UAE: Emirati woman suffering from autoimmune disease for years treated with new drug

The patient said she consulted doctors at several hospitals in the past 8 years but in vain until this cutting-edge medication

by

Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Mon 27 Mar 2023, 1:26 PM

Last updated: Mon 27 Mar 2023, 8:36 PM

An Emirati woman, who has been suffering from a complex autoimmune disease for years, is relieved following a unique treatment at a hospital in Al Ain. Doctors from the rheumatology department at Tawam Hospital successfully treated Sameeha with a new medicine for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Dr Khalid Alnaqbi, consultant and chief of the rheumatology department, Tawam Hospital and adjunct associate professor at the UAE University, said Sameeha’s disease was uncontrolled for several years despite trying different medications.


“Lupus disease is a non-communicable autoimmune disease that may affect any part of the body due to antibodies produced by the body against certain tissues. The disease affects more females than males and may affect all ages, but it is often diagnosed in the 15 to 45 age group.”

The new drug has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention based on studies from various countries around the world. The rheumatology department provided this medicine at the infusion clinic with cutting-edge medication for lupus.


“The cause of the disease is still unknown but many factors increase the likelihood of disease development such as genetic predisposition, ultraviolet light, hormonal imbalance, smoking, air pollution, obesity, post-traumatic stress, vitamin D deficiency, interferon, viruses, microbiome and side effects of some medicines,” Dr Alnaqbi added.

Lupus may affect different parts of the body. Symptoms may be mild or moderate, such as rash, excessive hair loss, headache unresponsive to painkillers, arthritis, low cell counts (white cells, red cells, or platelets), Raynaud’s phenomenon (blue fingers or toes upon exposure to cold or during periods of psychological stress) or dry eyes. Also, symptoms may be severe, affecting blood vessels, the liver, the kidney or the nervous system.

Sameeha said that she consulted doctors at several hospitals in the past 8 years but in vain until she contacted Dr Alnaqbi.

“I did not discuss my disease with my family or close friends. I was diagnosed 8 years ago. I saw different doctors in many hospitals. I then decided to seek medical advice from Dr Khalid Alnaqbi at Al Ain hospital. I followed up in his clinic at Tawam hospital. I was treated with all available medications due to difficulty controlling my lupus, and I had to keep taking many drugs including steroids.”

Sameeha is thankful to Dr Alnaqbi and his medical team for the exceptional care offered to her.

“Living with this disease has been challenging, but the support from Dr Khalid and his team helped me tremendously to cope up. I’m glad I finally stopped taking steroids after years of taking it.”

Tawam Hospital is part of the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and the biggest healthcare network and a subsidiary of the PureHealth Group – the UAE’s largest integrated healthcare platform. Treatment of lupus is available at SEHA healthcare facilities.

Dr Alnaqbi emphasised the importance of adherence to medications, doctor’s advice, clinic appointments, and follow-up tests in order to avoid complications of the disease such as kidney failure, stroke, blood clot, bleeding in the lungs, and inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart or heart muscle, and pregnancy complications.

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