The four-day rheumatoid awareness campaign organized by Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Pharmacology Department is underway and will conclude with additional activities at City Center mall in Doha today from 4:00pm to 10:00pm.
The patient education event, which was first organized in 2009, is aimed at raising awareness on how anti-rheumatoid medications work, and to educate rheumatoid sufferers on the best time for taking the medications, as well as their side effects. During the campaign, HMC pharmacists will give free counseling from 8:00am to 12:00noon daily at the outpatient lobby of Hamad General Hospital.
“The campaign is intended to enhance awareness among patients as well as their families on what they need to do when taking or administering any anti-rheumatoid medication,” according to Noriya Al Khuzaei, head pharmacist at the Fahad Bin Jassim Kidney Center and one of the organizers of the event.
Al Khuzaei advised that patients should always consult their doctor or pharmacist about their rheumatoid medication, particularly if they are also suffering from diabetes, hypertension or any other illness.
“Before taking any particular type of anti-rheumatoid drug, always tell your doctor of any other illness and of other medications that you may be taking,” Al Khuzaei said, pointing out that this is to avoid complications or drug interactions between the anti-rheumatoid medication and other medications that the patient may be taking.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes degeneration of articular cartilage, causing limited or restricted joint movement and pain, stiffness or swelling of the joints. It is an autoimmune disease that, if not treated, can affect other organs and lead to substantial loss of functioning and mobility.
Rheumatoid can affect persons of any age group, but the symptoms are found mostly in persons 25-45 years of age, with females being more prone to the disease than males. The cause of rheumatoid is not known. Treatment usually includes steroidal or non-steroidal tablets, although other treatment options such as biologic therapy may also be considered.
Al Khuzaei however cautions that rheumatoid sufferers are prone to osteoporosis – the abnormal loss of bone tissue resulting in fragile porous bones and increased risk of fracture – when taking steroidal tablets. To prevent bone loss, the patient is advised to take supplements such as Vitamin D and Calcium.
Al Khuzaei added that the patient must take the medication as prescribed. “The patient must consult with the doctor or pharmacist before stopping his or her medication, in order to avoid complications.” The Pharmacology Department has organized several awareness campaigns in the past for prevalent illnesses such as diabetes and asthma. Al Khuzaei revealed that there are plans to organize more awareness campaigns on hypertension, cardiac and other diseases.