13/01/2012 12:57 GMT | Updated 13/01/2012 13:08 GMT

Weekly Injection For Diabetics To Replace Twice-Daily Injections

Leading health experts have approved a once-weekly diabetes jab, spelling the end of the current 14 injections a week conducted by millions of type 2 diabetes sufferers.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has announced that the £18-a-week Bydureon injection has been given the go ahead and can be combined with drugs taken by obese patients, meaning it could also help decrease the UK’s soaring obesity levels.

The Bydureon jab provides a prolonged release of exenatide, the drug which is found in the current injection.

This news will bring relief to around 2 million diabetes sufferers, who will be free of their ‘injection burden’ and will be able to replace their tiresome twice-daily jabs with something less frequent, but more powerful.

NICE revealed that the new, more efficient jab began being issued out by Primary Care Trusts in October and believe that it’ll be more widely prescribed when NICE publishes its final guidance this February.

Professor Carole Longson, Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director at NICE, says: “2.25 million people in the UK are now affected by type 2 diabetes, therefore it is important that there are a range of effective treatment options, such as prolonged-release exenatide, available to them.”

“Type 2 diabetes is a serious, progressive disease; I am sure all those affected will welcome this positive final draft recommendation.”

The decision by NICE is supported by Diabetes UK charity: “We welcome this guidance because we strongly feel that a weekly injectable exenatide will widen the treatment options for people with Type 2 diabetes who may be struggling to achieve good diabetes control,” says Simon O’Neill from the charity.

“For people who are currently using exenatide and injecting it twice a day, the possibility of instead doing it once a week could really improve their quality of life.”

Interestingly, the exenatide drug derives from a two-foot-long pink and black gila monster lizard. The drug is a copy of a hormone found in the lizard’s saliva. The hormone is similar to the human version that regulates blood sugar levels.