Scottish Regulators Approve Forxiga for the NHS
Patients with diabetes in Scotland have gained routine access to AstraZeneca/ Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Forxiga on the UK National Health Service (NHS) after it was considered cost-effective by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC).
The SMC have dispensed guidance to healthcare professionals approving the use of the first-in-class drug Forxiga (BMS-512148) in adults with type 2 diabetes in combination with metformin, when metformin alone with diet and exercise does not provide adequate glycaemic control and use of a sulphonylurea is inappropriate.
The drug gained European regulatory approval in November 2012, and became the first sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor to hit the market.
Forxiga has a unique mode of action that decreases the amount of glucose reabsorbed by the body, meaning that it can be taken together with other glucose-lowering therapies, such as insulin, to help boost glycaemic control.
Forxiga’s approval in Europe was founded on a comprehensive clinical trial programme comprising of 5,693 patients, which demonstrated that a considerably higher percentage of those taking the drug hit HbA1c targets in comparison to those on the control arm.
Roughly 200,000 people in Scotland currently have type 2 diabetes, and cases are on the increase, stressing the burning need for new therapies to help cushion the disease’s effects.
Critically, the drug was also connected with weight loss – sustained for two years – a particularly pertinent possible advantage given that many diabetics are also overweight; in Scotland 80% of patients with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.
Despite present treatments too many diabetes patients still fail to meet their blood glucose targets, which are critical to avoid serious consequences such as blindness, kidney failure and stroke. Therefore the accessibility of a new option to help control the disease will no doubt be welcomed news for both healthcare professionals and patients.