Thursday 21 March 2019
 
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Specialists and officials at the summit

Specialists urge greater efforts to tackle IBD

DUBAI, 15 days ago

There is an urgent need to drive a collective effort amongst governments, communities, hospitals as well as the wider healthcare sector to increase awareness around the seriousness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and ways to improve the lives of individuals living with the disease, a major conference heard.
 
More than 125 gastroenterologists, hepatologists and internal medicine specialists gathered recently at the first Middle East Inflammatory Bowel Disease summit, held in the UAE. 
 
IBD is a group of disorders that impact the digestive tract. Types of IBD include ulcerative colitis, which causes long-lasting inflammation and sores in the innermost lining of the large intestine and rectum, as well as Crohn’s disease, which is characterised by inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, often spreading deep into affected tissues. Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease usually involve severe bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fatigue and weight loss.
 
The two-day event was organised by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies, focused on the impact of the delayed diagnosis on IBD progression, tools for early diagnosis and referral, the important role patient organisations have in driving optimal levels of awareness, as well as diagnostics and therapeutic markers. 
 
Internationally, the incidence of IBD is approximately 0.5-24.5 cases per 100,000 person-years for ulcerative colitis and 0.1-16 cases per 100,000 person-years for Crohn disease. Overall, the prevalence of IBD is 396 cases per 100,000 persons annually. The annual incidence of Crohn disease in the Middle East is 5.0 per 100,000 persons; whereas the incidence rate of ulcerative colitis is 6.3 per 100,000 persons, a statement said.
 
Regional experts also highlighted that in the UAE, more awareness is needed to increase the understanding of IBD and its impact on patients. Increasing awareness may contribute to some of the rise in incidence, while recognition of Crohn's disease as distinct from ulcerative colitis may also contribute to some of the incidence shifts between the two forms of IBD, it said.
 
Dr Sameer Al-Awadhi, consultant physician and gastroenterologist, head of gastroenterology unit at Rashid Hospital and president of Emirates Gastroenterology Society, said: “People of any age can get IBD, but it's usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40. In the UAE, there are no specific data around the exact prevalence rate of IBD. However, we suspect that around 1-3% of the local population suffers from IBD. It is important to gain further insight into the complexity of IBD to be able to recommend the appropriate treatment plan for patients.
 
“Some of the common challenges amongst IBD adapters, deniers and submitters include spending time and emotional energy managing the symptoms and not considering the long-term management of their disease. IBD ends up affecting personal and professional choices. Our insights suggest that people living with IBD feel oppressed by symptoms and the impact of the disease on their lives. Some are also frustrated in a diagnosis wilderness with no consensus on how to treat their condition. There is a direct educational need to drive multidisciplinary care through early diagnosis and advanced disease management,” added Dr Al-Awadhi. 
 
Maged Kamel, executive director medical, regulatory affairs and QA at Takeda Near East, Middle East & Africa, also noted: “Symptoms for IBD patients can be unpredictable. Our work is centred around understanding the common challenges that dictate the needs of both people living with IBD and the physicians who treat them. Through ongoing partnerships and research, we are taking a closer look at the patient experience from various perspectives and working to provide treatment for better disease management. In addition, Takeda Pharmaceuticals will announce the results of the first-ever head-to-head trial between biological therapies related to IBD during the upcoming European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation’s congress in Copenhagen, which is set to take place in March this year.”  - TradeArabia News Service



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