AstraZeneca PLC Release: Medical Symposium Calls for Regular Health Check Ups Among UAE People to Fight GERD and Peptic Ulcer Bleed

Published: Feb 08, 2011

Dubai, UAE, 8th February, 2011: A medical symposium has warned that excessive usage of pain killers for joint and bone diseases in the UAE is leading to increased incidence of Peptic Ulcer Bleed (PUB).

The symposium called for regular general checkups to effectively combat Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and PUB diseases in the UAE, which is witnessing high incidence in the UAE.

The symposium also warned that if GERD is not correctly treated, it could lead to serious complications, such as inflammation in the esophagus, narrowing of the esophagus, ulcers and bleeding. Experts revealed that Esomeprazole i.v. (chemical name of the drug) is the first proton pump inhibitor (PPI) to be indicated in UAE and Europe for prevention of re-bleeding following therapeutic endoscopy for acute bleeding gastric or duodenal ulcers.

Dr. Saeed Al Shaikh, MB, LRCPI & SI, MD, FRCP, Gastroenterologist at Dubai Healthcare City and Welcare Hospital, revealed that that if Peptic Ulcer Bleed, is not treated properly, it will cause re-bleeding and eventually death in some cases.

He said: “Peptic ulcer bleed is a major cause of stomach bleeding. It occurs in all ages, especially in older people who excessively use pain killers for bone and joint diseases. It is common in the UAE as it is in other parts of the world especially amongst elders and ladies.”

Dr. Al Shaikh added that regular checkups can prevent PUB. He urged people in the UAE has to adopt a culture of regular medical check ups, which is not very common in the country according to him.

Dr Mustafa Sabri, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Digestive Diseases Unit, Rashid Hospital, DHA, said: “More than 55 percent of the bleeding cases in the world are PUB cases. In the UAE, the percentage is more as it is a multicultural country. Patients in most of the cases are not aware of the bleeding which makes it more critical. They often see black excreta or black or dark red vomiting. Now there is a new phase of treatment of PUB. Our diagnosis of this disease is very advanced today. If not treated, PUB can cause death. In many cases, rebleeding occurs because of non adherence to treatment or eating foods that are prohibited. Esomeprazole i.v. lessens the chances of rebleeding.”

Professor Ernst Kuipers, Chair of the departments of Gastroenterology and Herpetology and Internal Medicine, Erasmus University Medical Center, Netherlands, was present at a medical symposium organized by AstraZeneca Gulf.

“Peptic ulcer bleed is a common and potentially life-threatening complication of peptic ulcer disease and until now there has not been an approved pharmacological treatment to reduce the risk of re-bleeding after endoscopic treatment. Currently, approximately 20% of patients with PUB may experience a re-bleed even after endoscopic treatment and patients experiencing re-bleeding after initial treatment of PUB have a more than three-fold risk of death. The approval of Esomeprazole for preventing peptic ulcer re-bleeding in adults fills a significant gap in current treatment options available to physicians to manage PUB after endoscopic treatment,” said Professor Ernst Kuipers.

“Until now, no other PPI has demonstrated an overall benefit in high risk peptic ulcer bleeding patients in published international, multi-center studies of PUB in predominantly Caucasian patient populations,” added Dr Fadel Shaker, Medical Manager AstraZeneca Gulf.

Esomeprazole is already approved in Europe and the UAE for the treatment of heartburn and other symptoms associated with gastroesophageal acid reflux (GERD), reflux esophagitis and for the long-term management of patients with healed esophagitis to prevent relapse.

Dr. Shaker added: “Esomeprazole is also indicated for healing of gastric ulcers associated with NSAID therapy and prevention of gastric and duodenal ulcers associated with NSAID therapy in patients at risk. Esomeprazole, in combination with an appropriate antibacterial therapeutic regimen, is also approved for the eradication of H. pylori and the healing of H. pylori associated duodenal ulcer and the prevention of relapse of peptic ulcers in patients with H. pylori associated ulcers.”

A peptic ulcer is a deep and sharply demarcated break in the lining of the stomach or duodenum – when in the stomach it is described as a gastric ulcer and when in the duodenum a duodenal ulcer. PUB occurs when the ulcer erodes into an underlying blood vessel. In Europe, PUB affects approximately 50 people per 100,000 population per year.

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