|27 February, 2019

UAE hospitals recommend new cancer medicine for effective relief

Cancer the third leading cause of death in the UAE

Dubai: The medical fraternity in the UAE has recommended to the health authorities in the UAE for listing an innovative inhaled analgesic for relieving acute pain in accident and emergency cases and a bio-adherent gel for eliminating the side effects of chemo and radiation therapy in cancer patients.

The heads of accident and emergency departments of major government hospitals have recommended the administration of Penthrox, an analgesic inhalation device for immediate relief in acute pain due to accidents, sports injuries, bone marrow biopsy and wound dressing change.

Senior oncologists in the UAE have endorsed a proven, US FDA-approved medicine Gelclair for treatment of oral mucositis, a severe side effect of chemo and radiation therapy.

The availability of the gel comes in the wake of increasing cases of cancer in the UAE. The UAE health authorities are determined to bring down cancer fatalities by nearly 18 per cent by 2021 even as the disease has emerged as the third leading cause of death (cardiovascular and brain stroke being the first and the second)  in the country, with around 4,500 new cases reported every year.

Total cancer cases stood at 9,800 in 2017 as per Globocan data.  In the Abu Dhabi region alone, 2,400 cases were reported as per Cancer Directory of SEHA. Of this, nationals accounted for 24 per cent and expatriates 76 per cent.

According to a report released by the Department of Health, Abu Dhabi, the top five cancers among males are leukaemia, colo-rectal, prostate, Non-Hodgkins and brain cancer. Among females, the top five cancers are breast, leukaemia, colo-rectal, thyroid and uterus. There were 2,800 breast cancer cases followed by 1,100 cases of colo-rectal cases, according to Globacan data.

Medical facilities in the UAE are well-equipped to manage the reported cancer cases. However, more than the debilitating disease, management of the side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation is a challenge to the medical fraternity in the UAE.

Gelclair, manufactured by Helsinn of Switzerland, is approved by the US FDA and all international regulatory agencies, including the UAE Ministry of Health.

“As a great relief, a proven and US FDA-approved medicine Gelclair - a bio-adherent gel, is now available for treatment of oral mucositis, which is a side effect of chemo and radiation therapy,” explained Khurshid Zaidi, Managing Director of Pharma Solutions, at the Dubai International Pharmaceutical & Technology Conference & Exhibition (DUPHAT). The pharmaceutical exhibition is being held at Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre from February 26-28, 2019.

Oral mucositis is a debilitating and common complication of cancer treatment, such as radiation and chemotherapy. The significance of this orally administered gel is that cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy get immediate relief from oral mucositis that causes several nutritional problems due to inability to eat or drink. These problems create a severe effect on the quality of life of patients and can also lead to reduction in chemotherapy doses administered subsequently.

The gel, administered orally, forms a protective film that helps to provide pain relief, soothing mouth lesions. The protective film created by the gel over the oral mucosa shields the exposed nerve endings from over-stimulation. It reduces difficulty in eating and drinking and protects from oral cavity microbial colonization with a simple application.

“Inhaled Penthrox has been clinically demonstrated to be a safe and effective analgesic agent that provides immediate relief for patients presenting to emergency departments with severe pain of different aetiologies,” said Dr Ahmed Ibrahim, Consultant & Head of Accident & Emergency, Ministry of Health and Prevention, Al Baraha Hospital.

Dubai-based Pharma Solutions is the sole marketing agent for Gelclair in the Middle East and services approximately 40 cancer centres in the Gulf region.

Zaidi added that the alcohol-free gel has no drug interactions or contraindications and can be used during pregnancy, lactation and in paediatric patients.

Pharma Solutions is also a supplier of potentially life-saving and critical care medicines for treatment of cancer, post-chemotherapy care, accident/trauma, anaphylaxis and anti-retro virals for treatment of HIV, HBV and other serious infections.

Elaborating on the diversification plans of Pharma Solutions, Zaidi said that the company plans to bring in new technology products to be produced in the local factories, expanding to markets in the UK and India. It already has initiated operations in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the US.

-Ends-

About Pharma Solutions LLC:

Dubai-based Pharma Solutions is an exclusive distributor for supply of potentially life-saving and critical care medicines for treatment of cancer, post-chemotherapy care, accident/trauma, anaphylaxis and anti-retro virals for treatment of HIV, HBV and other serious infections.

The company’s vision is to serve the unmet medical needs and to bring in the latest medical technology into the region. Within five years of launch, the company has expanded its footprints in eight major markets in the Middle East. Future plans include bringing complex neuro products and blood derivatives.

© Press Release 2019

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