A new pre-filled pen is now available on the market in the UK for people with type 2 diabetes.

The updated Bydureon (exenatide) once-weekly treatment has been upgraded as a new, easier to use, pre-filled pen, which contains the same formulation and dose as the original exenatide once-weekly single-dose tray.

On its UK launch in 2011, Bydureon was the first once-weekly treatment option for adults with type 2 diabetes, using microsphere technology, which slowly and continuously releases the medicine (glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist) over seven days.

Extensive clinical trials,of exenatide once-weekly consistently showed a significant reduction in HbA1c (blood sugar) levels, as well as a secondary benefit of weight loss.

Exenatide once-weekly has also been studied in the longest assessment of a GLP-1 receptor agonist for the treatment of type 2 diabetes to-date, in patients followed for up to six years, showing an established safety profile.

Exenatide once-weekly is designed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in the following combinations: metformin; sulphonylurea; thiazolidinedione; metformin and sulphonylurea; metformin and thiazolidinedione.

The new pen eliminates the need for the patient to transfer the medication between a vial and syringe, therefore simplifying administration of the injection. The pen can be administered at any time of the day, with or without meals and requires no titration.

Debbie Hicks, Nurse Consultant – Diabetes at Enfield Community Services, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust, said: “In my clinical practice, it is very important that I can offer a treatment to people with type 2 diabetes that I can be confident will be effective over an extended period of time. Bydureon has demonstrated its efficacy in clinical trials and the launch of the new pen now makes its administration simpler. Generally I find that my patients are more likely to adhere to a once-weekly medication than one given more frequently and the pre-filled pen is a welcome development.”

Patients currently prescribed exenatide once-weekly in the single-dose tray will be transitioned onto the new pen by mid-2015, ensuring no interruption of treatment during this period. All newly prescribed patients will receive the exenatide once-weekly pen from January 2015 onwards.

The most common side effects seen with exenatide once-weekly treatment are mild to moderate, decrease over time, and mainly affect the stomach and gut (nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation). In addition, reactions at the site of injection (itching), low blood sugar levels (when used with a sulphonylurea) and headaches can occur.

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