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Health groups scramble to lobby for new QOF targets

Inhaled insulin is one step closer to reality for hundreds of thousands of diabetes patients in the UK after new research showed it to be safe and effective.

A UK trial found using inhaled insulin as an additional therapy for type 2 diabetes gave significantly better glycaemic control than a second oral agent.

Researchers studied 865 patients with type 2 diabetes who were uncontrolled on a single oral agent, adding in

either inhaled insulin, metformin or glibenclamide.

Among those patients with the highest initial HbA1c, levels fell by 2.7 per cent with inhaled insulin and 2.4 per cent with metformin.

Inhaled insulin also reduced HbA1c by 0.3 per cent more than glibenclamide in patients with high initial levels.

Study leader Professor

Anthony Barnett, professor of medicine at the University of Birmingham, told the annual Diabetes UK professional conference in Glasgow this week: 'Our hope is that inhaled insulin will provide more choice, making it easier for people with diabetes to stay healthy.'

Dr Peter Tasker, a GP in Kings Lynn and former head of Primary Care Diabetes UK, said inhaled insulin had enormous potential but would have to be used with caution in smokers and patients with chronic lung disease.

Licence applications for the use of short acting/mealtime insulin are being considered by the European Medicines Agency.

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