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Friday, 29 September 2017 | | Staff Reporter


(From-Right-to-Left): Mr. Mohamed El Dababy, Dr. Bassam Mahboub, MD FRCPC, and
Dr. Ashraf Al Zaabi

  Medical experts gathered in Abu Dhabi to raise awareness about Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)

(Abu Dhabi) -
oehringer Ingelheim, a global pharmaceutical company, recently organized an informative forum in Abu Dhabi that aimed at highlighting the prevalence of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, (IPF). The event, which was held as part of the company’s extended activities around launching its new IPF medical drug, focused on the patient journey from diagnosis to treatment of the disease.

IPF is a chronic, rare and ultimately fatal disease characterized by a progressive decline in lung function. The disease scars patients’ lungs and reduces breathing efficiency. The build-up of scar tissue is called fibrosis, which causes the lungs to become stiffer and lose their elasticity so they’re less able to inflate and take oxygen.

To date, the cause of IPF is unidentified and despite recent progress, treatment options for patients are still limited.
Approximately 75% of the patients are males and 2/3 of them are either smokers or former smokers. Individuals with IPF may experience symptoms such as breathlessness during activity, a dry and persistent cough and chest discomfort with a progressive decline in lung function.

Dr. Bassam Mahboub, MD FRCPC, Consultant Pulmonologist and Head of Pulmonary Medicine at Rashid Hospital said, "Over
the last two decades, there has been an increase in the number of IPF cases. The disease leads to respiratory failure as well as complications such as pneumonia or heart failure.
The key challenge that we must address is finding new avenues to create comprehensive awareness programs in the UAE and across the region to educate both patients as well as healthcare professionals about the dangers of IPF as well as its diagnosis."

"We often come across patients who had not heard about the disease at all until diagnosed. Diagnosing IPF can be difficult because it requires specific diagnostic testing such as lung imaging using a high-resolution CT scan. Early and accurate diagnosis of IPF is important to manage the condition and improve quality of life and overall survival," added Dr. Mahboub.

Diagnosis of IPF is challenging, requiring a series of specific diagnostic tests with the median time from first symptoms to diagnosis between 1 and 2 years. Initial misdiagnosis occurs in around half of patients, because symptoms are similar to other respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and congestive heart failure.

Coping with a diagnosis of IPF can be physically and emotionally exhausting.
Participating in a patient or support group offers an opportunity to get together and connect with others who are facing similar experiences and may help people affected by IPF to better manage the challenges of living with their condition.

In addition, Dr. Ashraf Al Zaabi, Head of the Division of Respirology at Zayed Military Hospital, Abu Dhabi also noted, "Late diagnosis of the disease and delays in accessing subspecialty care could lead to worse outcomes amongst patients’ survival.
There's no cure, but medication and other kinds of therapy can ease symptoms and make patients’ lives easier. Medication may help slow down the disease, and can prevent more scar tissue from forming in patients’ lungs. Other treatments can also help patients breathe more easily, control their coughs, or prevent infections. Disease management options such as pharmacological treatment, supplemental oxygen treatment, cough management and pulmonary rehabilitation may help patients manage their condition and maintain their quality of life."

"The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHP), as part of its efforts to streamline the pharmaceutical practice, has outlined a set of drug registration guidelines that have been developed to meet the overall healthcare demands in the UAE after
completing the technical requirements, which helps encourage pharmaceutical companies to drive their operations further in the UAE and positively impact the health system and economy of the country," added Dr. Al Zaabi.

For over 90 years, Boehringer Ingelheim has been involved in research and
drug development for managing respiratory illnesses, having launched several treatments in a range of conditions including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, IPF and lung cancer. The company focuses on improving the quality of life of patients suffering from debilitating respiratory diseases and enabling them to maintain a more independent life.

Mohamed El Dababy, General Manager and Head of Human Pharma of Near East, Middle East, Africa (NEMEA) at Boehringer Ingelheim said, "
Research and development has been the cornerstone of Boehringer Ingelheim's success and continues to be the major driver of innovative new approaches that help improve patient’s lives and address unmet therapeutic needs. Drawing upon our decades of worldwide experience across respiratory therapies, we continue to invest to develop new molecules, addressing new indications, better compliance, all aimed at plugging the gap formed by unmet medical needs in the UAE and throughout the region."

"As part of our continued efforts to cater for the region, the pharmaceutical quality and attributes of our products especially the IPF medications have been adapted to meet the environmental demands of the UAE and the region," added El Dababy.



1) Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in Saudi Arabia

2) British Lung Foundation | What is IPF

3) 3 Crestani B, et al. Interim analysis of nintedanib in an open-label extension of the INPULSIS trials (INPULSIS-ON). Abstract presented at the ERS International Schoenheit G, et al. Chron Respir Dis. 2011;8(4):225–31
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis - Diagnosis and Treatment I
Statement: Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: Evidence-based Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management.

4) Outcome of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) ventilated in intensive care unit |

5) Doctors understand patients’ IPF concerns |

6) Treatment for IPF |





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