Ontario government adds new bipolar drug to benefits program

Mood Disorders Association of Ontario applauds support for mental health community

TORONTO, July 26 /CNW/ - The Mood Disorders Association of Ontario commends the Ontario government for taking an important step forward in improving access to treatment for people living with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders by including ZELDOX (ziprasidone hydrochloride) on the list of medications covered by the Ontario Drug Benefit Program.

"It is vital for patients and physicians to have a variety of treatment options for illnesses, especially mental illness," said Karen Liberman, Executive Director of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario. "Medications work differently for every person and in order to maximize a person's quality of life they must be able to access the medication that works best for them."

Access to different medications, treatment and community support is essential to a person's management or recovery from mental illness, explained Dr. Roger McIntyre, Head, Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit, University Health Network and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Toronto. "One of the greatest challenges in coping with a mental illness is appropriate diagnosis and then access to appropriate treatment, including medication that meets the specific needs of the patient," said McIntyre.

Providing patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorders access to a variety of medications is vital as some newer medications may have fewer side effects and may allow people to stay on the medications longer.

Funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ministry of Community and Social Services, the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) Program covers most of the cost of prescription drug products listed in the provincial formulary. The following groups are eligible for community-based, outpatient drug coverage through the ODB program: people 65 years of age and older; people on social assistance (Ontario Disability Support Program and/or Ontario Works); residents of homes for special care and long-term care homes; people receiving professional home care services; and registrants in the Trillium Drug Program.

About the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario

The mission of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario (MDAO) is to provide support to individuals and families affected by mood disorders to help them recover and heal. Informed by the lived experience, MDAO serves Ontario communities through providing awareness, education and training, family and youth clinical support, recovery programs, and peer support.

About ZELDOX

Researched and developed by Pfizer, ZELDOX was approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders in Canada in 2008 and in 2009 for the treatment of acute manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar disorder. ZELDOX has been approved in 89 other countries worldwide and is marketed under the brand name GEODON in some countries, including the United States.

SOURCE MOOD DISORDERS ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO

For further information: For further information: Donna Turner, Manager of Marketing and Communications, 416.486.8046 ext 232, donnat@mooddisorders.on.ca

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MOOD DISORDERS ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO

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