Doctors hail breakthrough on diabetes

THOUSANDS of Scots living with a killer condition have been offered hope by a new treatment.

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A drug has been approved for Type 2 diabetes patients who are unable to control blood sugar levels with diet or other medication.

Figures show around half (44.4%) of people diagnosed with the condition are failing to achieve the recommended blood glucose levels.

Canagliflozin is a once-daily tablet, which blocks the reabsorption of glucose in the kidneys meaning it is excreted in the urine, reducing levels significantly.

Uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes is associated with around 9,000 deaths each year in Scotland, mainly from cardiovascular disease, and kidney failure.

There are more than 48,000 people living in Glasgow with the condition and more than 11,000 are thought to be undiagnosed.

Its prevalence is increasing throughout Scotland.

Professor Miles Fisher, Consultant Physician at Glasgow Royal Infirmary said: "Type 2 diabetes is one of the most significant health challenges facing Scotland today,

"Gaining access to new treatments like canagliflozin, is important in helping us to better manage this deadly epidemic."

A new daily treatment for Hepatitis C - a major cause of liver cancer and death - has also been approved by the Scottish Medicines Consortium.

Sofosbuvir was been shown in clinical trials to offer cure rates of over 90% in some patients, when used in combination with other antiviral treatments over 12 weeks.

While hepatitis C can be cured, up until now many patients have been unwilling to endure the side effects of standard treatments.

In Scotland, since 1996, liver-related deaths among people with hepatitis C have increased three-fold, with deaths now exceeding those associated with HIV.

Mortality rates are expected to continue to rise.

However, Scots patients suffering from pancreatic cancer will not get access to a drug that has been approved south of the Border.

Abraxane (paclitaxel) was not recommended for use, despite some trials demonstrating a significant increase in overall survival compared to the current treatment.

Only around one in six patients with advanced disease survive for one year after diagnosis.

The treatment is available in England through the Cancer Drugs Fund.


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