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‘Time is now my enemy:’ Kris Aquino flies to the US for treatment

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‘Time is now my enemy:’ Kris Aquino flies to the US for treatment

TREATMENT. Kris Aquino waits to get swabbed before she flies to the United States to receive treatment for EGPA.

Screenshot from Kris Aquino's Instagram

Kris is diagnosed with the 'ultra-rare' disease EGPA
‘Time is now my enemy:’ Kris Aquino flies to the US for treatment

MANILA, Philippines – Kris Aquino is heading to Houston in the US to receive treatment for Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (EGPA), the rare, life-threatening disease that she was diagnosed with in April.

According to the American Lung Association, EGPA is “an ultra-rare disease” where there is inflammation of the blood vessels resulting in the restriction of blood flow, causing organ damage in the body if left untreated.

On Instagram on June 3, Kris shared a video update on her health as she bid goodbye before flying to the US for treatment.

“I’ll miss you – my friends and followers – very much,” she wrote in the caption of her post.

“Time is now my enemy, naghahabol kami (we’re rushing) hoping na wala pang (there is no) permanent damage to the blood vessels leading to my heart,” she wrote in the caption of her post.

“For now and the next few years – sadly, it’s goodbye. Praying na kayanin ng katawan ko itong matinding pagsubok (praying that my body can handle this extreme challenge),” she said.

In the video she posted, her doctor, Niño Gavino, explained her condition.

He said that after reviewing her medical records and history, they made a primary working diagnosis of EGPA, and proceeded to give her a steroid drug challenge in May. A drug challlenge is a medically-supervised test to see whether a patient can handle certain medicines or treatments.

Unfortunately, Kris didn’t respond well to the drug challenge, and had “severe adverse reactions which almost incapacitated her body,” he said.

“Because of her reaction to corticosteroids, we are unable to treat her with it, hence we reinforced our recommendation for her to go to the United States to undergo treatment with Nucala (Mepolizumab), a non-steroid, FDA-approved treatment for EGPA,” he said, adding that Nucala is only available in the US and is not yet FDA-approved in Singapore or the Philippines.

He went on to detail her treatment plan, and said that they will start treatment with Nucala after giving her blood tests and reevaluating her autoimmune markers and the status of her internal organs.

“The subsequent 9 to 12 months will be crucial for us to see if she can achieve remission and continue the regimen further because to survive, Ms. Aquino will have to make whichever combination works her lifetime maintenance medicine,” Niño said.

He said that with no medical intervention, the life expectancy of EGPA patients is at 25%, while the five-year survival rate with proper treatment is 62%.

“Only one in every 1 million people get this form of vasculitis per year. That is how rare and hard to treat Ms. Aquino’s case is,” he said.

He told Kris that barring complications, it will take at least 18 to 24 months before they can definitely know if her treatments worked and if her condition is in remission.

Kris, 51, has been in declining health since March, when she disclosed that she was diagnosed with erosive gastritis and gastric ulcer. She has been undergoing medical tests and treatments since 2018, when she revealed that she had an autoimmune disease. – 

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