Chronic sinusitis (CS) with nasal polyps is a condition that often causes difficulty breathing through the nose and reduces the sense of smell and taste, impacting everyday life for patients who suffer from the condition. Other symptoms of nasal polyps such as nasal discharge and congestion can decrease enjoyment of daily activities and leave patients feeling exhausted.

Finding relief from these symptoms often requires endoscopic sinus surgery (ESS) after the failure of prior treatments, such as medical management. ESS is performed more than half a million times in the U.S. annually, and while symptoms may be temporarily relieved, repeat surgery is usually needed as sinus surgery is not a cure for nasal polyps. In fact, nasal polyps return in 40% of patients within 18 months after sinus surgery. Due to these statistics, additional treatment options are necessary for patients who have undergone sinus surgery only for their nasal polyps to return. An alternative option called SINUVA is an in-office, non-surgical treatment for adult patients suffering from nasal polyps.

The following case study presents a campaign that was implemented for SINUVA in February 2021 to give physicians the right tools to educate their patients about SINUVA. As part of the campaign, “Discover SINUVA Boxes” were distributed to doctor’s offices, containing patient brochures, discussion guides, scratch-off fact cards, and Scratch-N-Sniff cards, all of which provide patients with an educational and hands-on resource to learn about SINUVA and how the treatment may help them discover relief from nasal polyps.

Discover SINUVA Box that contains a patient brochure, discussion guide, and scratch-off fact cards.

Market/Product

SINUVA is the first and only FDA-approved stent for the treatment of nasal polyps in adults who have had previous ethmoid sinus surgery. The treatment is different from other nasal polyp medications and repeat sinus surgery because it is a steroid-releasing (mometasone furoate) implant that delivers anti-inflammatory medication directly to the nasal polyps for up to 90 days.

Problem

Twenty-nine million patients in the United States and 59 million patients globally suffer from CS, which can increase the risk of developing nasal polyps. Many patients who are diagnosed with CS do not know that they have nasal polyps, or they do not know how to treat them. Patient awareness around this condition needs to increase due to the gap between nasal polyp diagnosis and knowledge of alternative treatment options. Doctors should educate patients earlier in their treatment journeys about the recurrence of nasal polyps after sinus surgery and discuss how to manage the chronic state of their condition. Many patients may not be aware of other options beyond undergoing repeat sinus surgery or bi-weekly biologic injections at their ENT’s office. Awareness around SINUVA is important early in the treatment algorithm as an alternative option to treat nasal polyps.

Challenge

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it became more difficult to deliver Discover SINUVA Boxes to doctors’ offices, and the boxes were being removed from waiting rooms as doctors and patients were less comfortable handling the materials. The team at Intersect ENT needed to determine how to motivate patients to engage with the Scratch-N-Sniff cards directly when visiting their doctor’s office.

Since nasal polyps can cause an impaired sense of smell due to sinus obstruction, the cards are used as a smell test with scents such as coffee and fresh-cut grass. Patients may discover that their nasal polyps have worsened due to their inability to smell the Scratch-N-Sniff cards, which creates an opportunity for their physician to share more about SINUVA as an alternative to a repeat sinus surgery. The Scratch-N-Sniff cards also tie in to the title of SINUVA’s advertising campaign, “Scratching the Surface.”

Scratch-N-Sniff cards that comes in the Discover SINUVA Box.

Solution

Even though COVID-19 limited the possible display locations of the Discover SINUVA materials, the Intersect ENT teams employed tactics engaging both physicians and patients successfully using the interactive resources provided. The Scratch-N-Sniff cards were provided to patients in individual exam rooms and right before their procedure as a way to enhance the SINUVA experience. The location of the Scratch-N-Sniff cards also encouraged doctors to speak with patients one-on-one about SINUVA as a treatment option. The cards allowed doctors to educate patients on recurring nasal polyps and how to manage symptoms—especially regaining their sense of smell. The cards were used before a patient received the SINUVA implant, and at least 14 days after SINUVA was placed, allowing both doctors and patients to gauge the improvement in sense of smell following SINUVA.

Results

Currently, Scratch-N-Sniff cards are readily used by patients, and they help to facilitate productive conversations between patients and doctors. At follow-up appointments after receiving SINUVA, patients can literally “smell the coffee” using the Scratch-N-Sniff cards, which is a satisfying moment for patients who were unable to smell the cards at appointments leading up to their SINUVA treatment.

Video brochures for SINUVA worked to increase the enrollment of patients through direct engagement in doctor’s offices. Providing the video brochure directly to patients helped to emphasize patient ownership of their medical management. The video brochures included information on what SINUVA is, how it works, and patient testimonials. These brochures allow patients to learn important information about the procedure in a concise and organized way before they speak with their doctor one-on-one. The video is often used again at the time of the procedure while patients wait for the topical anesthesia to numb their nose, which allows the patient to review the specifics of the procedure and helps to ease any anxiety the patient may have.

The SINUVA Video Brochure.

The Discover SINUVA materials helped doctors increase patient knowledge of the procedure along with creating opportunities for additional medical professionals in the doctor’s offices to discuss the specifics of SINUVA with patients. Additionally, the materials have provided ENTs who are introverts by giving them tools to start a conversation while educating their patients about SINUVA.

Blessing Health System practice with the Discover SINUVA Box.

INDICATION: SINUVA Sinus Implant is a prescription steroid-releasing (mometasone furoate) implant for the treatment of nasal polyps in adult patients, 18 years of age or older, who have had ethmoid sinus surgery.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Do not use SINUVA if you are allergic to mometasone furoate or any ingredients of the implant. Before you receive SINUVA, tell your doctor about all medical conditions you have including nasal/sinus problems (such as nasal ulcers or trauma), eye problems (such as glaucoma or cataracts), or any untreated fungal, bacterial, or viral infections. Rx Only. Link to full safety information: https://www.sinuva.com/patient/safety.

  • Cynthia Freeman

    Cynthia Freeman is the Marketing Manager for SINUVA (mometasone furoate) Sinus Implant at Intersect ENT, where she leads the company’s continued rollout and launch of SINUVA driving downstream product strategy and execution to increase physician adoption and patient education.

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