A weekly treatment for Diabetes
Compliance with treatment regimes is a big problem in healthcare. If people don’t take medication regularly, it can cause lots of problems. Bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics is just one example, if a course is not completed.
Many chronic conditions require ongoing treatment. If the treatment is not taken at the right dose, at the right time, it may not work. Diabetes is just one example. About 4 million people in the UK have Diabetes, with 90% estimated to be Type 2, which is preventable.
A bitter pill to swallow
Most patients who are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes will be asked to take medication. The aim is to control the disease and prevent further problems, like limb amputation. Major lower limb amputations (above the ankle) are rising at a steady rate, with thousands conducted in the UK every year. Treatment compliance is a critical part of reducing a multitude of Diabetes-related health risks.
Most patients are asked to start taking Metformin as a first line treatment. It’s a very well known and successful drug therapy. However, it has to be taken at least once every day, often twice.
The drugs don’t work
In one study, just 59% of patients had good persistence levels with Metformin. The immediate consequence of poor compliance is treatment failure. That increases the risks of micro and macrovascular Diabetes complications, a greater likelihood of early mortality, increased healthcare costs and reduced quality of life.
Although persistence can vary with different drug types, compliance with a prescribed treatment regime is a big problem.
A weekly habit
That makes the development of ‘once weekly’ treatments so interesting. The idea has been around for some time. One large pharmaceutical firm specialising in Diabetes treatments first proposed the idea in 2014.
The study was a 26-week, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, Phase 2 trial to investigate the efficacy and safety of once-weekly insulin, compared with once-daily insulin. It found that once-weekly treatment had a glucose-lowering efficacy and safety profile similar to once-daily insulin.
That in turn demonstrates that it may indeed be possible to control Type 2 Diabetes with a weekly treatment, rather than a daily pill regime. That’s incredibly good news for the thousands of patients who develop the disease every year. It’s also good news for everyone else who contributes to the costs of care through taxation.