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01 Oct

Merz Pharmaceuticals Joins Patient Advocates To Raise Awareness Of Cervical Dystonia and Blepharospasm

“Make Your Mark” Campaign Debuts Today
Visit www.MakeYourMarkCampaign.com to Make Your Mark

Greensboro, N.C., April 14 /PRNewswire/ — Merz Pharmaceuticals, LLC, maker of XEOMIN® (incobotulinumtoxinA), a botulinum toxin type A free from accessory proteins, today announced the launch of the “Make Your Mark” campaign. With the help of patient advocates, “Make Your Mark” celebrates the inspirational stories of people living with blepharospasm or cervical dystonia (CD), also known as spasmodic torticollis, and aims to raise awareness of these often debilitating conditions.

XEOMIN is approved in the U.S. to treat the abnormal head position and neck pain that happens in adults with cervical dystonia, as well as the abnormal spasms of the eyelids (blepharospasm) in adults who have had prior treatment with onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox).

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.news2know.net/mnr/merz/make-your-mark.php

“For those who suffer with chronic conditions like cervical dystonia or blepharospasm, self-expression and creativity play a part in how we feel,” said Hallie Neill, an accomplished opera singer, actress and writer who was diagnosed with cervical dystonia in 2007. “When we express ourselves creatively through writing stories, making music, painting, cooking and dancing, we inspire ourselves and others, and make a positive mark on the world around us.”

Cervical dystonia and blepharospasm are thought to be rare conditions but are possibly undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to the lack of specific clinical criteria. According to a recent online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Merz Pharmaceuticals, LLC, an average of 55 percent of cervical dystonia and blepharospasm patients surveyed reported that they experienced symptoms for one year or more before their conditions were diagnosed. In fact, 66 percent of surveyed patients on average say they were not diagnosed sooner because there is a lack of knowledge about these conditions or they were misdiagnosed with another condition first.

“I have cervical dystonia but it doesn’t have me.” said Dawn Brinkley, 2010 Mrs. North Carolina and an active volunteer who was diagnosed with cervical dystonia in 2004. “People may not know what cervical dystonia and blepharospasm are, and they may underestimate the impact of these conditions on a persons life. I make my Mark by helping others understand they don’t have to just live with these conditions; there are treatments and resources available.”

Alfred J. (A.J.) Deguio, a blepharospasm patient and support group leader in New Mexico, said, “I was diagnosed with blepharospasm 17 years ago, and I’ve made my Mark as a support group coordinator for over 16 years. The condition impacts me in many ways, but I’ve learned to adapt to it. It’s important to me that others living with blepharospasm know they’re not alone.”

“The commitment that Merz is making to the cervical dystonia and blepharospasm communities is a great complement to the support and resources provided by advocacy organizations.” states William Ondo, M.D., Professor of Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and an expert on medical uses of botulinum toxin. “With the availability of XEOMIN in the U.S., we have another therapeutic option for the treatment of these conditions in appropriate patients.”

Botulinum toxin is the only FDA-approved medication for cervical dystonia or blepharospasm. Speak with your doctor to see if XEOMIN may be right for you.

Survey Methodology 
The “Make Your Mark” Survey was recently conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Merz Pharmaceuticals, LLC, between February 17 and March 7, 2011. The survey targeted 500 U.S. adults ages 18+ who have been diagnosed with cervical dystonia (250 respondents) or blepharospasm (250 respondents). Respondents for this survey are members of the Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation (BEBRF) and/or the National Spasmodic Torticollis Association (NSTA). Survey data are unweighted and therefore representative only of the individuals surveyed.