Healthcare News

World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day 2023: Newer treatment options for AS in India | Health

May is recognised as Axial Spondyloarthritis Awareness Month, which serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about the condition, its symptoms and available treatments while World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day is observed internationally on the first Saturday of every May, except if the Saturday is May 1st and this year, World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day is being observed on Saturday, May 6. Various organisations, patient advocacy groups and healthcare providers organise events, educational programs and online campaigns during this time to increase understanding and support for those affected by it.

World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day 2023: Newer treatment options for Ankylosing Spondylitis in India (Photo by Twitter/IFAiArthritis)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Akshat Pandey, Director- Arthritis and Bone Care Society in Indore, shared, “A persistent inflammatory condition – Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) patients experience extreme pain and loss of spinal posture leading to functional disability. On this World Ankylosing Spondylitis Day, let us talk about disease management through various existing and newer treatment options. The global prevalence of AS is 1.7%. Recent studies have shown that AS affects men more commonly than women. Men are almost three times more likely to develop AS than women. This gender bias is believed to be due to a combination of genetic alteration and hormonal factors.”

Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Suvrat Arya, MD, DM, Senior Consultant Rheumatologist at Jaypee Hospital in Noida, highlighted, “Usually, early signs of AS might not be noticeable or are neglected, hence patients with AS often experience constant pain at lower back over a long duration, discomfort in movement and back stiffness, that interferes with daily living. This leads to low quality of life. According to a survey published in the year 2020, improved quality of life and relief from symptoms are the most important treatment attributes expected from these patients. AS had the highest negative impact on physical function and affected various lifestyle characteristics, including participation in sports and career choices, stated the Study. Hence, early diagnosis of the disease is highly imperative to ensure better quality of life.”

Talking about the newer treatment options for Ankylosing Spondylitis, Dr Shashank Akerkar, Consultant Rheumatologist at Mumbai Arthritis Clinic in Mumbai, said, “The good news is that newer treatment options are now available in India to help manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life for those living with AS. One of the most common treatment options for AS is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs help reduce pain and inflammation, and they are often the first line of treatment for AS. Contrary to popular belief they are not just ‘pain killers’ but have a strong ‘anti-inflammatory’ function. They do reduce the inflammation associated with AS. However, NSAIDs are not suitable for everyone, as they can cause stomach ulcers and other side effects.”

He elaborated, “In recent years, biologic drugs have emerged as an effective treatment option for AS. Biologics are a type of medication that targets specific proteins in the immune system that are responsible for causing inflammation. By blocking these proteins, biologics can help reduce the symptoms of AS and slow down the progression of the disease. Some of the biologic drugs that are commonly used to treat AS include Adalimumab, Infliximab, and Etanercept. These drugs are administered via injection or infusion and are usually prescribed by a rheumatologist. While biologics can be effective in treating AS, they are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.”

Dr Shashank Akerkar suggested, “Another newer treatment option for AS is Tofacitinib, which is an oral medication that works by blocking certain enzymes in the immune system that are involved in inflammation. Tofacitinib has been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of AS and improving quality of life for patients. Tofacitinib is an effective medication and is cheaper than biologics. In conclusion, while AS can be a debilitating condition, there are now newer treatment options available in India to help manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life for those living with AS. Whether it is NSAIDs, biologics or Tofacitinib, there are options available to help people with AS manage their condition and enjoy a better quality of life. If you are living with AS, talk to your rheumatologist about which treatment option might be best for you.”

Source link