Shortage of GLP-1 receptor agonists says DHSC

By Editor
27th June 2023
Latest news, Pharmaceutical Pharmacy Type 2 diabetes

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced there are “very limited, intermittent supplies” of all glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. 

The shortage has been caused by an increase in demand for these products for licensed and off-label indications, with the supply not expected to return to normal until at least mid-2024.

Until supply issues have resolved, clinicians are being advised to avoid initiating people with type 2 diabetes on GLP-1 RAs.

During the shortage, clinicians are also required to:

  • Only prescribe GLP-1 RAs for their licensed indication
  • Review the need for prescribing a GLP-1 RA agent and stop treatment if no longer required due to not achieving desired clinical effect as per NICE CG28
  • Avoid switching between brands of GLP-1 RAs, including between injectable and oral forms
  • Where a higher dose preparation of GLP-1 RA is not available, do not substitute by doubling up a lower dose preparation
  • Where GLP-1 RA therapy is not available, proactively identify patients established on the affected preparation and consider prioritising for review based on the criteria below.
  • Where an alternative glucose lowering therapy needs to be considered, use the principles of shared decision making as per NICE guidelines
  • Where there is reduced access to GLP-1 RAs, support people with type 2 diabetes to access to structured education and weight management programmes where available
  • Order stocks sensibly in line with demand during this time, limiting prescribing to minimise risk to the supply chain whilst acknowledging the needs of the patient.

Clinicians should consider prioritising review for people with type 2 diabetes on the affected GLP-1 RA preparation where:

  • HbA1c greater than 86mmol/mol in the previous 3 to 6 months
  • HbA1c greater than 86mmol/mol prior to starting the GLP1-RA
  • HbA1c not recorded in the previous 6 months
  • Urine albumin creatinine ratio (uACR) greater than 30mg/mmol
  • Self-monitoring glucose readings (or Continuous Glucose Monitoring, where available) are persistently above individualised target range.

For more information, see the tables below or click here.

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