A new type of treatment for people with type 2 diabetes is now available for use in the UK and the rest of Europe.
Qtern is a fixed dose combination of saxagliptin (marketed as Onglyza) and dapagliflozin (marketed as Forxiga) which comes in the form of a tablet that is taken once a day.
Qtern was approved by the European Commission in July 2016 for use in adults with type 2 diabetes who do not have adequate blood sugar control with metformin and/or sulphonylurea..
The approval of the AstraZeneca drug came after trials involving more than 1,160 adults with type 2 diabetes who displayed improvements in their HbA1c.
The drug combines 5mg of saxaglipti, a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor, with 10mg dapagliflozin 10mg, a sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor.
Dr Luigi Gnudi, professor of diabetes and metabolic medicine and head of the unit for metabolic medicine, cardiovascular division, King’s College London, Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, said: “DPP-4 inhibitors and SGLT2 inhibitors are commonly prescribed together as they have complementary mechanisms of action to help improve glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes.
“Being available together in a single tablet provides another treatment option that can help to improve glycemic control while reducing the pill burden. As a complex, progressive disease with many comorbidities, this is a welcome development for patients.”
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will not be reviewing Qter, so any decisions for it to be used by the health service will be made by NHS England at local level.
The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) and All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) will assess the drug later this year.

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