The All Wales Medicines Strategy Group has accepted Xultophy for restricted use within NHS Wales to lower blood glucose in certain patients with type II diabetes.

Xultophy is a once-daily single injection combination of Tresiba (insulin degludec) and Novo’s blockbuster Victoza (liraglutide), indicated in Europe for the treatment of adults with type II diabetes in combination with oral glucose-lowering drugs, when these alone or combined with basal insulin do not provide adequate glycaemic control.

In Wales, the therapy can be considered an option by the NHS when the combination of oral glucose-lowering medicinal products and basal insulin do not provide adequate blood sugar control, but it has not been endorsed outside of this sub-population.

According to the Danish drug major, in people uncontrolled on basal insulin therapy - nearly three-quarters of all type II diabetes patients - Xultophy has demonstrated a significant reduction in HbA1C of 1.9% with a mean weight loss of 2.7kg and a low rate of hypoglycaemia comparable to that of Tresiba.

The decision comes as the number of people living with diabetes in Wales continues to rise, doubling to 182,600 since 1996, with a further 70,000 estimated to be undiagnosed. NHS Wales currently spends around 10% of its annual budget (£500 million) on treating diabetes, 80% of which goes on managing the largely preventable complications linked with the disease.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium has also accepted the drug for use on NHS Scotland.