Sweet news for diabetics

In good news for more than 118,000 Australian adults with both types 1 and 2 diabetes, the Government has agreed to subsidise a drug to make treatment more convenient.

From today, Ryzodeg, the first diabetes pen to contain two types of insulin, will be listed on the Pharmaceuticals Benefit Scheme.

The listing will save sufferers hundreds of dollars a year in an attempt to regulate their sugar.

Patients would normally pay around $930 per year for Ryzodeg, but the listing means the price comes down to $39.50 per script or just $6.40 for pensioners and concession card holders.

The treatment contains insulin degludec, which has a long blood sugar lowering effect and the rapid-acting insulin aspart, which lowers blood sugar soon after it is injected.

Diabetes Australia welcomed the decision, saying it would eliminate the need for multiple daily injections and make diabetes management easier and less intrusive for some people.

“Insulin injections are one of the most intrusive [aspects] of living with diabetes,” Diabetes Australia said. “All people living with type 1 diabetes who are not using insulin pumps and many people with type 2 diabetes have to inject themselves with insulin multiple times during the day.

“The dosage of these multiple insulin injections has to be adjusted to take into account the consumption of food and physical activity. This can be complex and unrelenting. People with diabetes do this 365 days a year.”

Diabetes Australia said that Ryzodeg has also been demonstrated to reduce hypoglycaemic incidents – dangerously low blood glucose levels which can lead to coma – by up to 20 per cent.

“Managing blood glucose levels can be difficult but it is the cornerstone of diabetes management and critical to the prevention of long-term, diabetes-related complications like limb amputation, blindness, kidney and heart disease and others.

“Recent data shows that only 50 per cent of Australians with diabetes are meeting blood glucose targets, so it is important they can access the medicines that support optimal blood glucose management.

“Optimal blood glucose management reduces the short- and long-term healthcare costs as well as improves quality of life outcomes for the person’s diabetes, both in terms of their physical and mental health,” Diabetes Australia said.

Do you know anyone who suffers from both types of diabetes? Are you on unsubsidised medication that is not on the PBS?

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Written by Olga Galacho

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