Coyne to educate public about opioid alternative Exparel

It is estimated that one in every 15 patients who receives prescription painkillers or narcotics following surgery ends up using the medications long-term. Exparel's campaign sets out to give patients another option.

PARSIPPANY, NJ: Pacira Pharmaceuticals has brought on Coyne PR as AOR to drive a national education campaign for non-opioid Exparel as an alternative to prescription painkiller usage post surgery – a growing issue in the U.S.

Coyne was selected in January, following a competitive review process that began at the end of 2015.

The firm is tasked with developing and managing integrated, multichannel campaigns that drive awareness of Exparel among healthcare professionals. Coyne will also help Exparel to educate patients and caregiver audiences about postsurgical pain-control options.

In layman’s terms, Exparel is a painkiller that is injected during surgery, as opposed to an oral medication taken post-surgery. The painkiller is slowly released into the body for up to three days after administration in a very targeted area.

Kelly Dencker, SVP and director of Coyne’s healthcare practice, told PRWeek that opioid use is a growing issue in the U.S. It is estimated that one in every 15 patients who receives prescription painkillers or narcotics following surgery ends up using the medications long-term, which can result in tolerance, dependency, and addiction, he said.

In some people, he explained, Exparel might minimize or eliminate the need for opioids or other pills after surgery. The challenge, however, is that many people are unaware there might be other pain-management options, so Pacira is looking to raise consumer education about "something you wouldn’t associate with a surgical discussion," Dencker added.

"Generally, as a consumer, you say, ‘Whatever the doctor wants to do, I am good with,’" he said. "But the reality is, people do have choices, and there are conversations people can have with their surgeons or attending physicians going into surgery just to understand what their options are."

Dencker is leading a core team of at least 10 Coyne staffers on the account. He explained that the size of the team is relatively large because it is an integrated campaign that will include digital, social, and traditional PR.

This is the first time Coyne has worked with Pacira.

A rep from Pacira was not immediately available for comment.

The contract runs through this year. Budget information was not disclosed.

Pacira Pharmaceuticals is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the clinical and commercial development of products that meet the needs of acute care practitioners and their patients, according to a release.

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