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Almirall focuses on areas with unmet medical needs. We aim to provide valuable medicines, to help improve health and wellbeing for you and your patients. Our solutions focus on important diseases, where we try to make a real difference to people's lives.

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis (AK) develops as a result of chronic UV damage in skin areas that are constantly exposed to sunlight. Descriptions such as solar keratosis, senile keratosis and age keratosis are frequently used as synonyms. Due to many years of repeated sun damage, the genetic information in the cells of the uppermost skin layer (keratinocytes) changes so that they are reformed more quickly. This cornification disorder is marked, among other symptoms, by a sandpaper-like rough skin surface and a varying degree of skin scaling.

 

In Europe, a prevalence of 15% in men and 6% in women has been documented in a report from the UK. Over the age of 70, 34% of males and 18% of females were found to have AKs (Memon et al., 2000). The highest prevalence rates are found in countries that are both close to the equator and have large fair-skinned populations, such as Australia (Queensland) where rates of AKs over 55% of men between 30-70 and 37% of women have been reported (Frost et al., 2000).

Today, it is known that actinic keratosis is an early form of non-melanoma skin cancer. In contrast to other forms of skin cancer, however, actinic keratosis is not malignant, as it only affects the top-most skin layer. This layer does not have any blood vessels and the degenerate cells can therefore not spread with actinic keratosis, i.e. they cannot form any metastases. In around 10% of cases, they can, however, become a malignant form of skin cancer. Actinic keratosis can be very thoroughly and easily treated.

Eczema

Eczema is one of the most common inflammatory skin diseases. Often job-related, eczema is characterised by itching and inflammation of the skin. As a collective term, eczema incorporates a number of inflammatory skin diseases that have different causes but always progress in a similar manner.

An acute eczema typically starts with a reddening of the skin areas affected, mostly accompanied by itching, swelling, blister formation and weeping. As the disease progresses, crusts form and, in the healing phase, the skin becomes scaly. Acute eczema is often also called ‘dermatitis'.

Acute eczema is differentiated from chronic eczema, which regresses only with difficulty and is characterised by slightly different symptoms. In the chronic phase, the skin tends to be dry, scaly and itchy. There are no highly inflammatory signs such as blister formation and weeping. The skin, however, is marked by strong lines (‘lichenification').

The causes and appearance of eczema are diverse. A fundamental distinction is made between the following forms of eczema:

  • Atopic eczema (neurodermatitis)
  • Acute or chronic contact eczema (allergic or irritating/toxic)
  • Nummular eczema
  • Seborrhoeic eczema

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory, non-infectious skin disease. Substantial, plaque-like deposits of scaly skin on inflamed skin are characteristic of psoriasis. However, the inflammation is not necessarily restricted to the skin.

Psoriasis patients suffer more frequently from certain internal illnesses. These include Crohn's disease and colitis ulcerosa (inflammatory intestinal diseases), psoriasis arthritis, diabetes mellitus type II, coronary disease, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome (accompanied by increased blood lipid values, arteriosclerosis, excess weight, increased blood sugar levels or high blood pressure).

Psoriasis can occur in various forms. Depending on how the illness manifests itself on the skin, a distinction is made between different forms of psoriasis. The most common form of psoriasis is psoriasis vulgaris, also called plaque-type psoriasis. Around 80% of psoriasis patients suffer from this form of the illness.

Spasticity in MS

MS is one of the most common neurological disorders and causes of disability in young adults. It affects more than 600,000 people in Europe [+ info] and an estimated two million people worldwide, although it is likely that many hundreds of thousands around the world remain undiagnosed. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 30, a higher prevalence in women with a ratio of 3 to 2. The progression of the disease and associated symptoms are unpredictable and can vary widely among individuals. It is not yet known what causes MS and as yet, there is no cure.

Spasticity is a symptom defined by patients and carers as experiencing muscle spasms, stiffness, rigidity and/or impaired movement, and is one of the most common symptoms of MS, occurring in as many as 84% of sufferers. Spasticity can affect many aspects of MS patients' daily lives, and is a major contributor to their distress and disability .[+ info]