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Diabetes: Saudi Arabia’s looming health concern

Saudi Arabia, October 2, 2018

DIABETES, also known as the “life style disease,” is swiftly turning into a modern-day epidemic. Due to an inactive life style and unhealthy food habits, thousands are joining its ranks daily around the world. Diabetes is also among the world’s leading causes for a number of health risks, resulting in life threatening complications such as heart disease, stroke, lower limb amputations and blindness.

Saudi Arabia is considered to be the largest market for diabetes such that, according to recent World Health Organization (WHO) statistics almost quarter of the Saudi population are diabetic. Research also indicates an increasing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in Saudi Arabia, where It is estimated that 13% of people with diabetes in KSA are still undiagnosed, putting these individuals at a higher risk of developing these problems. Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is considered to be the most common form of diabetes which often leads to lasting complications like cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, liver disease and nerve damage

Healthy diet and active lifestyle may significantly decrease the risk of T2D in spite of having a family history of diabetes. Advances in treatment offerings are also moving beyond classical considerations around glucose control to focus on other aspects of the disease. Such advances include the development of treatments that address the high cardiovascular (CV) risk in patients with diabetes, or have novel mechanisms of action, and new technologies that will facilitate the future integration of care.

Saud Al-Sifri said “the current sequential treatment paradigm doesn’t provide sufficient efficacy for many patients. Metformin has long been the standard first-line therapy for T2D; However, new treatment guidelines from the American Diabetes Association call for using combination therapy from the start for patients with more elevated levels of HbA1c.”

Treatments with new mechanisms of action namely SGLT2 I may offer further clinical benefits beyond those of existing with current medication through not only lowering glucose but, also through decreasing blood pressure and sustained weight loss in an insulin independent mechanism.

Abdulrahman Al-Shaikh said “early combination therapy with Dapagliflozin and Metformin is a appropriate treatment option that enables with T2D to achieve individualized glycaemic goals as either initial combination therapy in treatment-naïve patients or as Dapagliflozin add-on in patients inadequately controlled with Metformin therapy.”

Ismaiel Shehada, Marketing Company President, Saudi Arabia, said “we anticipate that the once-a-day medication will help reduce the pill burden on patients and improve compliance as the extended release (XR) format will allow the medicine to be released in the body over a 24 hour period and enhance the wellbeing of a diabetic patient in the Kingdom.”

The leading pharmaceutical company is organizing three-day educational program engaging international experts and local upcoming specialists in the field in Saudi Arabia. The agenda aims to cover what is in the best interest for Saudi Arabia in the area of diabetes care and to discuss the challenges of diabetes, deliberating what is beyond early escalation in diabetes management and heart failure in relation to the type 2 diabetes followed by a panel discussion. The panel will feature specialists in the diabetes, endocrinology and metabolic diseases and include Professor Paolo Pozzili from University Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Italy, Professor Sundar Mudaliar from Veteran’s Medical Center San Diego, CA, Professor Abdulrahman Al-Shaikh from King Abdulaziz University Hospital and chairman of Saudi Scientific Diabetes Society, Assistant Professor Saud Al Sifri, Director of Diabetes & Endocrine Center in Al Hada Armed Forces Hospitals in Taif.