What your stuffy nose really means

Léger Marketing survey shows that 91% of Canadians do not recognize all the major sinusitis symptoms: Nearly 25% confuse sinusitis with H1N1 symptoms

KIRKLAND, QC, Dec. 16 /CNW/ - It's winter, that great Canadian season of snow, ice, grey skies...and colds and the flu. In a year when H1N1 is high on everyone's radar, it is more important than ever for Canadians to know what their symptoms mean and when they should see their doctor.

A new survey conducted by Léger Marketing shows that the majority of Canadians don't know how to tell the difference between the symptoms of sinusitis, the common cold and the flu, including H1N1.(i) In particular, the distinguishing symptoms of sinusitis tend to go unnoticed because its other symptoms mirror that of the common cold and flu. Unlike the common cold or flu, sinusitis sufferers experience facial pain and congestion, headache and tooth pain as well as a fever, nasal congestion and a stuffy nose.(ii) Symptoms of sinusitis can last from several days to as long as four weeks.(iii) If your symptoms persist after seven days, it's time to visit your doctor.(iv)

"I find a great deal of confusion among my patients when it comes to symptoms of seasonal illnesses like the flu, the common cold and sinusitis. It's important to be able to distinguish between them so as not to delay appropriate treatment," says Dr. Amin Javer, Director, St. Paul Sinus Centre, Vancouver. "I am also concerned that many patients ask for an antibiotic when they might need a nasal corticosteroid. Patients might be surprised to learn that most seasonal illnesses are viral and should therefore not be treated with an antibiotic. There are other treatment options, such as NASONEX(R), the one prescription nasal spray approved by Health Canada for the treatment of sinusitis."

This year sinusitis will affect more than four million Canadians,(v) the flu will affect more than six million Canadians(vi) and on average adult Canadians will have two to four colds.(vii) To get better as quickly as possible, identify your symptoms and know when to visit your doctor.

Guidelines on when to see a doctor

    
    -   Cold symptoms, including sneezing and a runny nose, can be treated at
        home by rest, relaxation and chicken soup. It is not necessary to see
        a doctor.
    -   Flu symptoms, including fever, muscle aches and chills, should be
        monitored and if persists more than five days, it's time for a visit
        to the doctor.
    -   Sinusitis symptoms, including nasal congestion, facial pain and
        congestion, fever and headache, should be treated by a physician.
        There is only one Health Canada approved nasal corticosteroid for the
        treatment of sinusitis.(viii) It works by reducing the inflammation,
        allowing the sinus congestion to drain and thus relieving the
        associated pain, the vast majority of the time, without the use of an
        antibiotic.(ix)
    

Léger Marketing data shows that the majority of Canadians surveyed are unsure of the appropriate treatment for sinusitis and nearly four-in-ten of them mistakenly believe sinusitis should be treated using antibiotics.(X) Sixty-five per cent of the time, a prescription for an antibiotic is unnecessarily given to a sinusitis sufferer,(xi) often due to a patient requesting it.

Highlights of the Léger Marketing survey findings

    
    -   Forty-six per cent of Canadians surveyed feel they should go to their
        doctor to be treated for their cold and flu symptoms, when in fact
        they just should stay home and rest.(xii)
    -   Of everyone surveyed, those over the age of 45 are twice as likely to
        visit the doctor when experiencing cold and flu symptoms than those
        between the ages of 25 to 44.(xiii)
    -   The majority of Canadians surveyed (73 per cent) try and avoid taking
        antibiotics,(xiv) however many (37 per cent) think it's what is
        needed to treat their symptoms.(xv) More than half are unaware of
        more appropriate courses of treatment.(xvi)
    -   Women are more likely than men to try home remedies to feel better
        faster, while men are more likely to say they would do nothing.(xvii)
    

About NASONEX

NASONEX is a nasally-inhaled corticosteroid, a hormone produced naturally by the body.(11) It is the first and only prescription nasal spray approved by Health Canada for the treatment of sinusitis. In November 2008, NASONEX received a new approval as monotherapy for the treatment of symptoms associated with mild to moderate uncomplicated acute sinusitis where signs or symptoms of infection are not present. NASONEX works by reducing inflammation of the sinus cavities, relieving bothersome symptoms such as nasal congestion, facial pain and headache. In addition to providing relief for sufferers of acute sinusitis, NASONEX is scent-free and alcohol-free.(xviii) It also contains glycerol, a soothing emollient or moisturizer.

With over nine million patient years of experience, NASONEX is the number one prescribed nasal steroid in Canada.(13) NASONEX has the widest range of approved uses of all prescription nasal sprays, and is also approved by Health Canada for the treatment of allergic rhinitis in adults, adolescents, and children (seasonal and perennial nasal allergies), acute sinusitis as an adjunctive treatment to antibiotics, and nasal polyps, making it the nasal corticosteroid with the broadest spectrum of indications in the Canadian market.

