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Ben Vereen, Tony Award-Winning Actor, Strives to Raise Awareness of Diabetes and Treatment
Date:9/24/2008

- Ben Vereen Issues a Call-to-Action for People with Diabetes to Join Him to Take the Stage and Act on Their Diabetes Today

BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Tony Award-winning actor and Broadway star Ben Vereen is partnering with sanofi-aventis, a world leader in diabetes care, to launch Take the Stage for Diabetes Awareness, a national awareness campaign designed to educate people living with diabetes about their condition. Since he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2007, Mr. Vereen has worked hard to manage his condition and is now urging others living with diabetes to work with their healthcare providers to find the best overall treatment plan for them.

"When I was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I was very scared and confused. After I accepted the initial diagnosis, I committed to doing everything I could to manage my diabetes," said Mr. Vereen. "My doctor talked to me about the importance of managing my blood sugar levels to help reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications. I worked closely with him to find the treatment plan that was right for me and now I want to urge others living with diabetes to do the same."

For some, controlling blood sugar levels may require diet, exercise and/or taking oral diabetes medications. For others, adding insulin to their overall diabetes treatment plan may be necessary to help maintain control of their blood sugar levels.

"I had many doubts and fears about taking insulin. I was worried the injections would be painful and interfere with my daily schedule," said Mr. Vereen. "Since I never wanted diabetes to define who I am or stop me from doing the things I love, I kept an open mind about all potential treatment options. My doctor and I decided together that along with watching the types of foods I eat and exercising regularly, I should start using insulin to help manage my blood sugar. My treatment plan has gotten my blood sugar where it needs to be and now my diabetes is under control."

As a part of Take the Stage for Diabetes Awareness, Mr. Vereen is kicking off a nation-wide tour, traveling around the country with healthcare professionals to educate people living with diabetes and their families about the importance of diabetes awareness. He will share his personal story about living with type 2 diabetes and speak about how essential it is to find the best diabetes treatment plan for them. While living with diabetes is not always easy, the first step to managing it is to get serious about your health and talk with your treating healthcare provider about all available diabetes treatment options and your individual blood sugar goals.

"The good news for people living with diabetes is that the condition is manageable," said Michael Bush, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, UCLA, and Division of Endocrinology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "However, treatment regimens may need to be changed or adjusted over time, and many people living with type 2 diabetes who currently manage their condition through diet, exercise and taking oral medications alone, may eventually require the addition of insulin to their treatment plan. That is why it is so important to regularly talk with your doctor about which treatment plan is best for you."

"I am lucky -- I have a great doctor who helped me reach my personal treatment goals," said Mr. Vereen. "But, it is important for people to know that I take action everyday to maintain my blood sugar control. Checking my blood sugar levels often, continuing to make healthy food choices, exercising regularly, monitoring my activity levels, and taking my diabetes medication as prescribed has become part of my daily routine."

To read Mr. Vereen's personal story about living with diabetes, or for more information about diabetes, treatment, and care, please visit http://www.BensDiabetesStory.com.

About Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic, widespread condition in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin - the hormone needed to transport glucose (sugar) from the blood into the cells of the body for energy. More than 230 million people worldwide are living with the disease, and this number is expected to rise to a staggering 350 million within 20 years. It is estimated that nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes, including an estimated 5.7 million who remain undiagnosed.

About sanofi-aventis

Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

US Contacts:

Carrie Melia

Carrie.melia@sanofi-aventis.com

908-981-6486


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SOURCE sanofi-aventis
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