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Rheumatoid Arthritis Therapeutics in China
Date:4/9/2009

JAKARTA, Indonesia, April 9 /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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In 2007, the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in China was 0.3 percent, and has remained stable. About three times as many women as men are afflicted with the disease. Earlier, NSAIDs were mainly used for treatment, and as the disease progressed to moderate and severe, DMARDs were introduced. However, with time, education, awareness, and treatment options, physicians have started to treat with a combination of NSAIDs and DMARDs in the early stages of treatment. Patients are also treated with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in combination with western medicine, or independently.

State health insurance funds the treatment cost for NSAIDs and some DMARDs such as Methotrexate (MTX). However, a majority of the population has no health insurance, putting pressure on out-of-pocket payment, or go without treatment.

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 awar
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SOURCE Frost & Sullivan
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