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Diabetes prescriptions rise by 74 per cent

The number of items being prescribed for diabetes has increased 74 per cent, from 4.7 million items the quarter January to March 2002 to 8.2 million items in July to September 2008.

The total number includes items such as tablets, insulin and blood glucose monitors.

Bridget Turner, head of healthcare policy at Diabetes UK, said: "Undoubtedly, the huge rise in the number of people with Type 2 diabetes is a major factor in the increase in diabetes prescribing.

Increase in Type 2 diabetes cases

"In the UK, there are currently 2.25 million people with Type 2 diabetes compared to around 1.5 million five years ago.

"Type 2 diabetes is a life-long and progressive condition. People may start managing their condition with diet and physical activity, but many will eventually have to go on to tablets and around 80% of people with Type 2 diabetes need to take tablets to achieve good diabetes management.

"People with Type 2 diabetes often have to take a large variety of tablets to maintain blood glucose, blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, to reduce the risk of serious diabetes complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and amputations.

"Most of the NHS budget on diabetes is spent on treating the complications of diabetes. Therefore, it is essential to help people manage their diabetes as effectively as possible."

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