Published on 19 October 2023

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published new guidance for treatment to improve self-management of type 2 diabetes.

Around 180,000 people with difficult to manage type 2 diabetes could benefit from a new treatment option recommended by NICE.

Tirzepatide, also known as Mounjaro and developed by Eli Lilly, has been recommended in final draft guidance recently issued by NICE for treating poorly controlled type 2 diabetes in adults alongside diet and exercise.

According to recent figures, more than 5 million people in the UK are living with diabetes, of which around 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

The independent NICE committee recognised the importance of new treatment options as almost two thirds of people living with type 2 diabetes do not have it under control with current medicines.

Poor control of the condition can lead to serious complications including kidney disease, eye problems (including blindness), stroke and heart attack.

Evidence from clinical trials showed using tirzepatide resulted in significant reductions in blood sugar levels and body weight, when compared with semaglutide, insulin therapy or a placebo.

Studies found that using tirzepatide resulted in 81% to 97% of people reaching better glucose control and 54% to 88% reaching a 5% or greater reduction in body weight, significantly more than other treatments in the study.

The committee made the positive recommendation following additional research and modelling on clinical and cost-effectiveness provided by the company after the initial consultation.

Helen Knight, director of medicines evaluation at NICE, said: “There are very few new medicines being developed to treat difficult to manage type 2 diabetes. Our committee recognised the potential tirzepatide has to provide an effective and good value treatment option for all those living with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes.”

“Poorly controlled type 2 diabetes, with its associated additional health risks, is a huge challenge for those living with the condition and the NHS. This recommendation will offer fresh hope for many and provide value for money for the taxpayer.”

Final guidance was recently published, with the product will be made available in the NHS within 90 days (from 25th October), dependent on the supply of licensed product by the manufacturer.

Tirzepatide is injected weekly by the patient and licensed to treat adults with insufficiently controlled type 2 diabetes alongside diet and exercise when metformin (the main first line medicine for type 2 diabetes) cannot be tolerated.

In its submission to NICE the company positioned it as an option for a narrower population - adults with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled with three or more antidiabetic drugs. This makes it an alternative to similar treatments such as dulaglutide, liraglutide and semaglutide (ozempic/rybelsus) which are already recommended for use in the NHS.

Read the full final draft guidance for tirzepatide for treating type 2 diabetes on the NICE website.

Read more about type 2 diabetes

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