…Says Oxyurea, a lifesaving medicine
In commemorating the World Sickle Cell Awareness Day 2020, Bond Chemical Industries Limited, a leading pharmaceutical company in Nigeria, has tasked the federal government on the need to improve awareness about the disease among the populace, saying thousands of citizens are still under the burden of the deadly disease, due to lack of proper awareness, funds and ignorance.
The organisation made this remark in a press release sent to Pharmanewsonline, as the global community celebrates 2020 World Sickle Cell Day, an annual event, usually marked on every 19 June to improve public awareness about the genetic disorder.
Managing Director, Bond Chemicals Nigeria Limited, Pharm. Aderemi Omotosho, said concerted efforts must be made towards reducing its prevalence, while the government must, as a matter of urgency, place SCD in its priority list and people must be informed on how to avoid giving birth to sickle cell children by creating adequate awareness on genotype compatibility.
Omotosho, who was represented by Mr Andrew Aina Oladipo, national marketing manager, also called for increased advocacy on the prevention, treatment, and management of SCD, adding that comprehensive and holistic management from birth will go a long way in cutting down on the SCD crisis, as the implication of this is that a mother must know a child’s genotype from birth, in order to ensure proper care from birth.
Speaking further, Omotosho noted that prevention would go a long way in saving the lives of children with the disease, saying parents should ensure that their children get regular check-ups with their doctors, follow treatment prescribed by doctors, prevent crises by taking simple steps and practicing healthy habits, while urging them to monitor every treatment procedures administered on their child, as there could be misdiagnosis.
The Bond Chemicals boss, however, noted that having sickle is not a death sentence if the condition is adequately managed, adding that the management of Bond Chemical Industries Limited, in its quest to reduce the burden of SCD in the country has further increased its commitment to research and development in the manufacturing of new, innovative and high-quality pharmaceuticals in addressing the condition.
He continued, “Hydroxyurea is a medicine that can decrease severe complications of SCD. This treatment is very safe when given by medical specialists experienced in caring for patients with SCD. However, the side effects of taking Hydroxyurea during pregnancy or for a long time are not completely known”.
“Another treatment, which can actually cure SCD, is a stem cell transplant (also called a bone marrow transplant); this procedure infuses healthy cells, called stem cells, into the body to replace damaged or diseased bone marrow. Although transplants of bone marrow or blood from healthy donors are increasingly being used to successfully cure SCD, they require a matched donor (a person with similar, compatible bone marrow), and transplants can sometimes cause severe side effects, including occasional life-threatening illness or death”, he said
Still on the management of SCD, Omotosho noted that Oxyurea, the company’s brand of Hydroxyurea for the management of SCD, is a lifesaving medicine used in the management of SCD. He said aside increasing the life expectancy of SCD patients, it also reduces the risk of anemia and blood transfusion in patients.
He added, “Oxyurea also reduces the frequency and intensity of bone crises, lowers the episode of acute chest syndrome, reduces the frequency of hospitalization, reduces the need for blood transfusion, reduces the risk of cerebral stroke, as well as improving the quality of life in SCD patients”, he said.
Stressing on the need for active steps to combat the disease, Omotosho stressed the need to focus on caring for sickle cell carriers, saying the lack of proper sensitisation on the importance of genotype testing has led to what could have been prevented by the increasing numbers of children born with SCD in Nigeria.
According to the experts, Sickle cell disease causes the normal round and flexible blood cells to become stiff and sickle-shaped, stopping the blood cells, and the oxygen they carry, from being able to move freely around the body and causing pain. This can cause episodes of severe pain. These painful episodes are referred to as sickle cell disease crisis.
People with sickle cell disease are also at risk of complications such as stroke, acute chest syndrome, blindness, bone damage, and priapism (a persistent, painful erection of the penis).
Over time, people with sickle cell disease can experience damage to organs such as the liver, kidney, lungs, heart, and it could also lead to death.
SCD is a disease that worsens over time. Treatments are available that can prevent complications and lengthen the lives of those who have this condition. These treatment options can be different for each person depending on the symptoms and severity.