HORSHAM, Pa., Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Acclaimed comedian and actor Jon Lovitz is talking candidly for the first time about living with severe plaque psoriasis through a national disease awareness campaign called Are You Serious?™. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition which causes red, scaly plaques on the skin and affects nearly 7.5 million Americans, including Lovitz, who struggled with the condition for 10 years before getting its symptoms under control. Through his distinctive comedic style, Lovitz illustrates several of the everyday challenges faced by people with psoriasis in TV and radio public service announcements (PSAs), an entertaining song parody performed to Maroon 5's famous hit, "This Love," and an educational website – SeriousAboutPsoriasis.com.
To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/seriousaboutpsoriasis/47521/
"A large portion of my body was covered in psoriasis – I had plaques on my arms, back, stomach and scalp. It was embarrassing, painful and emotionally difficult to deal with until, finally, I got serious about my psoriasis and worked with a dermatologist to find an effective treatment," remembers Lovitz. "I decided to use my comedy to raise awareness about psoriasis, without making fun of having the disease. I hope that through hearing my story, people with psoriasis will feel inspired to talk with a dermatologist and get their symptoms under control."
Are You Serious?™, a collaborative effort between Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. and the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), brings Lovitz's personal experiences and humor to the public forefront in an effort to educate and empower the psoriasis community. In the campaign's song parody, he puts into perspective the real-life emotional impact of the disease with the chorus line, "psoriasis has taken its toll on me." The NPF has released research that supports the sentiments conveyed in Lovitz's musical performance, showing that people with psoriasis felt self-conscious (73 percent) or embarrassed (68 percent) because of their physical symptoms.
"Our findings about the impact of psoriasis, along with the stories we hear from people coping with the disease, underscore the importance of working with a dermatologist to find a treatment that effectively manages your disease symptoms," said Randy Beranek, president and CEO of the National Psoriasis Foundation. "The NPF is grateful to Jon for taking a different approach to share his story, using humor as a means to motivate patients and educate the public about a disease that's often misunderstood."
Are You Serious?™ brings together Lovitz and his long-time colleague and friend, Hollywood film director Jerry Zucker, who produced the program's video assets. Lovitz was compensated by Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. for his participation in Are You Serious?™.
In support of the campaign, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc., will donate one dollar to the NPF for each of the first 10,000 people who share the video of the song parody. For more information about the campaign, psoriasis and Jon's story, visit SeriousAboutPsoriasis.com.
Psoriasis is a chronic, immune-mediated disease that results from the overproduction of skin cells, resulting in their accumulation on the surface of the skin, which causes red, scaly plaques that may bleed. It is estimated that approximately 7.5 million Americans and nearly three percent of the world's population are living with psoriasis and nearly one-quarter of those people have cases that are considered moderate to severe.
About Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc.
Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. redefines the standard of care in immunology, nephrology and oncology. Built upon a pioneering history, Centocor Ortho Biotech harnesses innovations in large-molecule and small-molecule research to create important new therapeutic options. Beyond its innovative medicines, Centocor Ortho Biotech is at the forefront of developing education and public policy initiatives to ensure patients and their families, caregivers, advocates and healthcare professionals have access to the latest treatment information, support services and quality care. For more information about Centocor Ortho Biotech, visit www.CentocorOrthoBiotech.com.
SOURCE Centocor Ortho Biotech