Merz Pharmaceuticals, SAFE to launch patient-centric spasticity initiative
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Merz Pharmaceuticals has announced the launch of Life With Spasticity, an educational online platform intended to provide comprehensive information and motivational support for stroke survivors who experience post-stroke spasticity. Designed by and for individuals living with spasticity, the project is funded by Merz and has been developed in partnership with Stroke Alliance For Europe (SAFE).
“In addition to providing emotional support and motivation for stroke survivors, the ‘Life With Spasticity’ website also offers a meaningful overview of post-stroke spasticity treatments and rehabilitation processes. We want to ensure that stroke survivors and their caregivers receive accurate and accessible information about the treatment options available to them,” said Jon Barrick, the President of SAFE. “We believe that everyone who has had a stroke should have the opportunity to make the best possible recovery.”
It is estimated that spasticity affects up to a third of stroke survivors and can leave those with the condition dependent on others to carry out the most basic, everyday tasks, such as getting dressed and eating. Studies have shown that around 70% of stroke survivors living with spasticity report that it has a major impact on their life.
“Merz continues to seek out and incorporate direct patient input for our ongoing spasticity and post-stroke awareness initiatives, which we believe should be shaped according to patients’ real needs from the very beginning,” explained Dr. Yannick Grosskreutz, executive director and head of Global Marketing Neurotoxins for Merz Pharmaceuticals. “The ‘Life With Spasticity’ website is just one example of how we are putting that concept into practice.”
To bring this initiative to life, Merz partnered with a patient advisory board of European stroke survivors and carers living with spasticity, as well as SAFE board members, to test and refine the “Life With Spasticity” website prior to launch. Patient advisory board feedback was incorporated to improve the site’s overall accessibility and to generate content for the FAQs section.
“In my experience as a stroke survivor even mild spasticity can be a huge problem. It affects your quality of life; it is uncomfortable and painful. Yet, the problem is not widely recognized by doctors and patients. It is impossible to fight an unknown enemy, and that is why I’m very happy to be a part of this project, which provides reliable information about spasticity. I’m sure that this project will help a number of people who struggle with neurological problems,” stated patient ambassador Kasia Siewruk.
In the coming months, Merz will continue to work closely with SAFE and with patient ambassadors to regularly update the FAQs section of the Life With Spasticity website so that the patients, families and carers can deepen their understanding of post-stroke spasticity, share experiences and find support in their daily life activities.