First-in-class diabetes drug launches in UK

A novel class of blood glucose-lowering treatment for type 2 diabetes has launched in the UK after gaining European approval, offering GPs new treatment options.

Finger prick: new class of diabetes drugs approved
Finger prick: new class of diabetes drugs approved

Dapagliflozin (Forxiga) belongs to a new drug class called sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, which work by reducing the amount of glucose reabsorbed by the kidney.

This means it can be prescribed alongside other glucose-lowering drugs, including insulin, when these treatments along with changes in diet and exercise do not provide sufficient blood glucose control. It can also be used as monotherapy when metformin is not tolerated.

A study found reductions in blood glucose with dapagliflozin were similar to those in patients treated with a sulphonylurea plus metformin.

Research has also suggested dapagliflozin plus metformin can also encourage weight loss averaging 3.7kg over two years, compared with weight gain of 1.36kg among patients on sulphonylurea plus metformin.

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