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Customer Focus Award

Highly Commended

The European Hyponatraemia Network

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe Ltd in association with ApotheCom (Huntsworth Health)


Summary of work

Otsuka’s Samsca is stimulating interest in hyponatraemia, the most common electrolyte disorder encountered in clinical practice occurring in up to 30 per cent of hospitalised patients, and physicians are now reassessing the importance of this condition and the need to treat those affected.

Hyponatraemia is associated with many underlying disease states, however, the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH) is one of the most common causes. Despite their frequency, both diagnosis and treatment of hyponatraemia and SIADH can be challenging. The conditions are often misunderstood, underestimated, under-diagnosed and undertreated.

Prompt identification and optimal management of hyponatraemia is critical for the increased morbidity and mortality associated with the condition in hospitalised patients to be reduced. Accurate differential diagnosis and appropriate use of Samsca may make this possible, leading to improved patient outcomes and a decrease in resource utilisation.

The European Hyponatraemia Network (EHN) educational programme was developed to bring together and develop new experts in hyponatraemia, working to change current perceptions and impact on the management of this condition. The programme centred on identifying rising stars in the field, developing an expert panel, an expert academy meeting to disseminate the knowledge and the tools to share this information with peers.

The EHN has been a great success and has facilitated national versions of the inaugural EHN Academy meeting. Some 94 per cent of attendees said the programme was ‘very good’ or ‘exceptional’ and requested another larger meeting in 2012. Awareness, tracking and usage research has demonstrated that the programme has positively changed perceptions relating to the need to manage hyponatraemia and SIADH, and changed behaviours regarding the identification of patients and the use of Samsca and traditional therapies.

Judges comments

“This was a very impressive, well executed and complex programme. Excellent results and excellent references.”  

Stakeholder comments

“Hyponatraemia is a complicated condition which shortens life expectancy in patients in a wide spectrum of medical specialities. The disparate nature of the conditions causing hyponatraemia has mitigated against a cohesive approach to diagnosis and management. The initiative pioneered by Otsuka/Huntsworth Health, to promote a European Hyponatraemia Network, with input from endocrinologists, nephrologists, cardiologists, oncologists and geriatricians, was a landmark project in the development of a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to the management of this difficult condition.

The organisation of the Steering Committee enabled the EHN to address the educational and logistical needs of doctors treating hyponatraemia across Europe. The teaching at the Academy meeting contributed a positive impact on the ability of delegates to accurately diagnose and appropriately manage hyponatraemia. The collegiate network has allowed the sharing of clinical knowledge and research ideas. The EHN could not have occurred without the innovation, dedication and patient hard work of Huntsworth Health.”
Professor Chris Thompson, EHN Co-chair