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Rheumatoid Arthritis Therapeutics in Taiwan
Date:4/10/2009

TAIPEI, Taiwan, April 10 /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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Frost & Sullivan, Research Analyst Sushma Rajan says, "Besides ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and system lupus erythmatosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common rheumatic diseases in Taiwan, with an incidence of 0.35 percent every year. The country registers a low prevalence rate for RA of 0.3 percent."

"About three times as many women are afflicted with RA than men. RA cases are higher in urban areas and the number of new cases diagnosed is seen to be increasing because of rising awareness of RA and earlier detection that allows patients to receive treatment in the early stages," she further explains.

RA is classified as a chronic disease under the Bureau of National Health Insurance (BNHI), Taiwan. This allows patients who are diagnosed with RA by their physicians to save significant medical costs as the co-payment of treatment and hospitalization is waived.

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: anticyclic citrullinated peptide (Anti-CCP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and Xray.

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SOURCE Frost & Sullivan
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