New Type 1 drug

A drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes has now been recommended for use on the NHS in certain groups of people with Type 1 diabetes.

Following approval for use across Europe, dapagliflozin – the first of its kind in Type 1 diabetes treatments – is a once-a-day pill which, when used alongside standard insulin therapy, could significantly improve long-term health outcomes for many people with the condition. It’s estimated that up to a third of people with Type 1 in England and Wales could be eligible for the drug.

In 2018, JDRF advised NICE that dapagliflozin can offer substantial benefits for people with Type 1 diabetes. It helps to reduce blood glucose levels by stopping the kidneys absorbing glucose into the body and instead passed out in the urine. Previous clinical trials showed that, when used alongside insulin, the drug helped to lower HbA1c levels without increasing hypos.

The drug will only be offered as an option to those who find managing blood glucose levels challenging, but who also have a BMI over 27 and – amongst other criteria – are aware of how to spot and treat diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This is because some side effects of the drug include weight loss and increased risk of DKA.

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