2013 (PHILSTAR) By Sheila Crisostomo - At the rate diabetes cases are increasing in the country, there will be some 6.16 million diabetic Filipinos by 2030, health experts warned the other day. 

With its perfect combination of a novel mechanism of action and once-daily dosing convenience, saxagliptin + metformin XR can help type 2 diabetes patients adhere to treatment, achieve optimal blood glucose control and prevent complications. Photo shows (from left) Felanie Ruyeras, brand manager, AstraZeneca Philippines; Gagan Singh, country president, AstraZeneca Philippines; Jocelyn Coronel, marketing head, AstraZeneca Philippines; Dr. Elizabeth Paz-Pacheco, consultant in endocrinology, The Medical City, and past president, Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism; Dr. Agnes Cruz, consultant, Marikina Valley Medical Center, and associate professor II, University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, Institute for the Studies of Diabetes Foundation Inc.; ‘The Perfect Pair’ mascots Johnny and Marsha; Prof. Nancy Bohannon, director of Clinical Research Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Program, St. Luke’s Hospital, San Francisco, CA; Dr. Joey Miranda, consultant in endocrinology, Our Lady of Pillar Medical Center and Crisostomo General Hospital, and secretary, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologist-Philippine Chapter; Dr. Milagros Tan, medical director, AstraZeneca Philippines; and Eric Robles, group brand manager, AstraZeneca Philippines.

According to Dr. Joey Miranda, secretary of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology-Philippines, there were 3.4 million diabetes cases in the country in 2010, representing a prevalence rate of 7.7 percent.

Citing data from the World Health Organization and International Diabetes Foundation, he said that by 2030, the prevalence rate is projected to rise to 8.9 percent or 6.16 million cases.

These figures represent an increase of 15.6 percent and 84.2 percent in prevalence rate and the number of cases, respectively.

“So this will be a big problem that we will encounter in 2030. We already have a big problem at present what more about 17 years from now?

Our hands will be full in tackling this problem,” he said in a press briefing organized by pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca Philippines.

Miranda said the rising cases of diabetes are also a serious problem worldwide.

“Diabetes is now a growing global epidemic. The numbers are increasing. In 2011 there were 360 million diabetics worldwide… What more if we go 2030? We will have more than 550 million, the estimated number of diabetes that will be presented to us,” he added.

According to a fact sheet, diabetes is “a serious, lifelong disease and is a disorder of metabolism — the way our body uses the food we eat for growth and energy.” This condition is commonly known as having high glucose or sweetness in the blood.

Diabetes, however, is associated with long-term complications like blindness, heart and blood vessel disease, kidney failure, amputation of limbs, nerve damage, and stroke.

There are two kinds of diabetes — Type 1, which is more triggered by genetic predisposition; Type 2 which is associated with lifestyle and gestational diabetes, a condition that affects pregnant women during pregnancy.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 percent of all cases in the Philippines.

Dr. Elizabeth Paz-Pacheco, former president of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism, said to curb the trend and to minimize the ill effects of diabetes, everyone must “work on prevention and proper management of cases.”

Pacheco underscored the importance of getting blood sugar “as normal as possible for the majority of patients who are newly diagnosed, younger and they have a longer life ahead of them.”

She added that lifestyle change and adherence to medication must be observed to prevent complications of diabetes.

“It’s really basically lifestyle modification. We encourage our patients to watch what they eat and to work on something that they will do regularly,” she said.

She added that treatment regiments must also be “individualized” by doctors to get a “perfect fit” for their patients.

This, as AstraZeneca and Brystol Myers Squibb Philippines have launched the saxagliptin + metformin XR (extended release), a “once-a-day pill” that can help patients with Type 2 diabetes to adhere to treatment.

According to Prof. Nancy Bohannan, director of clinical research at the Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Program at St. Luke’s in San Francisco, California, the medicine could help patients comply with their treatment, thus “enhancing blood glucose control and preventing or delaying complications.”

Taking multiple pills for diabetes and other associated conditions, like hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease, makes medication adherence difficult for most patients. This results in poor blood sugar control, thus leading to complications.

Saxagliptin + metformin XR works in four different ways to help control blood sugar. The medicine decreases the amount of sugar absorbed in the gut; reduces the amount of sugar made by the liver; helps the body respond better to insulin; and helps the body make more insulin when the patient eats.

AstraZeneca Philippines country president Gagan Singh said the development of the medicine “demonstrates AstraZeneca and Brystol Myers Squibb’s commitment to fighting diabetes through research and innovation.”

“We are committed to introducing novel drugs at affordable prices in the coming years to help doctors treat patients with Type 2 diabetes. We are happy to announce that this new drug is now available to Filipinos,” Singh added.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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