PARSIPPANY, N.J., May 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 50 percent of women in the U.S. suffered from scaling, thickening or dryness on the sides and bottom of their feet, during the last 12 months. Some women are unaware that these symptoms may be associated with a particular form of athlete's foot called "moccasin," a fungal infection that is more commonly passed along in places where people typically walk barefoot like pools, saunas and fitness centers. According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive(R), 90 percent of U.S. women with these symptoms say they cause emotional discomfort and over half say they cause feelings of shame (55 percent) and embarrassment (59 percent). Sam Saboura, host of ABC's "Extreme Makeover," is taking time out from his focus on facelifts, dental reconstruction, breast implantations and tummy tucks to help women improve their body image and sense of well-being, starting with the soles of their feet. Partnering with Beverly Hills podiatrist Dr. Carolyn Siegal and the makers of LamisilAT(R) Cream, Sam will educate women about moccasin-type athlete's foot, how to recognize the symptoms and its cure. The mission: to help women finally succeed in treating the condition they never suspected they had. "I meet women every day who go to extreme measures to try and hide the dry, cracking and scaly skin on their feet. They often insist that I change an outfit so they can wear a pump or boot that will hide their feet," says star stylist Sam Saboura. "It's upsetting when these women tell me they feel less pretty because of the condition of their feet, especially since once they understand and recognize the symptoms, moccasin-type athlete's foot can be treated." Dr. Siegal points out that the places most women associate with self-improvement and beauty are often places where athlete's foot fungi thrive. The fungus that causes athlete's foot tends to live in warm, moist environments, and thrives not only in socks and shoes but also in the foot-soaking baths at nail salons, around swimming pools, on gym floors, in showers, and even in women's homes, where their spouses or teenage children may spread the fungus. "When I tell women that they have moccasin-type athlete's foot -- and I see cases every day -- their immediate reaction is 'athlete's foot? But I take such good care of my feet!' Inevitably, their next question is 'where could I possibly have picked that up?'" says Dr. Siegal. "Many patients have devised elaborate rituals, from moisturizing, exfoliating, and massaging, to foot soaks, reflexology and weekly pedicures to treat their symptoms when in fact they need an antifungal medication such as LamisilAT Cream to treat the problem." According to a Harris Interactive Survey, 26 percent of the women who suffer from persistent dry, cracked or scaly skin on the bottoms and/or sides of their feet indicated that these symptoms of moccasin-type athlete's foot made them less confident. And 15 percent reported that it makes them fearful of intimacy. "Women want to feel feminine and attractive from head to toe," says Sam Saboura. "My goal is to let women across the country know that there is a simple way to restore their feet to their natural beauty." LamisilAT Cream - Treatment Revisited Consumer research conducted by LamisilAT revealed the need to increase awareness of moccasin-type athlete's foot and the negative impact it could have on women, especially if left untreated. "While we knew that athlete's foot is as bothersome for women as men, our research highlighted the extent that women suffer psychologically from the condition. It also became clear that many women might be suffering unnecessarily when they could be cured with an over-the-counter treatment because they just didn't realize it was a medical condition," says Jeanne Bennett, Category Director, Marketing, Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. "By marketing more feminine LamisilAT Cream packaging, and providing this product to women, we hope to raise women's self awareness so they can help to identify and treat their athlete's foot at the first sign." LamisilAT Cream, from Novartis Consumer Health, Inc., is the only antifungal clinically proven to cure moccasin-type athlete's foot with two weeks' use; it is also clinically proven to treat interdigital-type athlete's foot with one week of treatment. This over-the-counter (OTC) product relieves the cracking, scaling, itching and burning which accompany these conditions. LamisilAT Cream has been marketed as an OTC antifungal since 1999 when the brand switched from prescription status. It is now the best-selling antifungal cream and the number one recommended antifungal brand by doctors and pharmacists. LamisilAT Cream, in a feminine lavender-colored package, is currently available at retail outlets and sells for $14.99 for a 24 gram tube. About Novartis Consumer Health, Inc. The OTC business unit of Novartis Consumer Health, Inc., with headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey, is a world leader in the development, production and marketing of self-medication products for the in-home treatment and prevention of medical conditions and ailments and for the enhancement of overall health and well being. The OTC business unit is part of Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS). About Novartis AG Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) is a world leader in pharmaceuticals and consumer health. In 2003, the Group's businesses achieved sales of USD 24.9 billion and a net income of USD 5.0 billion. The Group invested approximately USD 3.8 billion in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ about 78,500 people and operate in over 140 countries around the world. References and survey results available upon request
SOURCE Novartis Consumer Health, Inc.