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BETHESDA, Md., Feb. 6, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sucampo AG ("SAG"), a wholly owned subsidiary of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:SCMP) ("Sucampo"), headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, announced today that all physicians in Switzerland are now able to prescribe AMITIZA
® (lubiprostone) for chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC), as a result of the revision of the reimbursement limitations by the Bundesamt für Gesundheit (BAG), effective February 1, 2014.
In September 2013, SAG requested that the BAG revise several limitations with which AMITIZA was first approved for reimbursement and inclusion in the specialty list (SL), to make it easier to prescribe AMITIZA to patients who have failed previous treatments with at least two laxatives over a nine month period. The SL limitations that were revised are:
All Swiss physicians, not just gastroenterologists, are now allowed to prescribe AMITIZA;
The change in the maximum treatment duration of AMITIZA increased from 12 to 52 weeks before a review is needed by a health insurance health care practitioner; and
The BAG removed from AMITIZA's SL a group limitation pertaining to the number of AMITIZA packs that physicians can prescribe at one time.
CIC has been estimated to occur in about 1 million people in Switzerland.
1 A study was conducted in ten European countries, including Switzerland, and 28% of the participants suffering from constipation for at least 6 months were dissatisfied with their current treatment options using laxatives.
2 Safety-related and adverse-effect concerns were also among the reasons reported for dissatisfaction in this study.
2 As a result, 83% of these patients are interested in seeking alternative methods to relieve their constipation.
2 Additionally, patients in this study reported they want relief from all of their symptoms and to feel normal.
AMITIZA is the world's first chloride channel activator that increases intestinal fluid secretion and softens stool, which facilitates the passage of stool and alleviates symptoms associated with CIC.
3 AMITIZA has been prescribed globally 8 million times since 2006.
"Chronic idiopathic constipation is very common and difficult to treat, with many patients dissatisfied with their current treatment. Constipation greatly affects the quality of life of those who suffer from it, and it is in their best interests to quickly obtain effective therapy," said Dr. Helene D. Schaufelberger Uhr, specialized physician in gastroenterology (FMH) in Lugano, Switzerland. "Expanding the prescribing physicians to include all physicians makes it possible for these physicians to prescribe a drug that has been demonstrated to be effective and to normalize bowel function without having to wait for a specialist consultation."