But now, researchers have discovered a “remarkable” once-a-week jab that could replace the daily version which is currently prescribed on the NHS.
Diabetes affects about 4.7 million people in the UK[/caption]
The new insulin jab is just as effective as the daily version – and patients prefer it – researchers have said.
Doctor Athena Philis-Tsimikas, from the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute, California and lead investigator, said: “Once-weekly insulin would be a remarkable step forward in insulin innovation.”
The new medicine would reduce the “complexity” and “burden” of diabetes treatment by “reducing the number of injections from 365 to 52 per year, without compromising management of blood sugar,” she added.
Diabetes affects about 4.7 million people in the UK, of whom about 10 per cent have type 1 and 90 per cent have type 2.
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Type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition that often shows up early in life, whereas type 2 is mainly lifestyle-related and develops over time.
Having diabetes means the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin by itself, or there are problems with insulin supply – which is why those with the condition need medication.
Insulin helps the body to use and break down sugar.
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Not everyone who has type 2 diabetes needs to take insulin, but those who do are forced to face painful insulin injections before every meal.
The new weekly medicine is currently going through some of its final clinical trials.
Once a drug has passed all clinical trials, a manufacturer can submit the drug to be approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the UK.
The jab, known as insulin icodec has been hailed by manufacturers as the “ideal insulin” for people living with type 2 diabetes.
During the most recent trial the drug itself has been found to be effective at reducing blood sugar levels for up to one week.
The 8 signs of uncontrolled diabetes you need to know
Uncontrolled diabetes is when you have high blood sugar levels all the time.
The main signs are:
- Extreme fatigue
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss that cannot be explained
- Skin changes
- Blurred vision
- Excessive thirst or hunger
- Slow healing infections or wounds
- Hearing issue
Just last month, researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) say they have found a “breakthrough” insulin pill, which could do away with the jab altogether.
The pill would be different to conventional pills, and won’t be swallowed, but instead dissolves when placed between the gum and cheek.
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This is to ensure the body absorbs as much insulin as possible.