Major breakthrough for thalassaemia patients in Oman
In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Oman Novartis brought haematology experts who treat iron overload patients to Muscat, Oman at the Hormuz Grand Hotel. Such experts are bringing to the forefront the latest advancements on iron overload treatments and its advantages for patients as well as the importance of managing thalassemia and iron overload.
Ministry of Health - Oman states that 75 per cent of patients visiting healthcare centres have blood-inherited disorders such as sickle cell disease, thalassemia and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. In addition, several studies have been conducted by prominent haematologists in Oman which concluded that a range from 2.2 to 4 per cent of the Omani population carriers the beta-thalassemia. Novartis launched an injectable iron chelator in 1968.
Although it was the first solution provided to patients with iron overload and had helped many suffering from iron overload, its inconvenient mode of administration may have been a cause of suboptimal chelation of iron overload in patients associated with a shorter life expectancy and increased morbidity. With the newest launch of the film-coated tablet, Novartis is providing patients not only with the efficacy to avoid iron overload complications, but also the convenience of administration and less bothersome adverse events. This will certainly help in increasing patients’ compliance to their medication translating into a higher efficacy.
Although the switch to oral therapy significantly increased adherence, other factors should be considered such as the healthcare system where individualising therapy, routinely assessing adherence and establishment of a multidisciplinary team are essential to assure a smooth patient journey. Moreover, addressing the psychosocial problems such as attitudes and beliefs about thalassemia, lack of perception of severity of iron overload and expectations from treatment are other important areas to approach thalassemia and iron overload in a holistic manner. Important initiatives taken by the Ministry of Health - Oman such as promoting pre-marital screening to check for carrier state are crucial in raising awareness on thalassemia and its consequences as well as preparing parents of children with thalassemia on the management of the disorder.
In Oman, patients with blood disorders have many options to receive medical care from highly qualified doctors and medical experts.