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NICE recommends once-weekly diabetes drug

The NHS drugs watchdog has recommended a once-weekly injection for patients with type 2 diabetes.

Prolonged release exentide is said to offer suitable patients the potential to improve blood glucose control in a once-weekly injection with the added benefit of weight loss for some patients.

It also means the "injection burden" is reduced from once- or twice-daily to once-weekly, which is hoped to increase compliance among type 2 diabetes patients.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's (NICE) recommendation is conditional on the drug being used in combination with metformin and a sulphonylurea, or metformin and a thiazolidinedionei.

Eligible patients must also have:

• A BMI of 35 kg/m2 or higher in those of European family origin, or

• A BMI below 35 kg/m2, and therapy with insulin would have significant occupational implications

"2.25 million people in the UK are now affected by type 2 diabetes, therefore it is important that there are a range of effective treatment options, such as prolonged-release exenatide, available to them," said Professor Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director at NICE.

"Type 2 diabetes is a serious, progressive disease; I am sure all those affected will welcome this positive final draft recommendation."

NICE final guidance on the use of prolonged-release exenatide is expected to be published in February 2012.