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AZ launches combination diabetes drug in UK

Xigduo combines Forxiga and metformin
AstraZeneca Xigduo diabetes

AstraZeneca (AZ) has advanced its diabetes plans in the UK, launching its combination product Xigduo and gaining a recommendation NHS use of Forxiga in Scotland.

Xigduo combines AZ's SGLT2 inhibitor Forxiga (dapagliflozin) with standard diabetes therapy metformin in what is the first fixed-dose combination of its kind available for people with type 2 diabetes in the UK.

The combination product is also now available for mainstream NHS use in England and Wales as the region's medicines cost effectiveness watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), has determined that its existing guidance for Forxiga also covers patients suitable for Xigduo.

This marks a quick two-month turnaround from EU authorisation to UK market access, with Xigduo only approved by the European Commission in January this year.

The drug's availability provides a more convenient option for adults with type 2 diabetes who are unable to control their blood sugar levels on metformin alone and could benefit from further treatment, such as an SGLT2 inhibitor.

This class of drug is a relatively new form of diabetes treatment, which work by increasing the secretion of glucose through urine, meaning they are independent of insulin function and have a lower risk of side effects, such as hypoglycaemia, and can be paired safely with products that affect insulin production.

Forxiga was the first drug of this kind approved in the EU, although was second to Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) Invokana (canagliflozin) in the US.

As discussed in a recent PMLiVE interview with AZ's UK director for marketing and medicines access Christopher Boulton, Forxiga is one of the key products for diabetes ambitions to be a leader in type 2 diabetes and Xigduo will be an important part of that franchise

AZ is also several steps ahead of potential competition for Xigduo, with J&J's combination Invokana/metformin product knocked back by the US FDA at the end of 2013.

There was good news for AZ elsewhere in the UK with the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) backing the use of Forxiga on the NHS in Scotland as an add-on to insulin in adults with type 2 diabetes, bringing guidance in line with wider UK recommendation.

As for Xigduo's use in Scotland, AZ said it intends to submit the combo drug for abbreviated appraisal.

Article by
Thomas Meek

11th March 2014

From: Sales

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