NEW YORK, April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, actress Janine Turner, best known for playing Maggie O'Connell on TV's Northern Exposure, is teaming up with the president of the National Women's Health Resource Center and a prominent ophthalmologist to form an expert panel about chronic dry eye and to offer education, tips and testimonials about this condition. Millions of people currently suffer from chronic dry eye -- a condition where a person's eyes do not produce enough tears -- and do not realize it is a prevalent medical condition. Chronic Dry Eye: If Not Treated, Can Turn Into a Serious Condition Also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), chronic dry eye is among the most common complaints heard by eye doctors yet many people do not recognize they could have the disease and/or understand its implications.(1) If left untreated, chronic dry eye can lead to impaired vision and an increased risk of ophthalmic infection.(2,3) Being informed about chronic dry eye through an ongoing dialogue with your eye doctor is the best way to approach diagnosis and treatment of this progressive disease. Chronic dry eye is not simply a nuisance condition. Rather, it can be caused by a functional problem in the tear-producing glands of the eyes that leads to decreased tear production. This decreased tear production creates an insufficient amount of tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Nothing to Shed a Tear About Today, sufferers of chronic dry eye due to decreased tear production have RESTASIS(R) (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion) 0.05%, the first and currently the only prescription eye drop for chronic dry eye which works by increasing tear production of the eyes. While over-the-counter artificial tears can provide temporary symptom relief and help lubricate eyes, they do not increase a person's natural ability to produce tears, which may be suppressed by inflammation due to chronic dry eye. "Before RESTASIS(R), it was frustrating that we had nothing to give our dry eye patients to help treat the root of the problem," said Dr. Karl Stonecipher, Director of the Southern Laser and Refractive Surgery Center in Greensboro, NC. "But now, this prescription treatment is believed to target a cause of dry eye disease and help patients produce their own tears." Janine Turner's Story Prior to her chronic dry eye diagnosis, Janine Turner had trouble making it through the long days on a set, as the dryness in her eyes made it difficult to read scripts and nearly impossible to keep her stage makeup on with the constant flow of eye drops she was using. Ms. Turner didn't realize the eye drops she was using simply made her feel better, but could not help her produce more tears. "I had been using artificial tears for my dry eye but not getting any relief, and truly thought this was something I had to suffer with," says Ms. Turner. "Eventually, I went to see my eye doctor and he diagnosed me as having chronic dry eye and gave me a prescription for RESTASIS(R). Now, my eyes are making more of their own tears." If you, like Ms. Turner, have been using over-the-counter eye drops with little success, or think you may have chronic dry eye due to decreased tear production, ask your eye doctor if RESTASIS(R) (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion) is right for you. Eye Health Remains Extremely Important While researchers don't know if there's anything you can do to reduce or avoid your risk of getting chronic dry eye, there are steps you can take to reduce the effect of chronic dry eye on your life: * Visit an eye doctor for an eye health exam if you think you may have chronic dry eye. * Take regular breaks to rest and blink when reading or using a computer. * If you wear contact lenses, change to glasses when you're at home. * When outside, wear wrap-around sunglasses to prevent the wind from blowing against your eyes and drying out the surface of your eyes. * Run a humidifier in any room where you spend a lot of time. * Avoid rubbing your eyes. * Talk to your eye doctor if you regularly take allergy medications, antihistamines, decongestants, diuretics, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or blood pressure medications - as these may contribute to dry eye symptoms. "The health of your eyes should be an important part of your overall health, yet millions of people don't realize how important it is to see an eye doctor regularly," said Amy Niles, President and CEO of the National Women's Health Resource Center. "Conditions like chronic dry eye, which used to have only symptomatic treatments, now have a prescription therapy available that is believed to get to the root of the problem. That's why it is so important to see an eye doctor for diagnosis and treatment of common eye conditions." About RESTASIS(R) RESTASIS(R) (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion) 0.05% was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2002 to increase tear production in patients whose tear production is presumed to be suppressed due to ocular inflammation associated with chronic dry eye. This increased tear production was not seen in patients using topical steroid drops or tear duct plugs. RESTASIS(R) has been available in the U.S. since April 2003. RESTASIS(R) (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion) is contraindicated in patients with active ocular infections. RESTASIS(R) has not been studied in patients with a history of herpes keratitis. The most common adverse event following the use of RESTASIS(R) (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion) was ocular burning (17%). Other events reported in 1% to 5% of patients included red eye, discharge, excessive tearing, eye pain, foreign body sensation, itching, stinging and blurring. For full RESTASIS(R) prescribing information, visit http://www.Restasis.com. About Allergan, Inc. Allergan, Inc., with headquarters in Irvine, California, is a technology-driven, global health care company providing specialty pharmaceutical products worldwide. Allergan develops and commercializes products in the eye care, neuromodulator, skin care and other specialty markets that deliver value to our customers, satisfy unmet medical needs and improve patients' lives. Forward-Looking Statements This press release contains "forward-looking statements," including the statements by Dr. Stonecipher, Ms. Turner and Ms. Niles, statements regarding research and development outcomes, efficacy, and market and product potential. These statements are based on current expectations of future events. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from Allergan's expectations and projections. Risks and uncertainties include general industry and pharmaceutical market conditions; general domestic and international economic conditions, such as interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; technological advances and patents obtained by competitors; challenges inherent in product marketing such as the unpredictability of market acceptance for new pharmaceutical products and/or the acceptance of new indications for such products; potential difficulties in manufacturing a product formulation; domestic and foreign health care reforms; the timing and uncertainty of the research and development and regulatory processes; trends toward managed care and health care cost containment; and governmental laws and regulations affecting domestic and foreign operations. Allergan expressly disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements except as required to do so by law. Additional information concerning these and other risk factors can be found in press releases issued by Allergan, as well as Allergan's public periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the discussion under the heading "Certain Factors and Trends Affecting Allergan and its Businesses" in Allergan's 2004 Form 10-K. Copies of Allergan's press releases and additional information about Allergan is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.allergan.com or you can contact the Allergan Investor Relations Department by calling 1-714-246-4636. (1) The 2002 Gallup Study of Dry Eye Sufferers. Multi-Sponsor Surveys, Inc. Princeton, NJ. October 2002. (2) Kozma CM, Hirsch JD, Wojcik AR. Economic and quality of life impact of dry eye symptoms. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2000;41:S928. (3) Nelson JD, Helms H, Fischella R, et al. A new look at dry eye disease and its treatment. Adv Ther. 2000;17:84-93.
SOURCE Allergan, Inc.