About Merck

Today's Merck* is working to help the world be well. Through our medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer and animal products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching programs that donate and deliver our products to the people who need them. Merck. Be well. For more information, visit www.merck.com.

Merck is one of Canada's leading healthcare companies. With local operations headquartered in Quebec, Merck operates both research and manufacturing facilities in Canada, as well as major consumer healthcare, animal healthcare and pharmaceutical businesses. For more information about our operations in Canada visit www.merckfrosst.com or www.schering-plough.ca.

    
    * Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. and Schering-Plough Canada Inc. are now
        operating together as Merck.
    

Forward Looking Statement

The following factors, among others, could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in the forward-looking statements: the possibility that the expected synergies from the merger of Merck and Schering-Plough will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period, due to, among other things, the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and pending legislation that could affect the pharmaceutical industry; the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully; disruption from the merger making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; Merck's ability to accurately predict future market conditions; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck's patents and other protections for innovative products; the risk of new and changing regulation and health policies in the U.S. and internationally and the exposure to litigation and/or regulatory actions. Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck's 2008 Annual Report on Form 10-K, Schering-Plough's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended June 30, 2009, the proxy statement filed by Merck on June 25, 2009 and each company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC's Internet site (www.sec.gov).

    
    (R) Schering-Plough Canada Inc.

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    (i)       NASONEX Report. 2009 Léger Marketing Survey - Consumer Poll.
              Slide 4

    (ii)      "Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Comparison Chart", The
              Asthma Society of Canada, accessed on November 24, 2009.
              Available at:
              http://www.asthma.ca/adults/about/pdf/Sinusitis_Rhinitis_Comparison_Chart.pdf

    (iii)     Meltzer, E. Bachert, C. and Staudinger, H. "Treating acute
              rhinosinusitis: comparing efficacy and safety of mometasone
              furoate nasal spray, amoxicillin, and placebo" (July 2005):
              Pg. 1289

    (iv)      Meltzer, E. Bachert, C. and Staudinger, H. "Treating acute
              rhinosinusitis: comparing efficacy and safety of mometasone
              furoate nasal spray, amoxicillin, and placebo" (July 2005):
              Pg. 1289

    (v)       For calculation of 4.6M, see "Summary Health Statistics for
              U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Study" (December 2007):
              Pg 5, and "Canada's population estimates", Statistics Canada,
              accessed on November 24, 2009 Available at:
              http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/080625/dq080625b-eng.htm

    (vi)      For calculation of 6.6M, see "Summary Health Statistics for
              U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Study" (December 2007):
              Pg 5, and "Flu Backgrounder: Prevention and Treatment"
              University of British Columbia, accessed on November 30, 2009.
              Available at:
              http://www.hse.ubc.ca/__shared/assets/FLU_backgrounder5345.pdf

    (vii)     "Colds" University of Saskatchewan, accessed on November 27,
              2009. Available at:
              http://students.usask.ca/wellness/info/physical/colds/
    (viii)    Product Monograph: NASONEX (mometasone furoate monohydrate
              aqueous nasal spray) Page 18

    (ix)      Product Monograph: NASONEX (mometasone furoate monohydrate
              aqueous nasal spray) Page 18

    (X)       NASONEX Report. 2009 Léger Marketing Survey - Consumer Poll.
              Slide 8

    (xi)      For calculation of 65 percent, see IMS CDTI (December 2008)
              MAT: pg 0821.

    (xii)     NASONEX Report. 2009 Léger Marketing Survey - Consumer Poll.
              Slide 6

    (xiii)    NASONEX Report. 2009 Léger Marketing Survey - Consumer Poll.
              Slide 6

    (xiv)     NASONEX Report. 2009 Léger Marketing Survey - Consumer Poll.
              Slide 10

    (xv)      NASONEX Report. 2009 Léger Marketing Survey - Consumer Poll.
              Slide 8

    (xvi)     NASONEX Report. 2009 Léger Marketing Survey - Consumer Poll.
              Slide 8

    (xvii)    NASONEX Report. 2009 Léger Marketing Survey - Consumer Poll.
              Slide 6

    (xviii)   Product Monograph: NASONEX (mometasone furoate monohydrate
              aqueous nasal spray) Page 11
    

SOURCE Merck

For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: Mona Aubin, Merck, (514) 428-8833, mona.aubin@spcorp.com; Lauren Bondar, Fleishman-Hillard Canada, (416) 645-8190, lauren.bondar@fleishman.ca


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