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Actress and Mom Alison Sweeney Teams Up With the American Pharmacists Association to Help Fellow Allergy Sufferers Find Relief This Spring
Date:4/2/2009

- TV Host Explains How Talking to a Pharmacist Helped Her Manage Her Congestion so She Can Get Back to Her Busy Schedule -

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Mom, actress and allergy sufferer Alison Sweeney knows first hand how symptoms like congestion can make juggling a busy career and family life even more challenging. That's why she's teamed up with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) and McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. to launch Behind the Counter Counts, a new campaign designed to inform nasal congestion sufferers about treatment options located behind the pharmacy or service counter, or "BTC."

The new campaign features an online resource, www.BTCcenter.com. The site offers Sweeney's personal tips, a new tool to help people figure out if allergies or colds are causing their nasal congestion, and general information about medicines available behind the pharmacy or service counter, or "BTC."

For many people, April represents the beginning of spring allergy season, a time when congestion, a common allergy symptom, can be a problem. Allergies impact an estimated 36 million Americans each year. In fact, a new poll (n=4,282) found that 83 percent of people surveyed felt their nasal congestion slowed them down. Mom, actress and long time congestion sufferer, Alison Sweeney -- well-known for her roles as the host of a popular reality TV show and daytime soap opera star -- can relate.

"Congestion and other allergy symptoms can really get in the way when you're juggling work, family and everyday life. And for me finding the right medicine to relieve my symptoms including congestion can make a big difference," Sweeney explains. "I initially didn't realize the medicines that I've relied on, SUDAFED(R) and ZYRTEC-D(R) made by McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., were located behind the pharmacy counter until I spoke with my pharmacist. That's why I hope other allergy sufferers will do the same, because knowing what's available and where to find it is the first step to finding the medicine that's right for you."

While there are a variety of over-the-counter, non-prescription allergy, sinus and cold medicines available, some non-prescription allergy, sinus and cold medicines are located behind the pharmacy or service counter, or "BTC." These products contain pseudoephedrine, a different active ingredient than what's in products sold on store shelves, and were placed behind the pharmacy or service counter to better ensure these medicines are not used inappropriately.

"We're so grateful for Alison's help with this initiative. We hope it will encourage sufferers who have questions about nasal congestion products or how to access these products to ask their pharmacist," said Michael Negrete, PharmD of the American Pharmacists Association. "Many people are unaware that some of the oral decongestant medicines they have relied on for years are still available but are now located behind the pharmacy or service counter. The good news is that it's simple to purchase these products. All people need to do is visit the pharmacy or service counter, show identification, sign a logbook, and they're on their way."

About Nasal Congestion and Allergies

Nasal congestion impacts millions of Americans each year, and occurs when the membranes lining the nose become swollen. It is often caused by allergies or colds.

With more than 36 million sufferers, allergies are the fifth leading chronic disease in the U.S. An allergy is a condition in which your body's immune system overreacts to normally harmless substances, called "triggers," such as dust, mold, pollen or pet dander. Upper respiratory allergies are characterized by nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and runny nose. Other names for these allergies include "hay fever," "allergic rhinitis," "indoor/outdoor allergies," and "seasonal or perennial allergies." While there is no cure for allergies, they can often be managed by avoiding triggers and/or treatment of symptoms.

About the American Pharmacists Association (APhA)

The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, represents more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and others interested in advancing the profession. The APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the U.S.

About McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. markets a broad range of well-known and trusted over-the-counter (OTC) products, which can be found on store shelves as well as behind the pharmacy or service counter. McNeil Consumer Healthcare is most widely recognized for the complete line of TYLENOL(R) acetaminophen products, the leading pain reliever brand in the adult and pediatric categories. The TYLENOL(R) product line consists of hundreds of products across a variety of pain categories including: arthritis pain, pain with accompanying sleeplessness and upper respiratory. Other McNeil Consumer Healthcare brands include BENADRYL(R) allergy medicine; ZYRTEC(R), IMODIUM(R) A-D anti-diarrheal; MOTRIN(R) IB; PediaCare(R) upper respiratory medicines for children; ROLAIDS(R) antacid products; ST. JOSEPH(R) Adult Regimen Aspirin; and SUDAFED(R) and SUDAFED PE(R) nasal decongestants.

This campaign was funded by McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc the maker of ZYRTEC-D(R) and SUDAFED(R).

    CONTACTS:
    Kathryn Ritzinger                   Teresa Panas
    Cohn & Wolfe                        McNeil Consumer Healthcare
    (212) 537-8217                      (908) 904-3198
    kathryn.ritzinger@cohnwolfe.com     tpanas@its.jnj.com

    Erin Wendel
    APhA
    (202) 429-7558
    ewendel@aphanet.org


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SOURCE American Pharmacists Association
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