Ironwood airs TV ad for its irritable bowel syndrome (with constipation) drug

Photo courtesy of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals.
Photo courtesy of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals.

It’s a delicate marketing challenge, to put it mildly --- raising awareness about a drug designed to treat adults with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, (IBS-C), or chronic idiopathic constipation.

But Ironwood Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Cambridge and partner Forest Laboratories Inc. said in a Thursday press release that they have begun a new direct-to-consumer campaign, that includes a TV ad, that seeks to raise awareness about IBS-C and the drug Linzess.

The TV ad debuted during Wednesday night’s episode of the ABC show “Modern Family,” Ironwood said. Plans call for the ad to air in many of top 10 prime-time shows including “NCIS” and “The Voice.” A print ad is running in “People” magazine and will also be seen in “Better Homes & Gardens” and “Cooking Light,” the company said. The ad agency creating the ad is FCB Health.

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The campaign aims to help adults suffering from IBS-C or CIC recognize the symptoms of these disorders, describe their symptoms to their doctor, and ask their doctor about LINZESS to help proactively manage their disease.

“Millions of adults suffer from IBS-C or CIC, but many have not been diagnosed,” Ironwood’s chief commercial officer Tom McCourt said in a statement. “They may not realize that long-lasting or recurrent symptoms such as infrequent or difficult-to-pass stools, not completely emptying the bowels, and – in IBS-C – belly pain, could indicate the presence of a medical condition and warrant discussion with a doctor.”

A Globe story from August 2012 noted that because an estimated 30 million to 40 million Americans suffer from IBS, Linzess has the potential to be a blockbuster drug.

Linzess became available on the US market in December 2012. In January of this year, Ironwood said that Linzess had net product sales of $138 million since its US market launch as more than 200,000 unique adult patients had a Linzess prescription filled.