AstraZeneca has launched in the UK a new pre-filled pen containing its once-weekly diabetes drug Bydureon (exenatide), offering patients a simpler route of administration.

Bydureon emerged on the UK market in 2011 as the first once-weekly treatment option for adults with type II diabetes, using microsphere technology that enables a slow and continuous release of the drug over seven days.

Until now, administration involved patients transferring the medication between a vial and syringe, but the new single-dose pen injector eliminates the need for this and allows dosing at any time of the day, with or without meals.

Patients currently prescribed Bydureon in the single-dose tray will be switched onto the new pen by mid-2015, while all newly prescribed patients will receive the pen form from this month, AZ said.