Olga Shcherbinina, the otorhinolaryngologist, Ph.D. in Medicine, Deputy chief medical officer in «My medical center» clinic in Gelendzhik (formerly named MMC by «SOGAZ»), Member of St. Petersburg and Russian scientific societies of otorhinolaryngologists spoke about her work and participation in the creation of Olyfrin - a moisturizer for the nasal mucosa.
- Olga, how long have you been working in otorhinolaryngology?
I have dreamed of becoming a doctor since childhood. When I was at school at the grade one class, in one of my copybooks on the last page I left a note: «I want to become a doctor». This copybook is still kept by my parents. The dream came true.
I have graduated from the medical institute, completed residency training and postgraduate studies. I have been working as an otorhinolaryngologist since 2000. This area of expertise is very informative. Using diagnostic techniques that are in the doctor's office, the diagnosis can be often made at the initial consultation. And using modern technologies in treatment allows to provide high-quality, safe, and effective medical care for patients. My profession allows me to get moral satisfaction when I see the positive results of my work. It is very pleasant to help people, to make them healthy and happy.
- Where are you working now?
Since 2012, I have been working at the «My medical center» Group of clinics (formerly named «SOGAZ Healthcare» Group of clinics) in St. Petersburg and now in Gelendzhik. In 2018 in Gelendzhik, our clinic was opened, which became a part of the «My medical center» Group of companies. The project was implemented jointly with PJSC Rosneft Oil Company as a part of the Gelendzhik resort infrastructure development program. Now «My medical center» in Gelendzhik is presented by: skilled medical staff, high-quality and safe healthcare provision, modern licensed medical equipment, respectful and friendly attitude towards each visitor, which is supported by mutual trust between employees and patients.
- Tell us more about the patients. What symptoms and problems do they face with?
Difficulty in nasal breathing is one of the most common complaints among patients who visit the otorhinolaryngologist. The main reasons are acute viral infections of the upper air passages, the manifestations of which are acute rhinitis, recrudescence of chronic rhinitis, rhinosinusitis polyposa. Also, difficulty in nasal breathing can be caused by anatomical features - nasal septum deviation, turbinate hypertrophy, neoplasms of the nasal cavity. There are practically no distinct regional features in our country. In the south, despite the warm climate, many specific risk factors contribute to the development of nasal pathologies. For example, hypothermia from air conditioning systems, sudden temperature changes, pathogenic flora of sea water and other factors.
The most urgent problem in the clinical practice of the ENT specialist is the treatment of chronic rhinitis and sinusitis. Frequent symptoms during the patient’s treatment are nasal congestion, difficulty in nasal breathing, runny nose, pain in the projection of the paranasal sinuses. Despite the progress made in the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases, pathology is widespread, and at the initial consultation it is presented among the predominant number of patients in the morbidity structure.
The main functions of the nasal cavity are mechanical cleaning, moisturizing, warming the inhaled air, protection from the penetration of extraneous particles. The implementation of all these functions is possible due to the mucous membrane, which is covered with multirowed epithelium, consisting of ciliated, goblet and intercalated epithelial cells. Due to the movement of ciliated epithelial cells, settled dust and microorganisms are expelled from the nasal cavity, and the secretion of goblet cells moisturizes the inhaled air and the mucous membrane of the nasal cavity, preventing from drying and ensuring the normal functioning of the ciliated epithelium. Many factors can disrupt the functioning of the ciliated epithelium: the anatomical features of the nasal cavity, occupational hazards, atmospheric toxic substances impact, decrease in the humidity of the inhaled air, and use of pharmacological drugs. In particular, endonasal use of vasoconstrictor drugs, local antibacterial drugs, intranasal glucocorticosteroids can disrupt the complex mechanism of the nasal mucosa functioning. As a result - a change in the viscosity and rheological properties of the nasal secretion, which leads to dryness of the mucous membrane, burning, discomfort in the nasal cavity.
- What treatments did you use to avoid the side effects of vasoconstrictor drugs?
To moisten the mucous membrane, oil applications were previously used on the mucous membrane of the nasal cavity. Currently, when prescribing endonasal drugs, I recommend Olyfrin for moisturizing the nasal mucosa to all patients.
- Tell us how did you become a part of the story behind the creation of Olyfrin?
In 2014, one fine spring day, a patient visited me and during the conversation he clarified what drug was insufficient in the ENT doctor daily practice. Despite the variety of agents for endonasal use, there were no oily solutions for moisturizing the nasal mucosa in the spray form on the Russian market. There was also observed a very low patient compliance with the use of oily solutions for mucosal applications. And the drug in the spray form was simply necessary. Oleg Zherebtsov, General Director of Solopharm, turned out to be my patient that day.
Thus, the interaction between Solopharm and me began. Oleg organized a very interesting excursion on the plant, where laboratories and production lines were shown. All processes were carried out in compliance with sanitary and epidemiological rules for the medicines production. The main criteria and properties for the future drug were discussed, and the development process began.
- What difficulties did you face? And how were they overcome?
A long and interesting path has been passed from the idea to the Olyfrin creation, which today can be purchased at any pharmacy.
During this time, about 20 types of samples were offered for testing for the employees of the ENT department of «My medical center» in St. Petersburg. Then they stopped at 3 and after 2 weeks of testing a sample was determined. On the basis of this sample the Olyfrin drug was registered.
- Are there any new things that you have learned about Solopharm while working with the company?
It was very comfortable and interesting to work with the Solopharm team. I have learned a lot about the drug production process and production conditions. Any issues were resolved, and comments were eliminated as soon as possible. And Olyfrin is a result of our joint work.
- When do you recommend using Olyfrin?
Olyfrin is intended for the nasal cavity care and is prescribed for children from 3 years old and adults.
The agent can moisturize, eliminate the symptomatic manifestations of dryness (irritation, itching, burning), promote healing and create a protective barrier of the nasal mucosa due to the sodium hyaluronate in its composition. The product also contains lemon oil and racemic α-tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), which, due to its antioxidant properties, has an anti-inflammatory effect.
- What feedback from patients did you receive after using Olyfrin?
Positive reviews. They spoke about reduction of dryness and discomfort in the nasal cavity, which were previously presented with the use of vasoconstrictor drugs.
- What recommendations to your colleagues can you give for managing the patients with dryness / burning / those who use vasoconstrictors?
It must be remembered that only an otorhinolaryngologist will help determine the cause of the unpleasant symptom and prescribe the correct treatment. In the complex therapy of diseases of the nasal cavity, as well as for patients in the postoperative period, Olyfrin moisturizes the mucous membrane of the nasal cavity and eliminates the symptomatic manifestations of dryness (irritation, itching, burning).