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Embargo: Saturday, 12th June, 2004, 14.00 CET

EASING THE BURDEN OF ARTHRITIS TREATMENT
Nexium offers protection against upper gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms associated with all NSAIDs, including newer COX-2 inhibitors

Berlin, Germany, Saturday, 12th June, 2004, 14.00 CET - Treatment with Nexium (esomeprazole) could ease the burden of millions of people who suffer from upper GI side-effects caused by their arthritis treatment, according to new data released today.1,2,3

Studies show Nexium, a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), is not only effective at relieving upper GI symptoms, such as acid reflux, associated with the continuous use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs),3 but can also prevent and heal ulcers.1,2

At least 103 million people in Europe have arthritis, and NSAIDs are widely used to treat the pain and inflammation associated with the disease4 – it is estimated that each day 30 million people worldwide benefit from NSAID treatment.5 However, all NSAIDs, including the newer COX-2-selective NSAIDs, carry a risk of upper GI side-effects and as many as 10–30 per cent of long-term NSAID users develop gastric ulcers.6,7

The data announcement follows the results of a major new pan-European patient survey by the PARE (People with Arthritis / Rheumatism in Europe) Manifesto Steering Group, which showed that up to 35 per cent of people with arthritis / rheumatism experienced NSAID-associated side-effects.8

Speaking at the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) congress, Professor Neville Yeomans, University of Melbourne, Australia, said that the results suggest that introducing Nexium® could improve arthritis patients’ treatment regimen.

“Many people with arthritis also suffer the additional burden of NSAID-associated upper GI side-effects. These results suggest that adding Nexium® to existing treatment can both rapidly relieve GI symptoms such as heartburn, and help safeguard against the development of more serious side-effects. People no longer have to put up with unnecessary side-effects,” he said.

A major concern with NSAID use is the life-threatening risk of peptic ulcer complications, such as bleeding and perforation. In the UK, NSAIDs cause approximately 3,500 hospitalisations for, and 400 deaths from, ulcer bleeding per annum in those aged 60 years and above.9

The data show that Nexium provides effective prevention against the onset of peptic ulcers in long-term users of either non-selective or COX-2-selective NSAIDs who are at risk of developing the disease. People receiving Nexium benefited from a significantly reduced occurrence of ulcers compared with those receiving a placebo, over six months’ treatment.1 In a second set of studies, NSAID users taking Nexium experienced higher gastric ulcer healing rates than those receiving the anti-ulcer treatment ranitidine.2

Further results confirmed that Nexium offers effective resolution of acute upper GI symptoms associated with NSAID use – such as heartburn and acid regurgitation – after four weeks of treatment.10 Two long-term studies over six months showed that treatment with Nexium maintains improvements in health-related quality of life and upper GI symptom severity in people taking NSAIDs.3

Manfred Biringer, who suffers from arthritis, says that his quality of life has significantly improved since he started taking Nexium to treat the upper GI symptoms caused by taking NSAIDs.

“Coping with the pain of arthritis is bad enough, and so the extra problems caused by my treatment really began to get me down. After talking to my doctor, I started taking Nexium®, which has brought my heartburn under control and allowed me to get on with my life.”


The key to managing NSAID-associated upper GI symptoms is controlling gastric acid secretion. NexiumÒ is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that has been shown to provide more effective control of gastric acid secretion than all other PPIs. It works by deactivating the proton (acid) pumps that produce stomach acid. This reduces the amount of acid that is in the stomach, helping to treat heartburn and other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). NexiumÒ is only available on prescription. The most common side-effects of NexiumÒ are headache, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain.

---ends---

Notes to editors

AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of over $18.8 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, oncology, cardiovascular, neuroscience and respiratory products. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global and European) as well as the FTSE4Good Index. Nexium is a trade mark of the AstraZeneca group of companies.

To learn more about Nexium, please visit www.astrazenecapressoffice.com, www.patienthealthinternational.com or www.astrazeneca.com.

For more information on the PARE Manifesto survey, please visit www.PAREManifesto.org

For further enquiries please contact:
Louise Marland Carrie Monaghan
Global PR Manager Hill & Knowlton (UK) Ltd
+44 (0)1625 510 782 (direct) +44 (0)20 7413 3788 (direct)
+44 (0)7900 607 794 (mobile) +44 (0)7764 487 460 (mobile)



References:

1. Yeomans ND et al. Esomeprazole reduces gastric and duodenal ulcer incidence in at-risk patients taking continuous NSAID therapy. Abstract presented at EULAR, Berlin, Germany 2004.
2. Goldstein JL et al. The comparative healing of gastric ulcers with esomeprazole versus ranitidine in patients taking either continuous COX-2 selective NSAIDs or non-selective NSAIDs. Abstract presented at EULAR, Berlin, Germany 2004.
3. Hawkey C et al. Efficacy of esomeprazole for maintenance of symptom relief following initial treatment in patients on long-term NSAID therapy. Abstract presented at EULAR, Berlin, Germany 2004.
4. PARE Manifesto Steering Group. Introductory Page. www.PAREManifesto.org. Last accessed 14.05.04
5. Singh G et al. Gastrointestinal tract complications of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug treatment in rheumatoid arthritis: a prospective observational cohort study. Arch Intern Med 1996; 156: 1530–1536.
6. Buttgereit F et al. Gastrointestinal toxic side-effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and cyclooxygenase-2-specific inhibitors. Am J Med 2001; 110 (Suppl 3A): 13S–19S.
7. Laine L. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug gastropathy. Gastrointest Endosc Clin N Am 1996; 6: 489–504.
8. People with Arthritis and Rheumatism in Europe (PARE) Manifesto Steering Group. European patient survey 2004. Data on file, PARE.
9. Langman MJS. Ulcer complications associated with anti-inflammatory drug use. What is the extent of the disease burden? Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Safety 2001; 10: 13–19.
10. Scheiman JM et al. Esomeprazole resolves heartburn and acid regurgitation in patients taking continuous NSAIDs, including COX-2 selective NSAIDs. Abstract presented at EULAR, Berlin, Germany 2004.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Hill & Knowlton (UK) in the following categories: Health, Medical & Pharmaceutical, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.