UAE first in oral rheumatoid treatment
Dubai, September 28, 2013
The UAE has become the first country in the Middle East region to register the 'First Oral Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment' in a new class of medicines, said medical experts at a scientific meeting.
Pfizer, the world’s leading biopharmaceutical company, launched its novel treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis on the sidelines of the "3rd Abu Dhabi Advanced Rheumatology Review Course (ADARRC)."
The new medicine (Tofacitinib) is approved for the treatment of adults with moderately to severely active (RA) who have had an inadequate response to methotrexate and the UAE was the first country in the Middle East to register it, said Pfizer in a statement.
Tofacitinib is the first oral drug in its class for RA to target specific intracellular, nonreceptor tyrosine kinases named as Janus Kinase (JAK).
Dr Mustafa Al-Maini, the deputy medical director, Chief of Rheumatology, Allergy & Clinical Immunology at Mafraq Hospital, said: "RA imposes significant social burdens on patients. If the disease didn’t get treated effectively, patients would suffer from intense pain and become disabled with real need for assistance in performing even their simple daily activities."
"Considering that many patients living with inadequately controlled, moderate-to-severe active RA, do not effectively respond or are intolerant to currently available therapies, the new RA treatment will be a promising option for them," he added.
Dr Jamal Al Saleh, the consultant rheumatologist at Dubai Hospital, said: “It is estimated that 0.9 per cent of the Emiratis living in Dubai have RA.. Almost all patients need traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and if not adequately responding, biologics were the only second option."
"Yet, some patients do not respond adequately to available therapies which imposes burden on patients, health care providers including government and insurance. Hence a new treatment option becomes a need that would help those patients inadequately controlled on already available therapies," he noted.
Dr Hendrik Schulze-Koops, Professor of Internal Medicine, Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology, and head of Rheumatology at Medizinische Poliklinik, University of Munich, Germany, said the new medicine had a novel mechanism of action for the treatment of moderate-to-severe RA.
"In clinical trials it has significantly reduced the signs and symptoms of RA and improved physical function which would have the potential to change the way rheumatologists treat this chronic, and potentially disabling, disease. We are delighted to have this innovation available for patients and physicians as an additional treatment option," added the expert.
Zeydan Abuissa, the general manager of Pfizer in the Gulf & Levant markets, said: “Our scientists and experts worked on this first of its kind RA treatment for 20 years, from discovery through registration."
"Pfizer aspires to continuously deliver unparalleled innovation and high impact medicines for patients which improve health and well-being at every stage of life," he added.-TradeArabia News Service