The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has reconsidered its stance on the diabetes drug Tresiba (insulin degludec) and on Tuesday recommended it to treat Scottish NHS patients with diabetes.
Tresiba, a once-daily, long-acting basal insulin, can now be prescribed by NHS Scotland to people with either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes to improve their blood sugar levels.
The drug lasts for up to 42 hours, which enables doses to be taken at different times of day, if required, without impacting on blood glucose control.
Tresiba is already approved for use in Europe and it is available in England and Wales on the NHS. But until now, the SMC has refused to recommend Tresiba on NHS Scotland.
The recommendation finally came following the results of several new studies reporting that insulin degludec was equal to other long-acting insulin analogues in reducing HbA1c in diabetes patients.
In addition to offering more flexibility in terms of when the drug can be take, Tresiba has also shown benefits in terms of reducing exposure to nocturnal hypoglycemia.
Tresiba, which is manufactured by Novo Nordisk, is recommended for Scottish adults and adolescent patients and children over the age of one living with diabetes.
A recent report by Diabetes UK found that Scotland has the worst record of HbA1c in the western world, and the findings have been welcomed by experts.
Dr Russell Drummond, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, said: “A larger portfolio of treatment is beneficial to our practice and insulin degludec, in particular, has a place in treatment for adults with diabetes, particularly those with type 1 diabetes who face challenges with hypoglycemia on insulin therapy.”
Rahul Kapur, Head of Medical Affairs at Novo Nordisk UK, added, “We are delighted to be able to offer people with diabetes in Scotland access to a treatment that can help to manage blood glucose levels, and to help with some of the challenges associated with insulin, like hypoglycemia.”

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