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Diabetes drug approved for NHS use

A once-daily diabetes treatment, which controls the condition in overweight type 2 sufferers, has been approved for limited use on the NHS.

Liraglutide, otherwise known as Victoza, has been available in the UK since July 2009, but has only just gained approval from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) following investigations into whether it is a clinically and cost-effective option for sufferers.

NICE said a 1.2 mg injection of liraglutide could be given with two anti-diabetic tablets to obese patients with type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the condition in the UK.

Further investigations have been called for by NICE to determine whether the drug could be used with only one anti-diabetic, opening the door for its widespread availability on the NHS.

Liraglutide is the latest GLP-1 drug that stimulates the release of insulin only when blood glucose levels become too high in patients.

As well as lowering glucose levels accordingly, it also suppresses appetite among users.

The drug's maker, Danish pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk, said it would be in touch with NICE later in the year concerning final guidance for liraglutide.

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