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Nice approves weekly treatment for Type 2 diabetes

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued its final draft guidance on the use of Bydureon (exenatide) as a treatment option for some people with Type 2 diabetes.

Exenatide is already in use as a twice daily injection known as Byetta, but Bydureon only needs injecting once a week.

Exenatide is not insulin

Although exenatide is injected, it is not insulin and works in three ways: to help the body to produce more insulin when it is needed; reduce the amount of glucose being produced by the liver when it is not needed; and by reducing the rate at which glucose from food is released into the blood.

The NICE guidance recommends the treatment be used in conjunction with other diabetes treatments –metformin and a sulphonylurea, or metformin and a thiazolidinedione.

Exenatide is recommended for people with Type 2 diabetes whose blood glucose levels are not well controlled and have other risk factors, including a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or above. It can be used in patients with a BMI below 35 if treatment with insulin has presented problems. NICE recommends the treatment should only be continued if tests show it is having a beneficial effect after six months.

Weekly injection to widen treatment option

Simon O’Neill, Director of Care Information & Advocacy at Diabetes UK, said, “We welcome this guidance because we strongly feel that a weekly injectable exenatide will widen the treatment options for people with Type 2 diabetes who may be struggling to achieve good diabetes control. For people who are currently using exenatide and injecting it twice a day, the possibility of instead doing it once a week could really improve their quality of life.”

NICE has not yet issued final guidance to the NHS. It is likely to publish the final guidance in February 2012. Until NICE issues final guidance, NHS bodies should make decisions locally on the funding of specific treatments. Once NICE issues its guidance on a technology it replaces local recommendations in England and Wales.

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