Talking to your doctor

    Bringing a more honest relationship with your doctor to life

    Not everyone is the same, and the symptoms of ulcerative colitis (UC) can range in severity from person to person. The important symptoms are the ones that affect you. That is why we have developed this interactive, customized conversation starter. You can choose the topics that are important to you, and bring the questions to your appointments.

    Embarrassing symptoms

    If your symptoms return and you are feeling embarrassed about having to go to the bathroom all the time, tell your doctor just that—you are embarrassed. It will alert your doctor to be sensitive to your feelings about your symptoms, without ignoring or minimizing them.

    The same goes for rectal bleeding. Of course, this may be a symptom you are used to dealing with because of your UC. But it is an important part of your condition that your doctor needs to know about. In fact, your doctor may have just what you need to reduce or stop the bleeding.

    Do not be afraid to talk about diarrhea. Even though society doles out bathroom humor in large doses, diarrhea is no laughing matter. It is a serious and often debilitating symptom of ulcerative colitis, and your doctor sees no reason for embarrassment about it. Even if you have gotten really good at handling your flare-ups and accepting your condition, your doctor will only know its full impact if you tell him or her about it.

    The same goes for symptoms like cramping or gas. If you are experiencing these symptoms, your doctor may be able to help you find a solution. Tell him or her about it. It is the only way your doctor can help.

    Diet and exercise

    Living with UC, you know more about how your body reacts to what you do or eat. Keeping a daily log of meals and exercise might help reassure you and your doctor, as will asking your doctor questions like the following:

    • Will certain foods or drinks make my symptoms worse?
    • Are there certain foods or drinks that I should try to include in my diet?
    • Are there activities or exercises that will relieve or reduce my symptoms?

    Stress

    Although stress may not cause UC, anxiety over having the condition may worsen symptoms. In one survey, 82% of patients with UC said their condition made life more stressful. See how your doctor can help. Ask:

    • How does stress affect my UC?
    • What can I do to reduce my stress about having flare-ups?
    • How can I feel less stressed about my condition and more in control?

    Intimacy

    Your doctor knows your symptoms and will not be surprised about any question you ask, including the following:

    • Am I taking any medications that could affect my sex drive?
    • When should I tell a person I am in a relationship with about my condition?
    • Are there resources available to help me deal with relationship problems I am experiencing because of UC?

    Your doctor has heard it all before. Do not feel embarrassed to ask questions like the following:

    • Do you have any suggestions for how to talk to my partner about my UC and how it affects our relationship?
    • Can you refer me to a therapist or a support group that may be able to help me with this issue?

    For whatever reason, if you are too uncomfortable to bring these kinds of things up with your gastroenterologist, it is important to find a doctor you can talk to about it. You might want to try your primary care physician or gynecologist.

    Depression

    If you are feeling depressed about your UC, your doctor can find resources to help you feel good about yourself again. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor point-blank:

    • Are there signs of depression I should watch out for?
    • Can you refer me to a counselor who has worked with other UC patients?

    Long-term concerns

    It is normal to wonder what your condition could mean for your overall health in the long term. Reassure yourself by asking your doctor:

    • Should I be worried about taking so much medication for too long?
    • When should I schedule my next appointment?
    • How often should I see a doctor?
    • What types of screenings or tests should I have done to ensure I stay healthy?

    Remember, taking UC medications such as once-daily APRISO and working with your doctor might help you maintain UC remission for up to 6 months.

    * 
    • This APRISO Instant Savings Card is only valid for patients 18 years of age or older with commercial insurance, including commercially insured patients without coverage for APRISO. Patients without commercial insurance are not eligible. This offer is not valid for any person eligible for reimbursement of prescriptions, in whole or in part, by any federal, state, or other governmental programs, including, but not limited to, Medicare (including Medicare Advantage and Part A, B, and D plans), Medicaid, TRICARE, Veterans Administration or Department of Defense health coverage, CHAMPUS, or the Puerto Rico Government Health Insurance Plan. Eligible insured patients with coverage for APRISO pay a $0 co-pay for their initial prescription, and eligible insured patients without coverage for APRISO pay a $0 out-of-pocket expense. Salix Pharmaceuticals will pay the remaining co-pay/out-of-pocket expense up to the maximum amount of $110 for the first fill. For each subsequent use, the patient pays the initial $10, with a maximum benefit of $100. Maximum benefits apply. Maximum benefits are as follows: initial prescription/$110, for 1 use total for a calendar year, and for each subsequent prescription/$100, for 1 use per month for a calendar year. Salix Pharmaceuticals reserves the right to rescind, revoke, or amend this offer at any time without notice.

    INDICATION

    APRISO® (mesalamine) extended-release capsules are indicated for the maintenance of remission of ulcerative colitis in patients 18 years of age and older.

    IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION—APRISO extended-release capsules

    • You should not take APRISO extended-release capsules if you experience an allergic reaction to salicylates or aminosalicylates, or to any of the components of APRISO capsules.

    • Kidney impairment has been reported in patients given products like APRISO (contain mesalamine or are converted to mesalamine). It is recommended that you have an evaluation of kidney function prior to treatment with APRISO therapy and periodically while on therapy. Talk to your doctor if you have any kidney problems before taking APRISO.

    • Mesalamine has been associated with an acute intolerance syndrome that may be difficult to distinguish from a flare of your ulcerative colitis. Symptoms include cramping, acute abdominal (stomach) pain and bloody diarrhea, sometimes fever, headache, and rash. Talk to your doctor if you experience a worsening of these problems after you start treatment.

    • If you have liver disease, talk to your doctor before taking APRISO. There have been reports of liver failure in patients with liver disease who have taken mesalamine.

    • In the clinical studies, the most common side effects occurring in at least 3% of patients taking APRISO were headache, diarrhea, upper abdominal (stomach) pain, nausea, nasopharyngitis (inflammation of the nasal passages), flu and flu-like illness, and inflammation of the sinuses.

    • You should not take APRISO while taking antacids because the dissolving of APRISO granules depends on the acidity in your stomach.

    • If you are 65 years old or older, talk to your doctor before taking APRISO. Blood cell count must be monitored closely if you are 65 or older and on mesalamine therapy.

    • If you have phenylketonuria (PKU), please be aware that each APRISO capsule contains aspartame equivalent to 0.56 mg of phenylalanine, so that the recommended adult dosing provides an equivalent of 2.24 mg of phenylalanine per day.


    You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch/ or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


    For product information, adverse event reports, and product complaint reports, please contact:
    Salix Product Information Call Center
    Phone: 1-800-508-0024
    Fax: 1-510-595-8183
    Email: salixmc@dlss.com

    Please click here for full Prescribing Information for APRISO extended-release capsules.