Ozempic is a once-weekly GLP-1 analogue injection, launched by Novo Nordisk UK, as a means to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It works by mimicking the function of the GLP-1 hormone produced in the gut that lowers post-meal blood glucose levels and also slows glucose absorption into the bloodstream. According to Novo Nordisk, Ozempic should be used alongside diet and exercise as a single treatment for type 2 diabetes when metformin is considered inappropriate due to intolerance. Metformin is a medicine currently used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is usually the first treatment offered to patients with type 2 diabetes when diet and exercise alone have not been enough to control blood sugar levels.
Being able to offer medicines such as Ozempic, which patients only need to take once a week, is an important step in helping to control the condition and reducing those risks
Steve Bain, Professor of Medicine (Diabetes) at Swansea University Metformin lowers blood sugar levels by improving the way the body handles insulin. It comes in both tablet and liquid form. Ozempic can also be used in addition to other medicinal products when type 2 diabetes is insufficiently controlled. The EU licensing of Ozempic is based on results from the SUSTAIN clinical trial programme – a global development programme comprising eight phase 3a trials with over 8,000 adults with type 2 diabetes. Results from the programme, according to Novo Nordisk, “consistently demonstrated superior glycaemic control” and “supertios and sustained” weight loss compared to dulaglutide, exenatide once weekly, sitagliptin and insulin glargine U100 – all medicines used to treat type 2 diabetes. Results also showed cardiovascular benefits versus a placebo, both in addition to standard of care in people with type 2 diabetes at high risk of cardiovascular events.
“We know that people with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes are at risk of serious complications and that can have a real impact on their lives,” said Steve Bain, Professor of Medicine (Diabetes) at Swansea University and Clinical Lead for the Diabetes Research Network, Wales. “Being able to offer medicines such as Ozempic, which patients only need to take once a week, is an important step in helping to control the condition and reducing those risks.” There are currently over four million people in the UK living with diabetes, of which 3.7 million are diagnosed. One in every 11 people in England are at risk of developing the condition – making it the “fastest-growing health threat facing the country”, according to Novo Nordisk.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death and disability in people with type 2 diabetes worldwide.
Different types of diabetes
People with type 2 diabetes are up to twice more likely to die prematurely from avoidable complications than those without the condition, Diabetes UK recently warned. In 2016/17, data from NHS digital showed 33 per cent of people living with type 2 diabetes did not meet their blood glucose target, while nine out of 10 are overweight or obese. Ozempic is available in 0.25mg as the starting dose that patients will take once a week for four weeks. Patients will then move up to 0.5mg once a week. After at least four weeks this dose can be increased to 1.0mg once-weekly to further improve glycaemic control if necessary. “When type 2 diabetes is well managed, the risk of life-changing and life-limiting complications can be reduced,” said Dr Avideh Nazeri, Director of Clinical, Medical and Regulatory for Novo Nordisk. “Novo Nordisk is proud to bring Ozempic to people living with type 2 diabetes in the UK. We believe the clinical profile of Ozempic will help to meet the real and serious needs of those living with this condition.”