes innovative combination therapies in early- and late-stage development that are designed to improve safety, efficacy and patient compliance. For more information about the company and its products, please visit www.horizontherapeutics.com .

Funding for the program was provided through a grant from Horizon Therapeutics.

Contacts:
Dianne Bach
AGA Institute
301-941-2623
dbach@gastro.org

Molly Rabinovitz
WeissComm Partners
312-646-6294
mrabinovitz@wcpglobal.com