Source: Vientiane Times
Long-term consumption of alcohol is one of the main causes of hepatitis and death from liver disease.
Unfortunately, most people in Laos are unaware of the drugs available to treat the condition and ways to prevent alcoholic hepatitis while the prevention and treatment of hepatitis in Laos is limited, according to a specialist at Mahosot hospital, Dr Sengdao Vannarath.
Dr Sengdao explained that after drinking alcohol, the alcohol is absorbed from the digestive tract into the bloodstream and metabolised in the liver.
He was speaking at a meeting to discuss the role of the drug metadoxine in the management of liver conditions.
Meeting participants discussed patient management through clinical case presentations and assessments, and the epidemiology and mechanisms of alcohol-related liver disease.
They shared the latest knowledge on hepatitis with the Belgian pharmaceutical company Eurodrug and discussed the use and benefits of metadoxine in patients who face different situations and challenges.
Specialists from Laos, Thailand and Malaysia brainstormed ideas on actions for the better management of viral hepatitis through the use of metadoxine.
Director General of the Centre for Medical Equipment and Drug Supply under the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Many Thammavong, said Viengthong Pharma Import-Export Co., Ltd. had recently been authorised to import metadoxine drug for use in the treatment of alcoholic hepatitis.
This was an important step in the government’s goal to strengthen health services and the health ministry’s policy to improve the treatment of alcohol-associated liver disease, he said.
Mr Sihamano Bannavong, the CEO of Viengthong Pharma Import-Export Co., Ltd., said cooperation between Eurodrug and Viengthong Pharma would enable the supply of metadoxine for the treatment of alcoholic hepatitis.
Viengthong Pharma Import-Export Co., Ltd. is a privately owned company which operates to international standards, he said.
The company has grown to become one of the leading pharmaceutical companies importing and distributing medicines, medical equipment, laboratory equipment/reagents and health supplements in Laos.
Eurodrug’s Business Development Manager for Asia, based in Malaysia, Ms Htoo Htoo Mai, said the use of metadoxine in Malaysia and Europe had shown that the drug accelerates alcohol elimination and decreases alcohol craving and consumption.
Studies have demonstrated promising results with oral metadoxine in patients with alcoholic liver disease who remained abstinent as well as in those who continued drinking, as described in an article published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2011.
The article was titled “Life-Saving Drug in Severe Alcoholic Hepatitis Reduces Steatosis in Alcoholic Liver Disease and Improves Liver Function in Alcoholic Liver Disease”.
In America, it is reported that the death rate due to alcohol-related diseases is 5.5 per 100,000 people.
According to the Centre Infectiology Lao-Christophe Mérieux under the Lao Ministry of Health, about 400 million people worldwide are chronically infected with hepatitis. More than one million people die due to complications from viral hepatitis every year.