National Health Service doctors in Scotland have been given the go-ahead to prescribe Novo Nordisk’s type 2 diabetes drug Victoza.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium has backed the use of Victoza (liraglutide), the first once-daily human glucagon-like peptide-1 analogue. The drug was approved in Europe in July to be used in combination with metformin and/or a sulphonylurea, or in combination with metformin and a thiazolidinedione, in patients who achieve insufficient glycaemic control with specified prior therapies.

This is good news for Novo which has very high hopes for liraglutide. which helps patients maintain normal blood sugar levels with a once-daily injection that can be taken at any time of day, irrespective of meals. The company says that in addition to its glucose-lowering effects, Victoza can help patients achieve weight loss “by increasing satiety and delaying gastric emptying, and thus reducing caloric intake”.

Miles Fisher, a consultant at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, said that with nearly 200,000 people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, “Scotland is facing a growing diabetes epidemic”. As such, “liraglutide will be a valuable addition” to the fight against the disease, he added, noting that the once-daily formula, independent of meals “should improve patient compliance and in turn clinical outcomes”.

All eyes will now be on the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the SMC’s sister cost watchdog for England and Wales, and whether it will take a similar stance. However no date for a review has been set yet.