Global pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo has introduced their “Get Iron Informed” campaign to improve awareness of the link between iron deficiency anemia and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation – who partnered with Daiichi Sankyo on the disease awareness campaign – 1.6 million people in the US are affected by IBD, which often causes symptoms including abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
“So many IBD patients are living with [iron deficiency anemia] without even knowing it. And for those who do know, there are limited tools and resources for them to find out more about their disease,” said Michael Osso, President and CEO of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. “To help address this gap in resources, we’ve collaborated with Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. and Dr. Jason Hou to develop a campaign that empowers people living with IBD to learn about [iron deficiency anemia] and talk with their doctors about their iron levels.”
Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common forms of anemia in which a lack of iron leads to insufficient production of red blood cells. An estimated five million adults in the US are thought to suffer from iron deficiency anemia, however the condition is more common among individuals diagnosed with IBD.
Up to 76 percent of people with IBD also have iron deficiency anemia, due in part to ulcerations in the gastrointestinal tract that lead to blood loss. Intestinal inflammation characteristic of IBD also impedes the body’s ability to absorb iron from food, further contributing to the development of iron deficiency anemia.
At the core of Daiichi Sankyo’s disease awareness campaign for IBD and iron deficiency anemia is the website GetIronInformed.com, which provides patients with health resources including advice on how they can discuss their iron levels with their doctor. One of the videos on the site features a text message-style conversation between a person and their body in which “My Body” suggests that iron deficiency anemia could be to blame for the IBD patient’s tiredness, headaches and dizziness. The video ends by telling the viewer, “When the body talks, listen.”
“It’s important that people with IBD listen to their bodies and talk to their doctors if they notice any signs or symptoms of [iron deficiency anemia],” said Dr. Jason Hou, Gastroenterologist at Baylor College of Medicine. “I always encourage my patients to speak up when they feel symptoms, so that we can work together to manage their health and develop a plan that best suits their individual needs.”
While not directly promoting any treatment, Daiichi Sankyo’s Get Iron Informed campaign for iron deficiency anemia and IBD could serve to boost the company’s two injectable iron replacement products Venofer and Injectafer. Both products are used to treat iron deficiency anemia in patients with chronic kidney disease, while Injectafer is specifically indicated for patients who are intolerant or unresponsive to oral iron supplements.
“Iron is an essential mineral that helps to keep you in good health – without it, your body is not able to produce red blood cells and transport oxygen,” said Dr. Linda Mundy, Chief Medical Officer at Luitpold Pharmaceuticals, a member of the Daiichi Sankyo Group. “Our goal is to provide people living with IBD access to information about [iron deficiency anemia]. Through our partnership with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, we are proud to develop new content that reinforces our commitment to enhancements in patient-physician dialogue.”