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Celebrity Chef Sandra Lee Offers Recipes and Shortcuts in the Kitchen to People with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Lee Joins Bristol-Myers Squibb and Arthritis Foundation to Launch the 'I Can with RA in the Kitchen™' Campaign
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Life and Style Expert Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade approach to cooking, which involves using 70 percent store-bought items and 30 percent homemade items in every meal, makes life easier for millions of busy Americans. Unknown to most, Lee's signature style was strongly influenced by her grandmother, who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic, progressive disease of the immune system that causes joint damage as well as chronic pain, stiffness, swelling and fatigue.

"RA made cooking difficult for my grandma, and I recently met with people who also experience the same challenges because of their RA," said Lee, who is working with Bristol-Myers Squibb, makers of the RA treatment ORENCIA® (abatacept), and the Arthritis Foundation, to launch the I Can with RA in the Kitchen campaign. "In fact, in a recent Roper telephone survey of 128 people with moderate-to-severe RA who were not responding well enough to their current medication,(2) nearly 60 percent of those who cook or help cook said they find it difficult to do so.(2) My grandma developed shortcuts and other ways to continue cooking, and her resourcefulness inspired me to offer recipes and tips that may help people with RA who find it difficult to do things like prepare meals for their families or to host a small dinner party with friends," continued Lee.

ORENCIA is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with moderate-to- severe RA who have not been helped enough by other medications for RA.

Lee's RA-friendly kitchen organization ideas and cooking tips are available at http://www.icanwithra.com/. The Web site also includes a broad range of recipes -- from 20-minute meals to healthy feasts -- and a self-assessment tool to help patients track how RA is affecting their ability to perform everyday activities. This tool can also be used to help guide conversations between patients and their rheumatologists to determine an optimal treatment plan. The recipes and self-assessment tool on http://www.icanwithra.com/ are printable and free-of-charge.

"RA can severely impact a person's health-related quality of life. In addition to preparing meals, patients living with RA may have trouble doing everyday activities like washing their hair, getting dressed or committing to social functions, even if they are being treated for the disease," said Nurse Practitioner Patricia Daul, RN, CCRC, Executive Director of Clinical Services, Buffalo Infusion Center.(3) "Often, patients with RA who may not be satisfied with their current treatment plan think they need to live with the physical and emotional effects of the disease, but that's not always the case.(3) Their treatment may not be working well enough for them, and they may want to speak to their healthcare professional about other treatment options."

Additional results from the survey showed that 60 percent of this group of respondents say that they still experience pain, swelling and stiffness daily,(2) and 66 percent say that the physical and non-physical symptoms of RA limit their ability to perform daily activities from a fair amount to a great deal.(2) Cooking-related tasks such as opening jars and gripping things also prove difficult, and 56 percent of respondents say their RA symptoms have taken some, most or all of the joy out of cooking.(2)

"One of our goals is to help make cooking easier for people with RA, to help them do the things they need and want to do in the kitchen and participate in life's little celebrations," Lee said. "Even if they have RA, we want to inspire them to say, 'I can with RA.'"

About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic, chronic, autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation in the lining of joints (or synovium), causing joint damage with chronic pain, stiffness, and swelling.(1) RA causes limited range of motion and decreased function as a result of affected joints losing their shape and alignment.(3)

RA affects about 1 percent of the world's population,(4) including more than two million adults in the United States.(1) In this population, ORENCIA® (abatacept) is indicated to treat adults with moderately to severely active RA who have had an inadequate response to one or more DMARDs.(5) The condition is more common in women than in men, who account for 75 percent of patients diagnosed with RA.(1)

About the Survey

The survey is based on 340 telephone interviews conducted among Americans living with rheumatoid arthritis who were 18 years of age and older. Of this group, 128 interviews were completed with people who have rheumatoid arthritis and who have experienced an inadequate response to some biologic and non-biologic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).(2) The results reflected in this release represent this patient population of 128 people. All interviews were conducted in March, April and May 2007.(2) GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media, part of GfK Custom Research North America, conducted the survey on behalf of Bristol-Myers Squibb.

About ORENCIA® (abatacept)

ORENCIA is a prescription medicine that is used to treat adults with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who have not been helped enough by other medicines for RA. A doctor may consider treatment with ORENCIA because the patient's disease is still active even though they may have tried other treatments. ORENCIA can be used alone or with other agents. ORENCIA should not be taken with biologic medications for RA such as Enbrel®, Humira®, Remicade®, or Kineret®.

