Doctors are seemingly outraged by new draft guidelines on the treatment of diabetes published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, according to a recent study of conversations among healthcare professionals in social media.

The study, carried out by Creation Healthcare, found that specialists, doctors, and nurses are particularly questioning NICE's recommendations on the use of Novo Nordisk’s NovoNorm/Prandin (repaglinide) and pioglitazone, published last month, “with concerns including patient safety and confusion in primary care”.

A key issue seems to be the recommendation for use of repaglinide as an alternative monotherapy when metformin cannot be used instead of a sulfonylurea, because of a perceived lack of supporting evidence. 

Professor Gadsby told Pulse Today that repaglinide was launched in the 1990s “but never caught on,” and he noted “there are very few people taking it today so there is no real understanding in general practice of how to use the drug, what dose should be given, and what dose escalation is appropriate”.

The study of online conversations found “not a single healthcare professional who approves of NICE’s suggestions”. For one, Partha Kar, Consultant, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and a Clinical Advisor to the Quality Care Commission, tweeted: “Met >15 diabetes specialists over last few days. Not a single person thinks the draft Type 2 diabetes [NICE] document makes any sense”.

Stefan Marcus, who led the research, said it “indicates that there is a strong feeling among UK diabetes specialists that NICE have got it wrong with these recommendations”.

Call to action by EMAHSN

Meanwhile, a ‘call to action’ has been issued seeking new and improved ways of tackling diabetes in the East Midlands.

Data shows that more than 280,000 people with the condition live in the region, with nearly £65 million every year spent on medicines alone, and a further 240,000 are at increased risk from developing it.

The East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN) is calling for proposals to identify innovations that will reduce diabetes and ease treatment, with significant funding set aside to support projects related to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.