Scientists have created a new pill which can stop Type two diabetes dead in its tracks, while helping the patient lose weight.
The drug, Semaglutide, allowed 71 per cent of its test patients to lose weight during the treatment.
This is a major step forward, as most treatments actually trigger weight gain, which is a compounding factor in this type of diabetes.
The drug could potentially prevent the condition advancing to a point where the patient would have to inject insulin to stabilise their blood-sugar levels.
The results came from a human trial of 632 patients which found semaglutide allowed 71 per cent of those in the trial to lose weight – being the first pill of this kind to result in weight loss.
The best news, the pills could be available on the NHS within three years.
The pill was used in conjunction with patients who were already taking Metformin, which is the drug currently widely used as the way to control the disease.
Type two diabetes comes as a result of having too much glucose in the blood as the body doesn’t turn it into energy.
The condition gets progressively worse over time and it’s often diagnosed in older people or people with obesity.
In order to maintain their health, people often have to self-monitor their glucose intake through diet.
There are thought to be around 415 million people who suffer from diabetes in the world, including those who are living with an undiagnosed condition.
Over 4 million people in the UK have diabetes and the number continues to rise.
The condition can lead to heart failure, blindness and even leg amputations – it’s a major cause for concern in the global medical community, with experts warning the NHS will be unable to deal with the burden if action isn’t taken.
Lead Professor Melanie Davies said the pill may provide relief to those who struggle to inject themselves, telling the Daily Mail:
For some patients injectable therapies are a problem, so having something available orally makes it more accessible to some patients.
We know that it is a bit of a barrier to people and anything that makes treatment more accessible and easier has got to be seen as good…
Type two diabetes is a serious condition with potentially devastating complications which is posing a major challenge to health services across the world because of the increasing numbers of people developing it.
These results demonstrating semaglutide’s ability to have a significant impact on lowering HbA1c and support weight loss when taken orally therefore are hugely promising.
As well as the weight loss, participants also recorded lower levels of HbA1c, which is how blood sugar is measured over time.
Nine tenths of patients had a level of HbA1c of less than 7 per cent – for contrast, a healthy adult will have HbA1c levels of below 6 per cent.
Oliver Jelley, editor of The Diabetes Times, said:
Type two diabetes has become one of the greatest challenges facing the NHS.
These latest results are hugely encouraging and will be welcomed across the diabetes community.
This is perfect for those people who might be hit by the new NHS initiative to prevent people from having surgeries if they don’t lose weight.