The type 2 diabetes drug Ozempic (semaglutide) has been approved for use by the European Commission (EC).

The decision follows US approval for the once-weekly injectable drug in December last year.

A glucagon-like peptide-1 (GPL-1) drug, Ozempic is indicated as monotherapy for adults with type 2 diabetes who are unable to control their blood sugar levels through metformin, and also an addition to other medication.

The EC’s decision to approve Ozempic was based on findings from the SUSTAIN trials, which involved more than 8,000 people with type 2 diabetes. In five trials, Ozempic was found to lower HbA1c levels, reduce the risk of heart disease and aid weight loss. The drug also outperformed another GLP-1 agonist, Bydureon (exenatide), in one of the trials.

Mads Krogsgaard Thomse, executive vice president and chief science officer for Novo Nordisk, said: “We are very excited about the approval of Ozempic in the EU, as we believe it has the potential to set a new standard for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.”

Ozempic is expected to be launched later this year. The drug will be available in 0.5mg and 1.0mg doses, and is to be administered once a week using a dedicated prefilled pen device.

Much work has gone into finding more convenient ways for people to take semaglutide. Last year findings of a study which investigated the oral version of semaglutide revealed it helped to lower blood sugar levels and hypoglycemia. However, further research is required before Novo Nordisk plans to send the oral version for approval.

Editor’s note: While new medications are approved for market, people with type 2 diabetes are finding they are able to come off medication altogether upon joining our Low Carb Program. The 10-week program helps users make lifestyle changes by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, helping to normalise their blood sugar levels. The program can also help with weight loss and improving overall health.

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