Daiichi-Sankyo partnered with the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation on a survey of 400 patients and launched an unbranded site, LivingWithDryness.com, to raise awareness of the condition.
Daiichi-Sankyo makes Evoxac, which is indicated for the treatment of dry mouth due to Sjögren's, an autoimmune disorder that affects an estimated 4 million Americans. The disease causes immune cells to attack and destroy moisture-producing glands, causing dry mouth and dry eyes as well as fatigue, joint pain and digestive problems.
The drug is not mentioned on the disease awareness site, which was built by Digitas Health.
MS&L is handling PR around the release of the survey, which found that Sjögren's patients typically experienced symptoms for three or more years before receiving an accurate diagnosis. That's partly because symptoms are similar to those of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and can be mistaken for part of the natural aging process, said Michael Brennan, DDS, MHS, director of the Sjögren's Syndrome and Salivary Disorders Center at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Brennan was also quoted in the release saying that loss of saliva due to the disease can cause more serious problems, such as tooth decay and acid reflux.
More than half of those surveyed -- 55% -- said their healthcare providers were dismissive of their symptoms, and one in six said they had discussed their symptoms with five or more healthcare providers before they were diagnosed.