SOURCE: ViroPharma Incorporated

ViroPharma Incorporated

September 15, 2011 10:05 ET

ViroPharma Expands Its Innovative "HAE and Me" Online Community With Education and Support to Meet Unique Needs of Hereditary Angioedema Caregivers

Dedicated Section Further Unites This Rare Disease Community, Helps Caregivers Manage the Journey

EXTON, PA--(Marketwire - Sep 15, 2011) - Caregivers of people living with the rare swelling disease hereditary angioedema (HAE) now have a dedicated resource to help navigate the unique challenges they may face. The resource from ViroPharma Incorporated (NASDAQ: VPHM) is available on the "HAE and Me" online community at and includes first-hand tips from caregivers and patients as well as video stories and frequently asked questions.

There are about 6,000 people in the United States living with HAE, many of whom need the emotional and physical support of a parent, sibling, spouse, or friend to get through the day, especially while experiencing an HAE attack. HAE attacks, which on average occur every seven to 14 days and last two to five days, are unpredictable and can be extremely painful, debilitating, and disfiguring; attacks can make everyday activities difficult, even impossible. People experiencing swelling in their hands or feet may have difficulties closing buttons, walking, or driving. Swelling in the abdomen is usually accompanied by intense pain and nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea so severe people can't leave the house, and swelling in the face can leave someone practically unrecognizable. HAE attacks can also be deadly if they occur in the tongue or throat, which can cause a person's airway to close leading to suffocation.

"Caring for someone with a chronic disease can be challenging, but when the disease is rare like hereditary angioedema, those challenges can be multiplied," said Kristina Broadbelt, associate director of global public relations and advocacy at ViroPharma Incorporated. "Because HAE is rare and often misunderstood, caregivers may feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities, without having a sounding board or place to turn to for support during the difficult times. Recognizing that people caring for loved ones with HAE may be separated by geography or age, we developed the Caregiver section of 'HAE and Me' to give them a place to go to see people's faces, hear their voices, read and share tips, and know that they are not alone."

The "HAE and Me" Caregiver section specifically addresses the many different roles and responsibilities of an HAE caregiver, which can include advocating for their loved one to get an accurate diagnosis, finding an HAE-treating clinician, and assisting with day-to-day tasks that may be difficult for someone experiencing a severe swelling attack. The section also provides helpful suggestions for caring for someone with HAE, including tips for supporting your loved one.

"As an HAE-treating physician, I've seen firsthand that HAE affects not only people living with the disease, but also their partners in care," said Dr. David Hurewitz, an allergist/immunologist in Tulsa, OK. "While every caregiver's journey is different, they all have HAE in common, and 'HAE and Me' now provides a place where they can go for support and to learn from others who are going through similar experiences."

About "HAE and Me"
"HAE and Me" is a comprehensive online community designed to unite people of all ages who are affected by HAE through shared experiences. The Website,, launched in March 2011 and features information on HAE presented in an interactive way through video and written profiles, personal tips, polls, and frequently asked questions.

The site also features specific sections geared toward young adults with HAE and caregivers of people with HAE -- two very important populations. The young adult section -- called "Gen HAE" -- was developed with input from teens and young adults living with HAE and focuses specifically on the important issues young people growing up with chronic conditions like HAE may face, such as fitting in with friends, school, dating, and playing sports. The Caregiver section includes suggestions for navigating the important and often times challenging role people caring for loved ones with HAE can face.

"HAE and Me" links to other ViroPharma educational initiatives including 'HAE: Learn About It, Talk About It,' found at, which is aimed at uniting disparate physician specialties that see patients with HAE to achieve more timely diagnosis and receive appropriate disease management, as well as 'Swell' a documentary film that showcases the lives of people living with HAE, providing a first-hand look at what it is like to suffer from the disease and how it affects family, friends, and loved ones.

About Hereditary Angioedema
HAE is a rare, severely debilitating, life-threatening genetic disorder caused by a deficiency of C1 inhibitor, a human plasma protein. This condition is the result of a defect in the gene controlling the synthesis of C1 inhibitor. C1 inhibitor maintains the natural regulation of the contact, complement, and fibrinolytic systems, that when left unregulated, can initiate or perpetuate an attack by consuming the already low levels of endogenous C1 inhibitor in HAE patients. Patients with C1 inhibitor deficiency experience recurrent, unpredictable, debilitating, and potentially life threatening attacks of inflammation affecting the larynx, abdomen, face, extremities and urogenital tract. Patients with HAE experience approximately 20 to 100 days of incapacitation per year. There are estimated to be about 6,000 people with HAE in the United States.

For more information on HAE, visit the U.S. HAE Association's Website at:

About ViroPharma Incorporated
ViroPharma Incorporated is an international biopharmaceutical company committed to developing and commercializing novel solutions for physician specialists to address unmet medical needs of patients living with diseases that have few if any clinical therapeutic options. Our goal is to provide rewarding careers to employees, to create new standards of care in the way serious diseases are treated, and to build international partnerships with the patients, advocates, and health care professionals we serve.

ViroPharma routinely posts information, including press releases, which may be important to investors in the investor relations and media sections of our company's Website, The company encourages investors to consult these sections for more information on ViroPharma and our business.