KUWAIT: The latest breakthrough treatment for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) has been officially launched in Kuwait. The Ministry of Health approved the first oral short-course treatment by leading science and technology company - Merck, which provides up to 4 years of disease control after being taken orally for just 20 days over 2 years. MAVENCLAD (Cladribine Tablets) was launched yesterday at the Salwa Al-Sabah Conference Center in Kuwait City in the presence of healthcare professionals from across the region.

One of the most common neurological conditions in the world, Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune condition, wherein the body attacks itself by progressively destroying the myelin sheaths that protect the nerves in the brain and spine, thus disrupting the flow of information between brain and body. 2.3 million people have been diagnosed worldwide according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, while it usually affects those between the ages of 20 and 40. In Kuwait, there has been an increase in the prevalence of Multiple Sclerosis over the years, and a study between 2010 to 2013 identified 1,176 MS patients of which 78.1 percent were Kuwaiti's and the remaining 21.2 percent expatriates.
"As healthcare professionals, we always seek to offer our patients the best treatment options and care and we look forward to having them accessible in Kuwait. The introduction of this unparalleled and breakthrough treatment will offer hope to many patients who have been dealing with this disease. Not only does it renew hope, it also helps provide them with a better quality of life", said Dr Raed Roughani, Consultant Neurologist; Director of MS Clinic at Al Amiri. "I am very happy that they can now look to a more hopeful future" he added.

With symptoms varying among patients, diagnosis and treatment solutions have proven challenging over the years, however, the latest treatment is the outcome of more than 14 years of dedicated research and is the first-time patients can be up to 75 percent relapse free for four years after administering the course. People with relapsing multiple sclerosis are uncertain about when the next flare up might occur, and often find it difficult to perform day-to-day activities such as buttoning a shirt or having a small walk which can cause discomfort and affect the quality of life.

"While there's no permanent cure just yet, this treatment has come the closest so far, and helps to restore a significant degree of normalcy in the lives of patients. It is also very easy to administer in the comfort of the patients own home, without the need for frequent hospital visits, and also reduces overall cost of treatment. We are grateful to the Ministry of Health Kuwait for their unwavering efforts to enhance their healthcare offering and for making this groundbreaking treatment accessible to its citizens," said Yasser Tawfik, General Manager - GCC Region (Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries ).