MORRISTOWN, N.J., Dec. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE: WPI) today announced a new program encouraging health professionals to help maintain the bone health of prostate cancer patients who are on long-term androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Nearly two million men are receiving ADT, a palliative treatment for prostate cancer that, while highly effective and considered the "gold therapy," can cause bone loss and increase a man's risk for osteoporosis.
As part of the program, Watson is providing urologists, oncologists and other health professionals with free 30-day supplies of calcium and vitamin D supplements along with educational patient brochures on how to help maintain bone health in men with prostate cancer on ADT.
Each supplement tablet contains 600 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D, and when taken twice daily, can help prostate cancer patients meet the daily amounts recommended by the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) for adult men 50 years of age or older.
"The bone health side effects of long-term ADT are a serious issue, yet few cancer patients are being informed about this risk or about the lifestyle changes and drug therapy that can help prevent bone loss," said Neal Shore, MD, FACS, CPI, Medical Director at the Carolina Urologic Research Center. "Because men with prostate cancer are more often receiving their care from a urologist or oncologist, it is important that specialists are educating their male patients about bone health rather than assuming it is the responsibility of the general practitioner."
Androgen deprivation therapy - the use of synthetic luteinizing hormone releasing hormone analogs (LHRH) therapy - is an effective and commonly used long-term therapeutic option for treating localized and advanced prostate cancer. LHRH therapy slows the growth of prostate cancer by suppressing the production of testosterone in the testicles. Over time, this decreased level of testosterone can, however, cause bone loss. Men, on average, lose about 0.5 percent to 1 percent of their bone mineral density every year. That loss can increase to about 4 percent to 13 percent per year in men on long-term ADT.
Given the risk of bone loss with ADT therapy, NCCN recommends that men with prostate cancer discuss the risk with their oncologist and personal physician as well as undergo frequent monitoring for osteoporosis using the NOF's guidelines for the general population. The guidelines include recommendations for calcium supplements (1200 mg daily) and vitamin D (800-1,000 IU daily) for all men over age 50 years and additional treatment for men who have a greater than or equal to 3 percent likelihood of suffering a hip fracture or greater than or equal to 20 percent likelihood of suffering a major osteoporosis-related fracture within the next 10 years.
Along with getting the daily recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D, the NOF also recommends older men protect their bone health by exercising regularly (weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises), avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol, and talking to their doctor about a bone mineral density test. Prescription medication that helps protect against bone loss also might be an option for patients at high risk for fracture.
"Watson is committed to urologic health," said Fred Wilkinson, Executive Vice President, Global Brands at Watson. "Our new supplement program will help physicians encourage their prostate cancer patients who are on long-term androgen deprivation therapy to make a commitment to good bone health."
About Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a leading global specialty pharmaceutical company. The Company is engaged in the development and distribution of generic pharmaceuticals and specialized branded pharmaceutical products focused on Urology and Women's Health. Watson has operations in over 20 countries including many of the world's established and growing international markets.
In the U.S., the Watson portfolio includes RAPAFLO, GELNIQUE, Oxytrol®, TRELSTAR® LA and TRELSTAR® Depot, Ferrlecit®, and INFeD®. In addition, Watson markets the following brands under co-promotion agreements: AndroGel®, with Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Femring®, with Warner Chilcott Limited. The Watson pipeline portfolio includes a number of products, including a six-month formulation of TRELSTAR®, for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer which is currently under review by the FDA; URACYST®, under development for cystitis; and a novel new oral contraceptive.
For press release and other company information, visit Watson Pharmaceuticals' Web site at http://www.watson.com.
Statements contained in this press release that refer to Watson's estimated or anticipated future results or other non-historical facts are forward-looking statements that reflect Watson's current perspective of existing trends and information as of the date of this release. For instance, any statements in this press release concerning prospects related to Watson's strategic initiatives, product introductions and anticipated financial performance are forward-looking statements. It is important to note that Watson's goals and expectations are not predictions of actual performance. Watson's performance, at times, will differ from its goals and expectations. Actual results may differ materially from Watson's current expectations depending upon a number of factors affecting Watson's business. These factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainty associated with financial projections; successful integration of the Arrow acquisition and the ability to recognize the anticipated synergies and benefits of the Arrow acquisition; the impact of competitive products and pricing; the difficulty of predicting the timing or outcome of litigation; variability of revenue mix between the Company's Brand, Generic and Distribution business units; periodic dependence on a small number of products for a material source of net revenue or income; variability of trade buying patterns; changes in generally accepted accounting principles; risks that the carrying values of assets may be negatively impacted by future events and circumstances; timely and successful consummation and implementation of strategic initiatives; the timing and success of product launches; the difficulty of predicting the timing or outcome of product development efforts and FDA or other regulatory agency approvals or actions; the uncertainty associated with the identification and successful consummation of external business development transactions; market acceptance of and continued demand for Watson's products; costs and efforts to defend or enforce intellectual property rights; difficulties or delays in manufacturing; the availability and pricing of third party sourced products and materials; successful compliance with FDA and other governmental regulations applicable to Watson's and its third party manufacturers' facilities, products and/or businesses; uncertainties related to the timing and outcome of litigation and other claims; changes in the laws and regulations, including Medicare and Medicaid, affecting among other things, pricing and reimbursement of pharmaceutical products; and such other risks and uncertainties detailed in Watson's periodic public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to Watson's quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2009. Except as expressly required by law, Watson disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
SOURCE Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Patty Eisenhaur, Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., +1-973-355-8141; Lori Shachtman, Ogilvy Public Relations, +1-847-975-2330