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Allergan aims to raise IBS-D awareness

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'Toilet Talk' campaign features TV host Wendy Williams

DUBLIN, Ireland — Allergan plc has teamed up with the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) to launch Toilet Talk, a campaign to help raise awareness about irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D).

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TV host Wendy Williams in the Toilet Talk video

The Toilet Talk campaign, in recognition of IBS Awareness Month, aims to reduce the stigma associated with talking about bowel health and urges people to discuss their bowel function with a health care professional, Allergan said Friday in announcing the initiative.

At the center of this multimedia effort is a video created in partnership with daytime talk show host Wendy Williams, whose candid, no-holds-barred personality encourages IBS-D sufferers to speak to a health care professional.

And in another video filmed on California’s Santa Monica Pier, a Toilet Talk interviewer approaches men and women at random and, sitting on toilets, they engage in a discussion about their bowel movements, or “talk about poop.” The video is desinged to illustrate the taboo and authentic nature of the topic, while stressing that bowel health is important to well-being.

“By elevating and normalizing conversations around bowel health, Allergan and the AGA believe Toilet Talk will empower patients to feel more comfortable and confident when speaking with their health care professional,” stated Aimee Lenar, vice president gastroenterology at Allergan, maker of Viberzi (eluxadoline tablets), a prescription drug for the treatment of IBS-D. “No one should suffer because they are too embarrassed to talk about their IBS-D symptoms.”

The campaign also helps people understand more about their bowel health by asking them to answer five simple questions that can start a discussion with their health provider. For each completed questionnaire, Allergan will donate $1 to the AGA Research Foundation to support digestive disease research, up to $50,000.

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The Toilet Talk interviewer “talks about poop” with people on the Santa Monica Pier in California.

“I don’t shy away from talking about taboo topics, and talking about No. 2 isn’t any different,” Williams said in a statement. “I’m excited to be a part of Toilet Talk, helping to advocate and spread the word that it’s okay to talk about bowel health. Once we explained that bowel health is a vital component of your overall health, it was easy to get people talking about poop. The responses we received are honest, enlightening and even a little fun.”

Allergan said Toilet Talk will be amplified further through digital advertising and a Toilet Talk Facebook page. In addition, the campiang will reach health practitioners and consumers via in-office brochures.

As many as 16 million Americans are affected by IBS-D, and according to the “IBS in America” survey by the AGA, nearly four in 10 patients waited three or more years before seeing a health professional about their symptoms.

“Many IBS sufferers dismiss their symptoms until diarrhea impacts their daily lives, causing them to miss work or social events. It’s unfortunate that instead of communicating these issues with their health care professional, they resort to an ongoing cycle of lifestyle modification and over the counter treatments,” commented J. Sumner Bell, M.D., patient engagement advisor for the AGA. “It’s our goal that by raising awareness of the importance of bowel health, Toilet Talk will empower sufferers to seek medical treatment earlier than ever before and speak frankly with their health care professional so that they can control their symptoms and regain confidence in their daily lives.”


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