New Web Site, Betanurses.com, Offers Array of Disease Management Tools and Instant Access to B.E.T.A. Nurses
Feb. 5, 2004
Berlex, Inc., a U.S. affiliate of Schering AG Germany, today announced it has launched http://www.betanurses .com, a new Web site for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) that provides customized support programs, in-depth information and resources, and real-time interface with dedicated MS nurse specialists.
The site is part of the B.E.T.A. (Betaseron Education, Training and Assistance) nurse program, a personalized support program that connects people with MS who are starting on Betaseron(R) (interferon beta-1b) for SC injection with a dedicated MS nurse specialist. Berlex created the B.E.T.A. nurse program in May 2002.
"Betanurses.com builds on the success of the B.E.T.A. nurse program through a host of additional web-based resources and support services. We think it will enhance the overall experience for thousands of people with MS who take Betaseron," said Ralph Makar, Vice President & General Manager, Therapeutics, Berlex.
The B.E.T.A. nurses network, which includes more than 50 MS nurse specialists, helps people on Betaseron manage their disease and offers ongoing support to patients, families and friends. B.E.T.A. Centers are an integral part of the B.E.T.A. nurse program, and are the first and only privately sponsored centers in the United States just for people with MS. Currently, there are nine B.E.T.A. Centers across the country.
A Range of Comprehensive Services
Betanurses.com offers programming updates for all B.E.T.A. Center locations, as well as general information and clinical research about MS. An interactive section - "Share Your Stories" - contains personal accounts of living with MS, where people can discuss such topics as dealing with your diagnosis, balancing family life and work, and maximizing your relationship with a B.E.T.A. nurse.
"The B.E.T.A. nurse program was founded on the belief that the more active and engaged a person with MS is, the more equipped he or she will be to handle the physical and emotional challenges of the disease," said Sally Jewel, RN, B.E.T.A. nurse program director. "Knowing how others may deal with potential hardships is invaluable to a newly diagnosed person with MS. Betanurses.com is a terrific forum to reach out, educate and learn from the experiences of others."
People can visit the Web site at http://www.betanurses .com or http://www.mspathways .com.
They also can call MS Pathways at 1-800-788-1467 for more information about the B.E.T.A. nurse program or to speak with a B.E.T.A nurse.
MS is a disease of the central nervous system affecting the brain and spinal cord. It is estimated to affect more than 400,000 people in the United States and is the major acquired neurologic disease in young adults. People who develop MS may not immediately recognize their condition, because the symptoms of MS are nonspecific and may be similar to those of other diseases. Common signs and symptoms of MS include fatigue, psychological and cognitive changes, weakness or paralysis of limbs, numbness, vision problems, speech difficulties, problems with walking or motor skills, bladder problems, and sexual dysfunction.
Relapsing-remitting forms of MS are characterized by periods of attacks, interspersed with stable periods. Most symptomatic patients are classified at onset with the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. About 50 percent of patients with relapsing-remitting disease advance into the secondary progressive form within ten years. At this stage, after periods of intermittent attacks and remissions, the disease begins a course of steady progression.
Chiron Corporation and Berlex jointly developed Betaseron. It is manufactured by Chiron and sold in the United States and Canada by Berlex.
Betaseron was the first therapy approved in the United States to treat relapsing-remitting MS. Betaseron is indicated for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS to reduce the frequency of clinical exacerbations. Relapses are repeat attacks during which new symptoms appear or existing symptoms worsen, followed by periods of recovery. Relapsing forms of MS include relapsing- remitting, the most common form, and secondary progressive MS with relapses.
In January 2002, the FDA approved a new room-temperature-stable formulation of Betaseron. Betaseron is the first and only interferon therapy available in the United States that is stable at room temperature (25 degrees C/77 degrees F) for more than 30 days, providing a convenient option for MS patients. Injections for this formulation should be administered immediately after preparation. If the injection is delayed, the solution should be refrigerated and injected within a three-hour time period.
The recommended dose of Betaseron (interferon beta-1b) is 250 mcg (8 MIUs) every other day, which delivers an average total of 875 mcg (28 MIUs) per week.
The most commonly reported adverse reactions are lymphopenia, injection site reaction, asthenia, flu-like symptom complex, headache, and pain. Betaseron should be used with caution in patients with depression. Injection site necrosis has been reported in 5 percent of patients in controlled trials. Patients should be advised of the importance of rotating injection sites. Female patients should be warned about the potential risk to pregnancy. Cases of anaphylaxis have been reported rarely. (See "Warnings," "Precautions," and "Adverse Reactions" sections of Prescribing Information.)
For full prescribing information, please visit http://www.betaseron .com.
Committed to developing novel diagnostics and therapeutics that address unmet medical needs, Berlex, Inc., a U.S. affiliate of Schering AG, Germany (NYSE: SHR), develops and markets diagnostic imaging agents and treatments in the areas of female healthcare and dermatology, as well as specialized therapeutics for life-threatening and disabling diseases in the fields of the central nervous and cardiovascular systems, oncology and gastroenterology. Berlex has business operations in New Jersey, California and Washington. For more information, please visit http://www.berlex.com.
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