"OPEN ARMS: RAISING AWARENESS OF UPPER LIMB SPASTICITY" EDUCATIONAL CAMPAIGN
MAY 25, 2010 (IRVINE, Calif.) - To address the low awareness and under-diagnosis of upper limb spasticity, Allergan, Inc., maker of BOTOX(r) (onabotulinumtoxinA), has joined forces with Henry Winkler and a coalition of five national patient advocacy organizations, including National Stroke Association, Brain Injury Association of America, National Spinal Cord Injury Association, United Cerebral Palsy and United Spinal Association, to launch the "Open Arms: Raising Awareness of Upper Limb Spasticity" educational campaign. Spasticity is a debilitating condition impacting approximately 1 million Americans, many of whom suffer from spasticity in the upper limbs following a stroke.1 However, upper limb spasticity may also occur following a spinal cord or traumatic brain injury or in patients affected by multiple sclerosis or adults with a history of cerebral palsy.
The "Open Arms: Raising Awareness of Upper Limb Spasticity" educational campaign aims to reach those who are impacted by upper limb spasticity and don't know where to turn for help. At www.OpenArmsCampaign.com, those affected by upper limb spasticity will learn how to recognize the condition and find resources to help locate a neurologist or physiatrist that is trained to manage and treat the condition. Throughout the year, several educational seminars will be hosted in cities across the country, as well as on the Internet.
Tightness or stiffness in the upper limb significantly hinders a person's ability to perform everyday activities, like getting dressed, hygiene and eating. A person dealing with upper limb spasticity may present with a clenched hand in a tight, balled up fist, an arm that is pinned tightly against the chest or a flexed elbow or wrist that cannot be straightened without discomfort and force. Unfortunately, the condition often goes undiagnosed because it may onset weeks, months or even years after the original injury - after the patient is discharged from the hospital and is no longer seeing a specialist familiar with and specifically trained to treat the condition.
Legendary "Happy Days" star Henry Winkler, is personally familiar with the impact that upper limb spasticity can have on a person. His late mother struggled with the condition, without treatment, for 10 years following a stroke before she passed away.
"My mother was a proud woman, a busy bee, always on the go. So, it was very difficult for me to watch her revert inward as she was less and less able to do things for herself. She became fully dependent on her family and live-in nurses to help her with simple, ordinary tasks we all take for granted," Mr. Winkler recalls. "Much less was known about upper limb spasticity during her time, and now, not only do we know more about how to manage this condition, there are treatment options available. Whether you are just starting to experience what you think could be upper limb spasticity, or you've been living silently with it for years, the message is that there are treatment options and you should talk to a doctor."
To help with the management of upper limb spasticity, the FDA recently approved BOTOX(r) (onabotulinumtoxinA) as the first and only botulinum toxin for the treatment of increased muscle stiffness in the elbow, wrist and finger muscles in adults with upper limb spasticity. While not a cure for upper limb spasticity, BOTOX(r) may allow people living with upper limb spasticity to once again be able to open the affected hand or arm, which may allow the person to regain some independence.
"It's critical for someone who suspects they may be experiencing upper limb spasticity to seek consultation from a physician specifically trained to treat upper limb spasticity. Often, even if the person has been suffering with the condition for years, there are ways we can help manage their condition effectively so the person can have a little bit easier time with daily activities," says Allison Brashear, M.D., a clinical neurologist at Wake ...