By Michelle October
Will this new medication change the game?
If you or anyone you know have diabetes, you should know that it’s a chore. There are injections multiple times a day, carb-counting, and check-ups with doctors more often than anyone would like. But this new medication could change everything…
Diabetes is a truly scary disease: every year, 60 000 people die of diabetes every year in South Africa, and almost half of people with diabetes remain undiagnosed. Added to that, it’s the leading cause of heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputations.
It’s also a really complicated disease: to keep up steady insulin levels, patients have to inject themselves at calculated times of the day. And while type 2 diabetes is often associated with lifestyle changes, patients also take a variety of medications. Dr Stephen Lawrence, Chief Medical Advisor on diabetes for the Royal College of General Practitioners in the UK, says that keeping up with the medication is difficult for patients. “Patients live their lives around insulin,” adds Dr Timmy Kedijang, General Manager of Novo Nordisk in South Africa, a multinational pharmaceutical company.
Added to that, insulins on the market haven’t been able to accurately replicate the body’s normal insulin secretion. As a result, patients run the risk of glucose levels dropping too low – a life-threatening condition.
Read more: 7 Healthy Food Swaps For Diabetes Month
The New Treatment
A new co-formulation of insulin, created by Novo Nordisk, is set to hit SA’s shelves soon. The formulation is a mix of fast-acting and long-acting insulin in one injection. This changes the game for patients: an injection that effectively combines both actions means less guess-work and less injections. The medication should hit SA’s pharmacies within the next five to ten working days, says Dr Kedijang.
Looking for more information on diabetes? Here are five ways to manage the disease and common diabetes myths debunked.