Jun 17, 2024

By Jane Brown

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Many people with Type 2 diabetes in Canada will soon be able to take insulin once a week instead of daily.

Manufacturer Novo Nordisk says Awiqli is the first once-a-week basal insulin injection in the world and Canada will be the first to get it, starting June 30th.

Although the weekly insulin has Health Canada’s approval for treatment of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, endocrinologists say it will be mostly useful for Type 2 patients.

That’s largely because patients with Type 1 diabetes would still have to give themselves additional fast-acting insulin injections at mealtimes every day because their bodies don’t make any insulin on their own, said Dr. Harpreet Bajaj, head of the clinical practice guidelines steering committee at Diabetes Canada.

People with Type 2 diabetes do make insulin, but either not enough or their bodies don’t use it properly. Basal insulin shots bring their levels of the hormone to the right amount during fasting, and other medications can control the “spikes of sugars that come with food,” Bajaj said.

The series of randomized clinical trials for Awiqli (which included many countries, including Canada and the U.S.) were mostly done with Type 2 patients. Only one of the trials involved patients with Type 1 diabetes and found a higher risk of low blood sugar when those patients took the weekly insulin option.

It isn’t yet known whether the cost of the new insulin will be covered by public and private insurance plans.

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