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Merz Launches New Online Resource for Patients with Focal Dystonias
Date:2/2/2011

GREENSBORO, N.C., Feb. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In support of the focal dystonia community, Merz Pharmaceuticals today announced the launch of a new educational website, FocalDystoniaExchange.com, where people affected by certain focal dystonias, as well as caregivers, family and friends, can learn more about the conditions and access helpful resources. For people who suffer from focal dystonias (movement disorders characterized by muscle contractions and spasms that cause twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures), completing simple, everyday tasks can be a difficult and challenging process.

FocalDystoniaExchange.com offers educational information about the symptoms and effects associated with focal dystonias, including cervical dystonia (also known as spasmodic torticollis) and blepharospasm, which are the most common forms of focal dystonia. The site also provides information on how people with dystonia can utilize social media tools to share their experiences and related resources with others affected by the condition. In addition, articles of interest and downloadable materials, such as a treatment journal, can be used to help guide discussion between physicians and patients in an effort to manage symptoms and optimize treatment.

Among other features, the website includes a patient journal written by Beka Serdans, R.N., founder of Care4Dystonia, Inc. (www.Care4Dystonia.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to those affected by dystonia.

"FocalDystoniaExchange.com provides a unique combination of online educational resources for patients and their families," says Serdans. "Focal dystonias are very complex movement disorders that may require treatment and lifestyle changes. As a patient and a caregiver, it is heartening to know we can help patients learn how to make these changes by sharing the real-life experiences and examples of others, and give them tools they can use to talk to their doctors about how they can manage the condition and live satisfying lives."

The new site offers various opportunities for patients and caregivers to be recognized for their ongoing dedication to the focal dystonia community. The patient stories section provides a glimpse into real-life patient experiences, and the featured community member page highlights those who are making an impact on the exchange of dystonia information through social media and networking tools. In both sections, visitors have the opportunity to submit their own personal story to potentially be highlighted on the website in the future.

"Merz Pharmaceuticals is committed to raising awareness of focal dystonias and encouraging patient dialogue, especially for lesser-known conditions such as cervical dystonia and blepharospasm," said Jack Britts, President and CEO of Merz Pharmaceuticals, LLC. "We hope that patients and their families will benefit from this new online resource as they seek information about managing focal dystonias."

To learn more, please visit www.FocalDystoniaExchange.com and become a fan of Focal Dystonia Exchange on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FocalDystoniaExchange.

About Dystonia

Dystonias are movement disorders in which sustained muscle contractions cause twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures. These movements, which are involuntary and sometimes painful, may affect a single muscle (focal), a group of muscles such as those in the arms, legs, or neck (segmental), or even the entire body (generalized). Symptoms can be mild or severe and dystonias may be markedly disabling.

Although dystonia is thought to be rare, it is possibly undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to lack of specific clinical criteria. While focal dystonias such as blepharospasm or cervical dystonia can affect people at any age, most people first experience symptoms in middle age.

According to an epidemiology study conducted in Rochester, Minn., focal dystonia (which includes cervical dystonia, and may be characterized by twisting of the neck, and blepharospasm, or excessive eyelid spasm) is estimated to affect 295 per million people in the U.S.

About Merz

Merz Pharmaceuticals, LLC is a part of the Merz Group of companies and was established in 1995 to develop and commercialize products for the Merz Group. Areas of therapeutic focus include Neurology, Dermatology, and Podiatry.

With a 102 year heritage, the Merz Group is known worldwide for its development of original compounds and formulations for medical professionals and consumers in 90 countries. Globally, Merz is a leader in the development of pharmaceuticals for the treatment of neurological and psychological disorders as well as for aesthetic medicine. Global research is concentrated in fields that have a strong need for therapeutic innovation such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, tinnitus, chronic pain conditions, addictions, and neuromuscular disturbances.


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