Exubera diabetes drug gets a boost from NICE

Thu, 19 Oct 2006
Earlier this year the UK diabetes community was surprised and many disgruntled when the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended that Exubera (oral insulin) not be prescribed to UK patients at all.

However, NICE have released final guidance on the subject. They remain sceptical, saying that Exubera should not be used as routine treatment. However, they have adjusted their view by saying that in some cases the drug could have a role to play . For instance, for those patients who can’t rely on other treatment options, and cannot inject insulin, Exubera should be used.

There could be several reasons why a diabetes patient cannot inject insulin, including needle phobia or problems with injection sites. Simon O’Neill, the Director of Care at UK charity Diabetes UK, said:

"Diabetes UK welcomes the revised final guidance. It is a significant step forward from the initial recommendations following the consultation process. We are pleased that needle phobias can now be diagnosed by a member of a diabetes care team rather than just mental health professionals. Also, that all HbA1c targets have been removed. However, we still believe the potential benefits in reducing the risk of complications for those who delay moving on to insulin to avoid injections have not been adequately recognised. The decision to prescribe Exubera should lie with the individual patient and his or her diabetes specialist."
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