GREENSBORO, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merz North America (U.S. affiliate of the global Merz Pharma Group), today announced that it will award up to $1,000,000 in grants to the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation’s (DMRF) Clinical Fellowship Training Program over the course of the next three years. Merz’s contribution will fund one-year fellowship grants to advance physician training and education in the diagnosis and treatment of dystonia, a neurological movement disorder that causes involuntary muscle spasms.
“Here at Merz, we believe that one of the most important ways we can support dystonia patients is to fund physician training and education. By providing funding for the DMRF Clinical Fellowship Training Program, we hope to raise awareness of dystonia among the next generation of movement disorder physicians, ensuring that they are better prepared to diagnose and treat this rare but serious disease,“ said Bill Humphries, President and Chief Executive Officer for Merz North America, Inc.
Since the introduction of Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA) to the U.S. in 2010, Merz Neurosciences has invested approximately $4MM dollars in physician education programs and initiatives, including investigator initiated trials, continuing medical education, and fellowship training. Merz also continues to improve patient access to Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA) through its co-pay assistance program and patient access program. For patients who meet specific qualification criteria, the co-pay program is available to cover up to $500 in treatment related out-of-pocket expenses, and the patient assistance program provides access to Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA) for uninsured or under-insured patients.
The DMRF Clinical Fellowship Training Program supports the training of exceptionally qualified neurologists in preparation for a clinical career in movement disorders. The Program focuses on critical aspects of dystonia, including clinical diagnosis and evaluation, ongoing patient care and management, pharmacotherapy with a special emphasis on neurotoxin therapy, and neurosurgical interventions. Training emphasizes a patient-centric approach and includes hands-on experience in clinics as well as participation in professional meetings and workshops.
“As someone who is affected by dystonia, I know all too well the importance of having physicians who recognize dystonia and know how to treat it. The DMRF is pleased to partner with Merz in providing this critically important program,” said Art Kessler, President of the Board of Directors for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF).
Dystonia affects men, women and children of all backgrounds, and estimates suggest approximately 300,000 people in North America suffer from the disorder. Multiple treatment options exist, but there presently is no cure for dystonia and its characteristic involuntary muscle contractions and spasms, which cause mild to severe degrees of disability and pain.
About the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF)
Founded in 1976, the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to serving all people with dystonia and their families. Since its inception, the DMRF has grown from a small family-based foundation into a dynamic membership-driven organization led by a Board of Directors and network of volunteers with personal connections to dystonia. Because dystonia hits so close to home for our directors and volunteers, the DMRF leadership is motivated by an unrelenting drive to find a cure and an unwavering commitment to serving people affected by dystonia. For more information about the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation and the Clinical Fellowship Training Program, please visit: www.dystonia-foundation.org.
About Merz Neurosciences
Merz Neurosciences is a division of Merz North America, a specialty healthcare company that develops and commercializes treatment solutions in aesthetics, dermatology and neurosciences in the U.S. and Canada. Merz Neurosciences is committed to providing high-quality products and outstanding service to physicians in the fields of neurology, physiatry and otolaryngology. By developing products that improve patients’ health and help them to live better, feel better and look better, Merz will continue to make significant contributions to the well-being of individuals around the world. Merz Neurosciences is an important contributor to the U.S. neurosciences space, offering a well-balanced product portfolio that includes the neurotoxin Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA), the anticholinergic Cuvposa™ (glycopyrrolate) Oral Solution and the Prolaryn™ injectable implant products. For more information about Merz Neurosciences and their U.S. product portfolio, please visit www.merzusa.com.
About Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA)
XEOMIN® is a prescription medicine that is injected into muscles and used:
• to treat the abnormal head position and neck pain that happens with cervical dystonia (CD) in adults.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
XEOMIN® may cause serious side effects that can be life threatening. Call your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of these problems any time (hours to weeks) after treatment with XEOMIN:
- Problems with swallowing, speaking, or breathing can happen after an injection of XEOMIN if the muscles that you use to breathe and swallow become weak. If these problems are severe, you could die. People with certain breathing problems may need to use muscles in their neck to help them breathe and may be at greater risk for serious breathing problems with XEOMIN.
- Swallowing problems may last for several months, and during that time you may need a feeding tube to receive food and water. If swallowing problems are severe, food or liquids may go into your lungs. People who already have swallowing or breathing problems before receiving XEOMIN have the highest risk of getting these problems.
- Spread of toxin effects. In some cases, the effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas of the body away from the injection site and cause symptoms of a serious condition called botulism. The symptoms of botulism include: loss of strength and muscle weakness all over the body, double vision, blurred vision and drooping eyelids, hoarseness or change or loss of voice, trouble saying words clearly, loss of bladder control, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing.
Do not take XEOMIN if you: are allergic to XEOMIN or any of the ingredients in XEOMIN; had an allergic reaction to any other botulinum toxin product such as rimabotulinumtoxinB (Myobloc®), onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox®, Botox® Cosmetic), or abobotulinumtoxinA (Dysport®); have a skin infection at the planned injection site.
Before you take XEOMIN, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, including if you have a disease that affects your muscles and nerves (such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease], myasthenia gravis or Lambert-Eaton syndrome), as you may be at increased risk of serious side effects including difficulty swallowing or breathing. Tell your doctor if you have: had any side effect from any other botulinum toxin in the past; breathing problems such as asthma or emphysema; a history of swallowing problems or inhaling food or fluid into your lungs (aspiration); bleeding problems; drooping eyelids; plans to have surgery; had surgery on your face. Also tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant (it is not known if XEOMIN can harm your unborn baby); are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed (it is not known if XEOMIN passes into breast milk).
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal products. Using XEOMIN with certain other medicines may cause serious side effects. Do not start any new medicines until you have told your doctor that you have received XEOMIN in the past.
Especially tell your doctor if you have received any other botulinum toxin product in the last four months or in the past. Be sure your doctor knows exactly which product you received. The dose of XEOMIN may be different from other botulinum toxin products that you have received. Tell your doctor if you: have recently received an antibiotic by injection; take muscle relaxants; take an allergy or cold medicine; take a sleep medicine; take a blood thinner medicine.
XEOMIN may cause loss of strength or general muscle weakness, blurred vision, or drooping eyelids within hours to weeks of taking XEOMIN. If this happens, do not drive a car, operate machinery, or do other dangerous activities.
XEOMIN may cause other serious side effects including allergic reactions. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to XEOMIN may include: itching, rash, redness, swelling, wheezing, asthma symptoms, or dizziness or feeling faint. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you get wheezing or asthma symptoms, or if you get dizzy or faint.
Other side effects of XEOMIN include: dry mouth, discomfort or pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, neck pain, muscle weakness, and eye problems, including double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, swelling of your eyelids, and dry eyes. Reduced blinking can also occur. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have eye pain or irritation following treatment.
Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of XEOMIN. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.