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NICE recommends Novo's liraglutide for management of obesity and non-diabetic hyperglycaemia

Published on 30/10/20 at 01:20pm

Novo Nordisk’s pre-filled injection Saxenda (liraglutide) has received the backing of drug watchdog NICE, meaning it will now be made available via the NHS for patients in England and Wales for the management of obesity and non-diabetic hyperglycaemia.

The recommendation relates to patients with a body mass index of at least 35 kg per square metre with a high risk of cardiovascular disease. The therapy is to be prescribed in secondary care and will be administered alongside exercise and a reduced-calorie diet.

Treatment with the drug is to last a maximum of two years, and be discontinued if the patient has not lost 5% of their body weight within 12 weeks of receiving full dosage.

The move is a reversal of the institute’s previous decision not to recommend the therapy as it did not consider it a cost-effective use of NHS resources. With the agreement of a confidential discount from the manufacturer, the uncertainty around the therapy’s value has been reduced, with NICE now able to consider it cost-effective.

“There is a real need for more treatment options for obese adults with non-diabetic hyperglycaemia who have a high risk of experiencing the adverse consequences of obesity, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” remarked Meindert Boysen, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation at NICE. “Our independent committee was presented with clinical evidence which showed that people lose more weight with liraglutide plus lifestyle measures than with lifestyle measures alone. Liraglutide may also delay the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and this is the main benefit of treatment.

“After NICE was previously unable to recommend liraglutide, we are pleased the company was able to agree a confidential discount which allowed the committee to recommend it,” she added.

"We are delighted that NICE has recommended Saxenda for the treatment of obesity on the NHS. This is testament to the value that this treatment offers, particularly during these challenging times, when policymakers and clinicians are highly focused on finding effective ways to address the prevalence of obesity across the UK," commented Pinder Sahota, Corporate Vice President and General Manager at Novo Nordisk UK. "We remain committed to our purpose in driving forward change for people living with complex conditions like obesity, and look forward to continuing to work alongside our NHS England partners”.

Another brand of liraglutide, Victoza, is already recommended by NICE for the treatment of insufficiently controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Matt Fellows

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