NEW YORK, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Pfizer Inc announced today the introduction of a new consumer education campaign -- Life Beyond the Bathroom(TM) -- designed to raise awareness about overactive bladder (OAB), a condition which affects an estimated 33 million American men and women over the age of 18. In partnership with Olympic gold-medalist Mary Lou Retton, who suffered with OAB for years, the campaign will help motivate those who have symptoms of OAB to talk to their doctors about proper diagnosis and treatment.
The campaign is sponsored by Pfizer, makers of DETROL(R) LA (tolterodine tartrate extended release capsules), a prescription medication for OAB.
"I learned to live with OAB, running to the bathroom up to 25 times a day, but it was always on my mind," says Retton. "I was afraid someone might notice my condition, so I kept it a secret like many others do. I would even bring extra leotards to gymnastics training because I was embarrassed I might have an accident."
Like many sufferers, Retton found ways to cope before finally talking to her doctor about her secret. Now, 20 years after winning her gold medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics, she is speaking out as part of this nationwide educational initiative.
"I tried to deal with it by limiting how much water I drank and making sure I knew where the closest restrooms were," she says. "But those things didn't help, and now I know I was ignoring a serious medical condition. I want to let people know that there's a better way to treat the condition." Overactive bladder is associated with involuntary contractions of the bladder muscle. A person with OAB will feel a sudden and sometimes overwhelming urge to urinate (urgency). This is because the bladder muscle squeezes or contracts with only a small volume of urine and without the normal warning signals that capacity is being reached. This usually results in more frequent urination (frequency), and sometimes, wetting accidents (urge incontinence).
"Trying to manage the condition on my own became increasingly difficult. I wish I hadn't waited so long to talk to my doctor, but I didn't realize this was a health problem that could happen to anyone, even someone my age," says Retton, who is 36 years old. "When I finally spoke with my doctor, she assured me that I didn't get OAB from gymnastics or having kids, and most importantly, that there was something I could do about it. She prescribed DETROL LA, which has helped reduce the number of times I run to the bathroom, resulting in my getting back to the activities I enjoy and reducing some of that worry about accidents."
A recent survey found that only one in four women with OAB has ever talked to her healthcare provider about the condition, despite the fact that it can significantly hinder patients' quality of life. In particular, OAB may interfere with sleep, travel, recreational activities, personal relationships and work. People with OAB may pass up invitations to social events, avoid exercise or repeatedly leave meetings due to fear of a wetting accident.
Dr. Pamela Ellsworth, chief of the division of urology at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Hospital, agrees that activities like limiting fluid intake are not typically effective ways to treat OAB. "Many people may be unaware that there are effective treatments available. We need to encourage discussion about bladder health so that no one suffers from this condition in silence. That's why it's great to see someone like Mary Lou talking openly about her experience, helping people to both recognize the symptoms of overactive bladder and encouraging them to bring it up with their physicians," Dr. Ellsworth adds.
Mary Lou Traveling to Malls Across America
Mary Lou is taking the Life Beyond the Bathroom(TM) campaign on the road, traveling to malls across the country to share her personal story. Along with Dr. Ellsworth, she'll talk to thousands of Americans who may be spending far too much of their lives looking for the nearest restroom, as she once did. Visitors will learn how to recognize symptoms of the condition, and the importance of seeking treatment.
"Many OAB sufferers have never spoken about their condition with physicians, family members or friends, even though they are constantly thinking about their symptoms," said Dr. Tamara Bavendam, medical director, urology, Pfizer. "Suffering in silence gradually starts to limit their ability to enjoy life and may lead to other serious implications, such as increased risk for urinary tract infections, depression, and falls and fractures, the latter of which may result from waking up at night and rushing to the bathroom. We are proud to sponsor this campaign, which is designed to destigmatize OAB and help undiagnosed sufferers realize their symptoms are not normal and something they have to live with. Speaking to a healthcare professional is the first step to finding out what treatment regimen will be right for them."
About DETROL LA
DETROL LA is a once-daily medication with proven efficacy for 24 hours to help control bladder contractions and reduce wetting accidents. DETROL LA reduces the number and intensity of involuntary bladder muscle contractions, and also reduces the strong urinary urgency associated with overactive bladder.
Since its introduction in January 2001, DETROL LA has become the number one prescribed treatment for overactive bladder in the United States and has been prescribed for more than seven million patients worldwide.
DETROL LA is indicated for the treatment of overactive bladder with symptoms of urge incontinence, urgency, and frequency.
DETROL LA is contraindicated in patients with urinary retention, gastric retention, or uncontrolled narrow-angle glaucoma and in patients who have demonstrated hypersensitivity to the drug or its ingredients.
Patients with the following conditions should be treated with caution: renal impairment, bladder outflow obstruction, gastrointestinal obstructive disorders, controlled narrow-angle glaucoma, and significantly reduced hepatic function. Dry mouth was the most frequently reported adverse event (DETROL LA 23 percent vs. placebo 8 percent); others (> 4 percent) included headache (DETROL LA 6 percent vs. placebo 4 percent), constipation (DETROL LA 6 percent vs. placebo 4 percent), and abdominal pain (DETROL LA 4 percent vs. placebo 2 percent).
Additional information about Life Beyond the Bathroom(TM) can be found at http://www.lifebeyondthebathroom.com/ or by calling 1-888-968-2424. Please see full Prescribing Information attached. Additional product information is also available at http://www.detrolla.com/.