Novo Nordisk has announced that Ozempic, a new once-weekly GLP-1 (human glucagon-like peptide-1) analogue injection for the treatment of type II diabetes, is now available in the UK.

Ozempic's (semaglutide) approval is based on results from the SUSTAIN clinical trial, which consistently demonstrated superior glycaemic control compared to current treatment option Trulicity (dulaglutide), superior and sustained weight loss compared to Trulicity and cardiovascular benefits.

The drug works by mimicking the function of the GLP-1 hormone produced in the gut that lowers post-meal blood glucose levels and also slows glucose absorption into the bloodstream.

It 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 the type II diabetes is insufficiently controlled.

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 II 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.”

Latest data from NHS Digital showed that 33% of people living with type II diabetes did not meet their blood glucose target of ≤7.5%, and nine out of ten are overweight or obese. The condition also costs the NHS £8.8 billion a year, with 80% of that used to treat avoidable complications.