Published on 1 November 2016

Insulin degludec (Tresiba), a once-daily, long-acting basal insulin, is now recommended for restricted use within NHS Wales to improve glycaemic (blood sugar) control in adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

The treatment is available after being approved by the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) and is recommended as an option for restricted use within NHS Wales to treat diabetes in adults where treatment with a basal insulin analogue is considered appropriate. Insulin degludec (Tresiba) is not recommended for use within NHS Wales for the treatment of young people with diabetes.

Professor Steve Bain, Assistant Medical Director for Research & Development for Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and Clinical Lead for the Diabetes Research Unit, Wales, said: “The announcement by the AWMSG is great news for prescribers and people living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes in Wales. All people with diabetes have bespoke needs so it’s good news that we now have access to an alternative treatment option to help manage the condition.”  

The once-daily insulin treatment could help people with diabetes improve their blood sugar levels

More than 188,000 people are living with diabetes in Wales and a further 540,000 people are at high risk of developing the condition. NHS Wales currently spends around £500 million per year on diabetes, equating to 10% of its annual health budget. Of this, 80% is spent on managing complications, most of which could be prevented, including the effects of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels).

On a day-to-day basis, hypoglycaemia (hypos) can range from mild to severe and can greatly impact on quality of life. Symptoms may include trembling, hunger, blurred vision and in extreme cases; confusion and disorientation, nightmares, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

Professor Bain added: “Unfortunately, for many of my patients whose blood sugar levels are controlled with insulin, hypoglycaemia is a common and problematic issue. Clinical trials have shown insulin degludec can help people experiencing hypoglycaemia, so today’s news means that clinicians like myself can have added confidence in an additional treatment option to offer adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.”

Read the AWMSG recommendation

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