ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A new sickle cell drug could have a health improving impact in Southwest Georgia.
The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new drug called Endari to reduce acute complications of sickle cell disease in adult and pediatric patients.
This is the first new drug for the disease in nearly two decades.
Sickle cell disease is an inherited disorder in which the red blood cells are shaped like a sickle, which limits the flow of vital oxygen to organs and tissues.
There's a higher percentage of residents in Southwest Georgia who have the disease, and it is typically higher in African Americans.
Phoebe Putney Hospital treats about 200 patients in the region.
"Even if it improves things by 25 percent could have a great impact. They'll even have to less often come get treated in the outpatient clinic for pain or even have to be admitted to the hospital," said Phoebe Hematologist & Oncologist Dr. Robert Krywicki.
Phoebe has a sickle cell clinic that helps patients be more proactive with their health to prevent crises.
The hospital was the first to have a fast track program in Southwest Georgia where doctors immediately treat patients who experience chronic pain to shorten their time in the hospital.
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