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NICE eases inhaled insulin ban

NICE has eased its proposed restrictions on the availability of inhaled insulin on the NHS in newly published provisional recommendations.

A revised draft document advises that inhaled insulin, marketed as Exubera, can be a treatment option in patients with high HbA1c who are needle phobic or have severe problems with injection sites.

The move follows huge pressure from politicians and patient groups who have lobbied against the institute's initial draft appraisal, which ruled out any use of inhaled insulin on the NHS.

Inhaled insulin will be available to needle-phobic patients only if they have an HbA1c over 9 per cent and their phobia has been diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Dr Azhar Farooqi, a GP in Leicester and clinical lead for diabetes at Eastern Leicester PCT, said the main issue for NICE was cost.

He said: 'It's a move in the right direction but it probably doesn't go far enough.

'There are other people who would also benefit. Some patients for example aren't strictly needle phobic – not to the degree they'd be diagnosed as such by a psychiatrist – but are reluctant to go on to injected therapy.'

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