diabetes insulin penThe Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has issued advice stating that Onglyza® (saxagliptin) is now accepted for use within NHS Scotland in adult patients aged 18 years and older as combination therapy with insulin (with or without metformin) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, when this regimen alone, with diet and exercise, does not provide adequate glycaemic control. 

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease and most patients will eventually require insulin. Therefore, the announcement is a significant development for these patients in Scotland as it means that they will have access to an additional treatment option through NHS Scotland, to help maintain blood glucose control at that stage of their condition. 

Dr Kevin Fernando, GP Partner at North Berwick Health Centre, commented, “In my clinical experience, many type 2 diabetes patients taking insulin require additional therapies over time to manage their blood glucose levels. Until now, there has been no DPP-4 inhibitor accepted for use in combination with insulin through NHS Scotland. Today’s announcement by the SMC means that more patients will have access to this effective treatment option, providing increased choice for clinicians and patients in NHS Scotland when deciding on the most appropriate treatment alongside insulin.”

There are approximately 221,500 people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in Scotland and possibly a further 43,000 undiagnosed. In Scotland alone it is anticipated that approximately 16,800 new cases of type 2 diabetes are diagnosed each year. 

Saxagliptin is taken as a once-daily tablet (5mg or 2.5mg according to level of kidney function) and can be taken at any time of day, with or without food and with no requirement for increasing the dose.