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New SGLT-2 drug approved by NICE to treat diabetes

A new treatment option for type 2 diabetes has been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

NICE has issued final guidance recommending canagliflozin (Invokana) as an option for lowering blood glucose levels in some people with type 2 diabetes.

Marketed by Janssen-Cilag, canagliflozin is an oral, once-daily drug belonging to a class called sodium glucose co-transporter (SGLT-2) inhibitors.

It works by blocking the reabsorption of glucose in the kidneys, which is instead passed out of the body in the urine.

Canagliflozin is recommended when used in combination with other anti-diabetic drugs, including insulin, for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

NICE recommends canagliflozin to be used as a treatment for adults with type 2 diabetes, as either:

  • Dual therapy: in combination with metformin, only if a sulfonylurea is contraindicated or not tolerated, or where the person is at significant risk of hypoglycaemia or its consequences
  • Triple therapy: in combination with metformin and a sulfonylurea, or metformin and thiazolidinedione
  • In combination with insulin: with or without other antidiabetic therapies

Professor Carole Longson, director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “Treatment needs can vary from person to person which means clinicians need access to a number of drugs if they are to successfully control type 2 diabetes.

Professor Carole Longson

Carole Longson

“With this new positive recommendation for canagliflozin, we have added another clinically and cost effective option to the armoury of anti-diabetic drugs,” she added.

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