World Diabetes Day – more treatment options to meet needs of growing patient numbers

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World Diabetes Day – more treatment options to meet needs of growing patient numbers

Additional treatment options for type-2 diabetes are critically needed. The prevalence of the disease is globally increasing and the progressive nature of diabetes eventually requires combination therapy in most patients. In addition, since diabetes medicines are used by millions of people with different backgrounds and medical histories, a wide range of treatment options is needed to meet the needs of all patients.

In the European Union, all marketing authorisation applications for new diabetes medicines must be submitted to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for evaluation, rather than in each Member State.

Over the past 12 months, the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended granting a marketing authorisation for five new medicines to treat diabetes, most of them belonging to different classes, and eight new medicines have been recommended for approval over the past 18 months*. Among these, two belong to a new class of medicines named sodium‑glucose co‑transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. These medicines display a different and complementary mechanism of action to other available treatment options.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 347 million people worldwide with diabetes. Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, with 50% of people with diabetes dying from cardiovascular disease. In 2004, an estimated 3.4 million people died from the consequences of high blood sugar, and the WHO predicts that diabetes-related deaths will double by 2030.

Since medicines for the treatment of diabetes are used by millions of patients, monitoring the safety of these medicines is important. The Agency plays a key role in this area by constantly assessing new data arising from real-life use of the medicines and taking actions to adjust their conditions of use and to optimise their benefit-risk balance.

As part of this role, the Agency recently finalised reviews of safety data on insulin glargine-containing medicines in May 2013 and on GLP-1-based diabetes therapies in July 2013.

About World Diabetes Day

The EMA supports World Diabetes Day, which is held each year on 14 November and is dedicated to engaging people worldwide in diabetes advocacy and awareness. For the period 2009-2013, the day's theme is diabetes education and prevention.

*New medicines recommended for marketing authorisation since April 2012 (excluding generics, hybrid and informed consent applications): Forxiga (April 2012), Tresiba (October 2012), Ryzodeg (October 2012), Lyxumia (November 2012), Vipidia (July 2013), Incresync (July 2013), Vipdomet (July 2013) and Invokana (September 2013). 

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