What’s new in 2023? Part 1
By Carolien Koreneff, CDE-RN
We know that you like hearing about (possible) new treatment options and recent technology that will help the people you support manage their diabetes better and with less effort. In this article we list some medications that could be part of a person’s diabetes management in the future.
Anyone using insulin injections to manage diabetes is at risk of hypoglycaemia (low glucose levels). Therefore, in the past, they would have relied on intra-muscular glucagon injections by a trained support person, usually a family member or friend, in the case of severe or unconscious hypoglycaemia.
The glucagon in BAQSIMI is the same active ingredient that has been around for decades, but BAQSIMI is different from other hypoglycaemia emergency treatments as it’s given as a nasal spray instead of an injection.
BAQSIMI raises a low glucose level when a person cannot safely eat or drink oral carbs. It is not for everyday ups and downs, but rather for a low glucose level emergency.
BAQSIMI does not need to be refrigerated, so a person with diabetes can keep it with them everywhere they go. BAQSIMI has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) but is not yet available in Australia.
A team of French, English, American and Australian researchers found that insulin resistance is caused by an inability of fat cells to regulate glucose metabolism. A new medication that ‘reboots’ how fat cells use insulin could revolutionise the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
PATAS is being developed and, if successful, could be delivered by injection or possibly a patch. PATAS may also have the potential to prevent type 2 diabetes and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). It could also reduce the risk of serious diabetes-related complications including heart, kidney, liver and eye disease. Researchers are hoping to start human trials in 2023.
New GLP-1 agonist: Wegovy
Glucose-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) medications target areas of the brain involved in regulating appetite and food intake. This can help a person to eat less, and this in turn helps lower glucose levels and can lead to weight loss.
GLP-1 medications became popular as a weight reduction medication, even in people who do not have diabetes. This led to a surge in the number of people using the medication and subsequent worldwide shortages of Ozempic (semaglutide) and TRULICITY (dulaglutide).
Wegovy (semaglutide) is the latest addition to the family of GLP-1 medications. While Ozempic and Wegovy contain the same active ingredient, semaglutide, they have different uses, as well as different dosages and devices. As such, Ozempic and Wegovy are not interchangeable.
Unfortunately, Novo Nordisk is not yet supplying Wegovy in Australia because of the increased global demand for semaglutide products. This also impacts the availability and certainty of supply of Ozempic in Australia until at least early 2023.
New class of medication: GIP/GLP-1 agonist: Mounjaro
Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is a new weekly injection for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Mounjaro is a combination medication mimicking glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucose-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) actions. GIP and GLP-1 are hormones that are released by the cells in the gut when a person eats; they cause the pancreas to release insulin. Mounjaro lowers glucose levels, assists in weight reduction and it reduces the build-up of fat in the liver, that can lead to inflammation.
Mounjaro is the first GIP medication available on the market and has recently been approved by the TGA.
The producer of Mounjaro, Eli Lilly, will likely delay exporting Mounjaro to Australia as they are already experiencing an explosion of popularity of this medication in the USA. This is because people with obesity (who do not necessarily have diabetes) are using the medication for weight loss, similar to the GLP-1 medications Ozempic and TRULICITY.
There is a lot happening in the world of research and development, so this list is by no means a complete list.
Next month, we will cover some of the exciting new devices, apps and technologies that are available or could become available in future.