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New diabetes drugs approved for use in Scottish NHS

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Two new diabetes drugs have been accepted for restricted use by the NHS in Scotland as an add-on therapy.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium today announced that dulaglutide (Trulicity) and albiglutide (Eperzan) have been accepted for use within NHS Scotland to treat adults with type 2 diabetes.

The drugs are both glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, which are injected once a week. They act like GLP-1, a natural hormone, helping the body release its own insulin.

They are licensed in combination with other glucose-lowering medicinal products, including insulin, when together with diet and exercise they have not previously provided adequate control.

Dulaglutide 1.5mg, manufactured by Eli Lilly, will be available in Scotland as part of a triple therapy in patients with inadequate glycaemic control on two oral anti-diabetic drugs, as an alternative GLP-1 receptor agonist option.

Albiglutide 30mg and 50mg, manufactured by GSK, has been approved by the SMC for use as an alternative GLP-1 receptor agonist in combination with oral anti-diabetic agents as a third-line pre-insulin treatment option.

The SMC has also accepted four other new drugs for routine use by NHS Scotland.

Sorafenib (Nexavar) was accepted to treat a rare type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma and tolvaptan (Jinarc) was approved for treating autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, where fluid filled cysts grow in the kidneys causing a loss of kidney function.

Both were accepted after consideration under SMC’s patient and clinician engagement (PACE) process, which aims to improve patient access to new drugs for the treatment of end of life and very rare conditions.

Also accepted by the SMC was netupitant/palonosetron (Akynzeo), a combination of two medicines that can be used to prevent and treat nausea brought on by cancer chemotherapy.


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