A new once-weekly injectable drug is now available in the UK for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Dulaglutide (Trulicity) solution is a glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) receptor agonist. It is a once-weekly, injectable solution indicated to improve glycaemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes.
The treatment can be used as monotherapy, when diet and exercise alone do not provide adequate glycaemic control in patients for whom the use of metformin is considered inappropriate.
The recommended dose is 0.75mg once weekly for this indication.
It can also be used as add-on therapy, in combination with other glucose-lowering medicines, including insulin, when these have not provided adequate glycaemic control in tandem with diet and exercise.
“Anxiety about needles is something many GPs and diabetes nurse specialists hear from patients”
For the add-on indication the recommended dose is 1.5mg once a week. For potentially vulnerable patients, such as those over 75 years, 0.75mg once daily can be considered as a starting dose.
Manufacturer Eli Lilly acknowledged that some patients were reluctant to use injectable treatments, especially as some viewed it as a sign that there condition was worsening.
However, the company argued that dulaglutide may go some way towards supporting such patients, as the pre-filled pen has a hidden pre-attached needle and is ready to use.
Debbie Hicks, nurse consultant in diabetes at Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust, said: “Once oral medications are no longer providing adequate control, healthcare professionals may consider an injectable therapy as part of a long-term plan.
“Anxiety about needles is something many GPs and diabetes nurse specialists hear from patients, but options are now available that can help make the injection experience more convenient and less stressful,” she said.
“In fact, once patients have made the sometimes difficult step to move onto injectable medicines, most people find that the process becomes second nature,” she added.