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Home > News & events > News > JDRF calls for AstraZeneca to explain type 1 diabetes drug withdrawal
AstraZeneca last week alerted clinicians that the drug dapagliflozin, also known by its brand name Forxiga, would be withdrawn immediately for type 1 diabetes use in the UK and EU.
The decision could affect up to 2,000 people in the UK with type 1 diabetes, even though, according to AstraZeneca, there are no new safety issues with the drug.
JDRF is now calling on AstraZeneca to clearly explain to people affected by type 1 diabetes why the drug has been withdrawn for use treating that condition. The drug will continue to be available for other conditions including type 2 diabetes.
Dapagliflozin is a once-a-day pill which, when used alongside standard insulin therapy, significantly improves blood glucose management for many people with the life-threatening condition.
The first of its kind to be approved in the UK and EU for adults with type 1 diabetes, it is the only other drug besides insulin that has been licensed in the UK to treat type 1 diabetes.
Its development was one of the biggest advancements in the treatment of type 1 diabetes since the discovery of insulin 100 years ago.
JDRF has long advocated for therapies that can improve the lives of those affected by type 1 diabetes, including treatments such as dapagliflozin. It was made available on the NHS as an ‘adjunct therapy’ to be used alongside insulin for people with type 1 diabetes by NICE in July 2019.
Managing type 1 diabetes with insulin alone is challenging and intensive, leaving a significant physical and mental burden upon the individual. Currently, just 30 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes reach their recommended blood glucose targets, putting them at greater risk of health complications.
Dapagliflozin helps to reduce blood glucose levels by stopping the kidneys from reabsorbing glucose into the body. Instead, excess glucose is passed out in urine. Previous clinical trials showed that, when used alongside insulin, the drug helped people lower their HbA1c levels (a measure of average blood glucose levels) without increasing the incidence of hypoglycaemic events. Keeping HbA1c levels as close to the recommended target of 6.5% as possible is important in preventing long-term type 1 diabetes complications.
Karen Addington, UK Chief Executive of JDRF, said: “Dapagliflozin has been the first drug offered in 100 years since the discovery of insulin that has helped people with type 1 diabetes to manage their condition. It is appalling that it is now being withdrawn, even though many people with type 1 are finding it an effective and useful tool to help manage their glucose levels. JDRF asks AstraZeneca to explain to people in the UK affected by type 1 diabetes the reasons behind this withdrawal.”
Anyone affected by the withdrawal of dapagliflozin should contact their healthcare professional.
The research, which was co-funded by JDRF, reveals that drugs that target the immune system offer very effective and rapid improvements in stabilising blood sugar levels, often within just three months.
We’ve written a letter to Gillian Keegan MP, Secretary of State for Education, asking her to make exemptions to the Government’s policy on banning mobile phones in schools. We thought you might like to read it.
As part of its assessment of hybrid closed loop (HCL), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has today published an additional consultation on its roll out.