Allergan and Ironwood want to help people talk about their guts with their doctors—specifically, their possible IBS symptoms. The two pharma partners recently relaunched AboutYourGut.com with a symptom-focused mission aimed at empowering patients.
The two companies comarket Linzess, which is approved to treat irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) and chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC), while Ironwood details Allergan’s Viberzi, which is approved for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D), in the U.S.
Visitors to the revamped site can get general information about the differing conditions and follow two different paths of symptoms to learn more—one that focuses on IBS-D, the other on IBS-C and CIC. Each set of information contains a new downloadable symptom tracker that patients can use and take to their doctors.
“It’s really common for IBS sufferers to suffer without talking about it or realizing they can actually go and get help. With the downloadable symptoms lists and other information, we’re hopeful it will empower patients who are seeking an optimistic, balanced point of view,” Machelle Manuel, vice president and head of global medical scientific affairs at Ironwood, said.
Also on the refreshed site is the portfolio of artwork generated by the "Picture My IBS" contest that the two drugmakers, along with the American College of Gastroenterology, ran last year. While the winning artwork has been displayed at events before, this is the first time the work by patients is being shown digitally.
Next to each art piece in the clickable carousel of 10 works are different patient artist stories outlining they’ve depicted their IBS in their art. Alongside a piece called "Trapped," a wildly colorful painting of butterflies, reads: “Alison is a carefree, social butterfly who tries to live a colorful, and vibrant life regardless of the impact IBS has on her—she tries to remain spontaneous, and spread her wings. Following her diagnosis, Alison is determined to not let her freedom flutter away.”
Manuel said that featuring the more emotionally driven artwork from IBS patients along with the fact- and data-based website was intentional.
“Using these visuals, we envisioned another way to break down barriers for patients to think they could express themselves in a different way. Because it can be a very uncomfortable conversation to have with a healthcare provider,” she said. “It’s also designed to help sufferers connect. By reading the stories of other people, it gives them hope that they’re not alone as well as seeing a different way of expressing how symptoms affect people.”