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Frost & Sullivan: Rheumatoid Arthritis Therapeutics in Malaysia
Date:3/31/2009

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic disease or an autoimmune disorder in which the body's defense system attacks the joints through the thin layer of cells called the synovium that lines and lubricates the joints. The most visible symptoms of RA are swollen joints and crippling stiffness, particularly of the hands and feet. It can cause fatigue, fever, loss of appetite and also impedes mobility and quality of life.

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RA is a common autoimmune disease that affects about 20.0 million individuals worldwide. It is one of the prevalent forms of arthritis afflicting about 0.5 to 1.0 percent of adults between the ages of 25 and 50 in Malaysia Asia Pacific League Against Rheumatism (APLAR). About three times as many women as men have the disease, and approximately half of the patients suffer from work-related disability, which can result in total cessation of employment, approximately ten years down the line from onset.

Frost & Sullivan, Research Analyst Sushma Rajan says, "The diagnosis of RA is based on clinical examination of symptoms, patient history, as well as some blood tests. RA cannot be confirmed or excluded by any one test. The most common test is rheumatoid factor (RF). The other supporting tests are: anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (Anti-CCP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and X-ray."

"Recent work productivity studies have confirmed that better disease awareness and availability of treatment options have resulted in fewer patients ceasing to work and more patients reporting lower impact of their disease on work as well as family and social activities," she further elaborates.

Methotrexate (MTX), a DMARD (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) has been traditionally us
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