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Gliptins prescribing rockets

By Lilian Anekwe

GPs are ignoring the warnings of secondary care experts and prescribing new drugs for type 2 diabetes in increasing numbers, a Pulse analysis reveals.

Figures provided by Cegedim Strategic Data show GP prescribing of gliptins has risen rapidly since they became available – and has rocketed since publication of NICE guidance supporting their use earlier this year.

GPs have prescribed nearly a half a million doses since the first of the new drugs was licensed over two years ago and nearly a third of all prescriptions have been issued since GPs were officially given the go-ahead to prescribe the drugs by NICE in May.

NICE approved sitagliptin and vildaglitpin for use second line and approved exenatide as a third-line drug in patients with a BMI over 35 k/m2.

The decision prompted the British Association of Clinical Diabetologists to caution against ‘indiscriminate use' of the new diabetes medication by GPs.

But the new figures show a quarter of a million prescriptions for sitagliptin have been issued since it was licensed in June 2007, 30% of them since May.

Some 165,000 courses of exenatide have been prescribed, 42% since May.

Dr Alan Hayes, a GP on the Isle of Wight and secretary of the Primary Care Diabetes Society, said GPs were becoming more experienced and confident prescribing the newer drugs.

‘Earlier on in the year the diabetologists were inflating the risk of pancreatitis and using that as a reason to say exenatide should only be prescribed in secondary care.'

‘But GPs are starting to use the gliptins and exenatide now and there's a confidence which is slowly beginning to emerge in these drugs.'

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