Novo Nordisk UK launches Ozempic® (semaglutide)

By Editor
23rd January 2019
Type 2 diabetes

Ozempic®(semaglutide), a new once-weekly GLP-1 analogue injection for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, is now available in the UK, Novo Nordisk UK has announced.

It works by mimicking the function of the GLP-1 (human glucagon-like peptide-1) hormone produced in the gut that lowers post-meal blood glucose levels and also slows glucose absorption into the bloodstream.

Ozempic®should be used alongside diet and exercise, as monotherapy when metformin is considered inappropriate due to intolerance or contraindications or in addition to other medicinal products for the treatment of diabetes, when type 2 diabetes is insufficiently controlled.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death and disability in type 2 diabetes worldwide. Leading charity Diabetes UK recently warned that people with type 2 diabetes are up to twice more likely to die prematurely from avoidable complications than those without the condition. In the latest data available from NHS Digital (2016/17) 33% of people living with type 2 diabetes did not meet their blood glucose (HbA1c) target of ≤7.5%4. Alongside this nine out of 10 are overweight or obese.

The EU licensing of Ozempic®is based on results from the SUSTAIN clinical trial programme which consistently demonstrated:

  • superior glycaemic control compared to dulaglutide, exenatide once weekly, sitagliptin and insulin glargine U100
  • superior and sustained weight loss compared to dulaglutide, exenatide once weekly, sitagliptin and insulin glargine U100
  • cardiovascular benefits vs placebo both in addition to standard of care in people with type 2 diabetes at high risk for CV events

Professor Steve Bain, Professor of Medicine (Diabetes) at Swansea University and Assistant Medical Director for Research & Development for ABM University Health Board and Clinical Lead for the Diabetes Research Network, Wales, said: “We know that people with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes are at risk of serious complications and that can have a real impact on their lives. Being able to offer medicines such as Ozempic®, which patients only need to take once a week, is an important step in helping to control the condition and reducing those risks.”

The cost of Ozempic®is £2.62 per day, so can be prescribed at no additional cost compared to other once-weekly GLP-1 RAs available.

Dr Avideh Nazeri, Director of Clinical, Medical and Regulatory for Novo Nordisk UK said: “When Type 2 diabetes is well managed, the risk of life-changing and life-limiting complications can be reduced1. Novo Nordisk is proud to bring Ozempic®to people living with type 2 diabetes in the UK. We believe the clinical profile of Ozempic®will help to meet the real and serious needs of those living with this condition.”

Ozempic®has received positive recommendation by the two UK health technology assessment (HTA) bodies, All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) and Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC). Ozempic®is recommended as a treatment option for restricted use within NHS Wales and NHS Scotland in the treatment of insufficiently controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus in adults as an add-on therapy to oral antidiabetic medicines or basal insulin.

Ozempic®is available in 0.25mg as the starting dose that patients will take once a week for four weeks. Patients will then move up to 0.5mg once a week. After at least four weeks this dose can  be increased to 1.0mg once-weekly to further improve glycaemic control if necessary.

† Assumes 365.25 days per year. One semaglutide pen contains 4 x once weekly doses, (all doses, including needles) costs £73.25, for a daily cost of £2.62

Comments (3)

  1. David Fawkes says:

    Richard, as a matter of fact this drug was NOT associated with “onset pancreatic cancer”. If you were to read the FDA studies, this was not an identified side effect. There were suggestions that Liraglutide was associated with pancreatic co-morbidities, but that too has not been demonstrated in subsequent studies.

  2. Isabel Gates says:

    Is ozempic available in northern ireland on prescription

  3. Richard Greenwood says:

    Was this drug not associated with onset pancreatic cancer???