BRIDGEWATER, N.J., May 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Salix Pharmaceuticals today announced a new, interactive virtual reality (VR) tool intended to provide clinicians with an experiential learning platform that explores the causes of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the most common functional gut disorder affecting between 25 and 45 million people in the United States. Through an all-in-one VR headset, healthcare providers are taken on an educational "voyage" exploring several leading theories about IBS, including the role gut microbiota may play in creating IBS symptoms for patients. It will be unveiled at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2017 in Chicago.
"We hope this educational program helps connect the dots between the multiple theories of what causes IBS in a uniquely memorable way for physicians," said Tage Ramakrishna, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for Salix. "The ultimate goal is to eliminate any barriers to patient care for the undiagnosed and untreated patient population."
Symptoms related to IBS can significantly impact patients' lives; however a new report published by The American Journal of Gastroenterology found that 43.1 percent of people surveyed had no medical diagnosis of IBS despite meeting diagnostic criteria. The VR program titled, "Exploring the Causes of Irritable Bowel Syndrome," explores leading theories on the causes of IBS, which can help inform a rational approach to treatment. The platform was developed in partnership with leading gastroenterology advisors to ensure the information and experience was captured accurately.
"As a gastroenterologist who treats conditions like IBS on a daily basis, I believe this virtual reality experience will move GI treatment forward by helping healthcare professionals better understand this complex condition," said Dr. Brooks Cash, one of Salix's gastroenterology advisors, and Chief of Gastroenterology and Director of the Gastroenterology Physiology Lab at the University of South Alabama Digestive Health Center.
DDW 2017 attendees are invited to experience the virtual reality platform by visiting the Salix booth (#4021) at any point throughout the duration of DDW events.
Salix Reinforces Commitment to the GI Community
The VR program is one of Salix's several corporate initiatives to drive awareness about IBS. The company recently announced that it has rapidly scaled up its sales force by nearly 40 percent with highly-trained representatives to create and sustain deep relationships with primary care physicians to further reach patients in need of IBS treatment. Salix also funded a survey – to be published in the June issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology – which found that many patients experiencing IBS symptoms go to their primary care physician, who is typically less comfortable making an IBS diagnosis than a gastroenterologist.
"At Salix, there is no finish line in improving solutions for gastroenterology disorders," said Mark McKenna, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Salix Pharmaceuticals. "These important initiatives are a demonstration of our constant innovation to address the unmet needs of healthcare providers and patients."
Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd., a Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. company, is one of the largest gastrointestinal specialty pharmaceuticals companies in the world. Salix develops and markets prescription pharmaceutical products and medical devices for the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases and disorders. For more information on Salix Pharmaceuticals, visit www.salix.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements may generally be identified by the use of the words "anticipates," "expects," "intends," "plans," "should," "could," "would," "may," "will," "believes," "estimates," "potential," "target," or "continue" and variations or similar expressions. These statements are based upon the current expectations and beliefs and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any of these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. Valeant undertakes no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this press release or to reflect actual outcomes, unless required by law.
Karen Paff, (347) 920-0248
 International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
 The American Journal of Gastroenterology survey
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SOURCE Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd.