NICE reverses verdict on diabetes drug

NICE is set to advise GPs they can prescribe a new first-in-class type 2 diabetes drug on the NHS, after it reversed an initial decision to reject the treatment.

Dapagliflozin should give GPs more treatment options in managing type 2 diabetes
Dapagliflozin should give GPs more treatment options in managing type 2 diabetes

Dapagliflozin (Forxiga) is a new type of blood glucose-lowering treatment called a sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitor, the first such drug to be appraised by NICE.

Dapagliflozin was originally blocked by NICE's experts in an preliminary ruling published in February, due to 'significant uncertainty' about trial results from manufacturers Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca.

But in final draft guidance published on Thursday, NICE agreed to recommend the drug to treat type 2 diabetes in combination with metformin or insulin. A final ruling will be issued in June.

The drug would offer GPs another treatment alternative for diabetic patients who do not achieve adequately controlled blood glucose levels on monotherapy.

Professor Carole Longson, director of NICE's Health Technology Evaluation Centre, said: 'We are pleased to recommend dapagliflozin for some people with type 2 diabetes. It is a serious problem in the UK and dapagliflozin provides another treatment option for some people with this condition.'

GPs would be asked to use the drug in the same manner as described for DPP4 inhibitors. However, it is not recommended for triple therapy with metformin and sulfonylurea outside of clinical trials.

NICE said that since the initial decision it had requested 'further clarification and information' from the manufacturers, and referred economic calculations to an expert panel.

This panel found the treatment was a cost effective use of NHS resources.

Dapagliflozin has already been accepted for restricted use within NHS Scotland as a treatment option for type 2 diabetes in adults.

The drug blocks the reabsorption of glucose in the kidneys and promotes excretion of excess glucose in the urine.

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