Cuba develops anti-arthritis drug

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Havana, Feb 17 (IANS/EFE) Cuban scientists have developed a “promising” drug for chronic joint diseases to replace a product to which the island does not have access due to an economic embargo by the US, government media reported.

Chromic phosphate 32P is a radioactive medication developed by the Isotope Centre under the ministry of science, technology and environment to replace American product Fosfocol.

It would be useful in treating chronic joint diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and degenerative osteoarthritis associated with synovitis and haemophilia, according to the Juventud Rebelde daily.

The medication is administered by injection into inflamed joints to reduce pain and improve function, a treatment that allows the patient to avoid painful operations.

Enrique Garcia, head of the nuclear medicine department at Havana’s Enrique Garcia Teaching Hospital, said that because of the economic embargo the US imposed on Cuba in 1962, it was “impossible” to import Fosfocol, which is the drug traditionally used to treat conditions of this kind.

Because of that, Cuban patients in need of such treatment have had to be subjected to “complex operations that require long recovery times and postoperative limitations”, Garcia said.

In Cuba, there are currently about 115,000 people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.


Filed under: Medicine, World, arthritis
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