Dosing and Administration

ORENCIA is administered by a healthcare professional as a 30-minute intravenous infusion at a fixed dose based on body weight range approximating 10 mg/kg at day 0, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and every 4 weeks thereafter. Acute infusion-related reactions were experienced in nine percent of people treated with ORENCIA and in six percent of people treated with placebo. According to the full prescribing information, the most frequently reported infusion- related adverse events (1 percent to 2 percent) were dizziness, headache, and hypertension. In pivotal studies, premedications were not required. However, appropriate medical support measures for the treatment of hypersensitivity reactions should be available for immediate use in the event of a reaction.

Important Safety Information about ORENCIA® (abatacept)

Before receiving treatment with ORENCIA individuals should tell their doctor if they are taking a TNF blocker (e.g., Enbrel®, Humira®, Remicade®) to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). ORENCIA should not be taken with these medications because of a higher chance of getting a serious infection. Individuals should also tell their doctor if they are taking other biologic rheumatoid arthritis medicines, such as Kineret®. ORENCIA should not be taken with other biologic medicines for RA. People taking ORENCIA should notify their doctor if they are taking any other medications including hormones, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, supplements, or herbal products.

Individuals should let their doctor know if they have any kind of infection including an infection that is in only one place of the body (such as an open cut or sore) or an infection that is in the whole body (such as the flu). Having an infection could increase the risk for serious side effects from ORENCIA. It is also important for individuals to let their doctor know if they have an infection that won't go away or a history of infections that keep coming back.

People who have had tuberculosis (TB), a positive skin test for TB, recent close contact with someone who has had TB or if they develop any of the symptoms of TB (a dry cough that doesn't go away, weight loss, fever, night sweats) should call their doctor right away. Before starting treatment with ORENCIA, a doctor may examine the patient for TB or perform a skin test. Individuals who have or have had viral hepatitis should tell their doctor. The doctor may want to examine them for hepatitis before use with ORENCIA.

In addition, patients should let their doctor know if they are scheduled to have surgery, any vaccination or have recently received a vaccination. People should inform their doctor if they have a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary (lung) disease (COPD). Taking ORENCIA may cause COPD symptoms to get worse.

Women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are thinking about becoming pregnant should tell their doctor. It is not known if ORENCIA can harm an unborn baby. Women who are breast feeding should also inform their doctor. They will need to decide to either breast-feed or receive treatment with ORENCIA, but not both.

People who have diabetes and use a blood glucose monitor to check their sugar levels should tell their doctor. The infusion of ORENCIA contains maltose, a sugar that can give falsely high blood glucose readings with some monitors on the day the infusion is received. The doctor may recommend a different monitor.

Important Information to Know About Side Effects With ORENCIA® (abatacept)

Like all medicines that affect your immune system, ORENCIA can cause serious side effects. The possible serious side effects include serious infections and allergic reactions. Also, rare cases of certain kinds of cancers have been reported.

People taking ORENCIA are at increased risk for developing infections including pneumonia, and other infections caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi. Individuals should call their doctor immediately if they feel sick or get any infection during treatment with ORENCIA.

Allergic reactions are usually mild or moderate, generally occur within the first 24 hours of an infusion, and include hives, swollen face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, or trouble breathing. There have been some serious allergic reactions reported in patients after receiving an infusion of ORENCIA.

There have been rare cases of certain kinds of cancer in patients receiving ORENCIA. The role of ORENCIA in the development of cancer is not known.

The more common side effects with ORENCIA are headache, upper respiratory tract infection, sore throat, and nausea.

For Full Prescribing Information, please visit http://www.orencia.com/ or http://www.bms.com/

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company is a global biopharmaceutical and related health care products company whose mission is to extend and enhance human life.
(1) American College of Rheumatology, Patient Education, Rheumatoid Arthritis. Available at http://www.rheumatology.org/public/factsheets/ra_new.asp?aud=pat2. Accessed May 2006.
(2) 2007 Bristol-Myers Squibb Rheumatoid Arthritis Study, Update 3. GFK Roper Public Affairs & Media. June 11, 2007.
(3) National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Rheumatoid Arthritis. May 2004.
(4) Lee DM and Weinblatt ME. Rheumatoid arthritis. Lancet. 2001;358:903-911.
(5) ORENCIA® (abatacept). Prescribing Information. Bristol-Myers Squibb. Princeton, NJ 08543. March 2007.