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Lupus patients are struggling to get an important medicine in SA


South Africans suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is not able to gain access to a single medicine, developed for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, because so far not registered here.

Although belimumab, known under the brand name of Benlysta, was registered in 2011 in the US, SA Health Products Authority still has not given permission for its use in South Africa.

A little about lupus awareness

This is according to Susan van der Walt of the Lupus Foundation of South Africa, which is struggling for seven years to get registered Benlysta.

Lupus with & # 39 is a chronic and complex autoimmune disease in which the sufferer's immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake. This can affect the joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels of the human, causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage.

South Africa treats lupus with steroids, chemotherapy and anti-rejection drugs suppress the entire immune system, whereas the purpose of BENLYSTA specific immune cells.

Van der Walt said that, while the cases of lupus, seems to be growing, little was known about it.

"As a private organization, we do as much as possible, to create awareness, but our government should take part and understand what lupus with & # 39 is a huge problem that must be solved. Proper treatment also must be registered and available in the country, "she said.

Women aged 15 to 44 years are likely to suffer from this disease, but it can affect anyone.

"Everything hurt"

Rashni Nirvana Harichand (41) had pain in his left arm from the wrist to her fingers. At first she thought she had hurt herself and took painkillers.

"It lasted for a few weeks until I could not do anything with my left hand to hold. The pain is gone all the way from the left chest down to my toes. Pain that feels like pins and needles, and was very sensitive. "

She decided to seek medical help and after blood tests said she was a "mixed connective tissue."

"I was terrified and did not know what to do. I went for a second opinion, and said that I had carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and that I would be well after the operation. "

But less than a week on the medication for CTS, her body swell and everything hurts.

"I went for a third opinion, and said that I had lupus. Two years later and I'm still trying to understand lupus, but I deal with it on their own terms, "she said.

Attempts to get comment from the health department did not succeed. – Health-e News

Image credit: Istock

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