Mounjaro can now be prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes

Update, March 20, 2024: People in England and Northern Ireland living with type 2 diabetes can now be prescribed Mounjaro as a diabetes treatment or offered Mounjaro if they cannot access their usual GLP-1 RA medicine, it has confirmed by NHS England.

Supply issues with glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) are not expected to ease until late 2024, and this shortage has affected the supply of GLP-1 RAs, including Ozempic and Trulicity .

Previously, in January 2024, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) opened a new prescription for Rybelsus (semaglutide) tablets to people with type 2 diabetes who could benefit.

Now, to help further alleviate this shortage, Mounjaro can also be prescribed to people living with type 2 diabetes in England who cannot get Ozempic, Trulicity or other GLP-1 RA medicines.

We are pleased to see the opening of Mounjaro as a treatment for people with type 2 diabetes. Although we remain concerned about the intermittent supply and ongoing shortage of GLP-1 medicines that have serious implications for many people with type 2 diabetes.

What is Mounjaro?

Mounjaro, the brand name for tirzepatide, is a GLP-1 analog that is combined with a GIP (short for glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) analog. It is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly.

Tirzepatide is given by injection once a week. It works by activating GLP-1 and GIP receptors to increase the level of incretins in the body. These incretin hormones increase insulin production in the body and decrease glucose produced by the liver, lowering blood glucose.

Research into the use of tirzepatide to treat type 2 diabetes found that it led to greater improvements in blood glucose management and weight loss compared to other type 2 diabetes medications.

What will Mounjaro be used for?

NICE has recommended that tirzepatide be used as an alternative to other GLP-1s to treat adults with type 2 diabetes, along with diet and exercise, if they have a BMI of 35 kg/m2 or more and have additional psychological or medical complications.

It could also be prescribed for people living with type 2 diabetes who have a BMI of less than 35 kg/m2 where insulin use would affect their occupation because of the risk of hypoglycaemia, or for those who would see improvements in other health problems health related obesity with weight. loss

This means that tirzepatide will be available through your healthcare team who will assess whether this is the best treatment for you.

Is Mounjaro available across the UK?

Tirzepatide has been approved by NICE for use in England and Wales and Northern Ireland follow NICE recommendations on Mounjaro.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) is responsible for approving medicines for use in the NHS in Scotland. The SMC is currently reviewing tirzepatide and is expected to make a recommendation in April.

How do you take Mounjaro?

In January 2024, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved a multi-dose version of Mounjaro (tirzepatide) called Mounjaro Kwikpen to treat people with type 2 diabetes.

The Mounjaro Kwikpen comes as a four-dose pre-filled injection pen that is injected as an initial dose of 2.5 mg once a week for four weeks.

Lower concentrations of Mounjaro are now available through the Mounjaro Kwikpen: 2.5 mg/0.6 ml and 5 mg/0.6 ml solution for injection in 2.4 ml pre-filled pens (containing four doses) . Higher forces are expected to be available later this year.

The Mounjaro Kwikpen has also been approved by the MHRA for weight management in people living with obesity or overweight who have weight-related health problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart problems.

A single-dose Mounjaro pen has also been previously approved.

Although Mounjaro is currently authorized by the MHRA for weight loss and the Kwikpen is authorized for this application, Mounjaro has not yet been fully assessed by NICE and the SMC for weight loss.

A NICE assessment for Mounjaro to be used to treat overweight and obesity in the NHS is scheduled to conclude in spring 2024, when we expect recommendations to be published.

What’s the latest on GLP-1 RA supply issues?

We are concerned about the ongoing shortage of GLP-1 drugs that is having serious implications for many people with type 2 diabetes.

We have been raising this with the Department of Health and Social Care and insisting on the need to solve this problem urgently.

We welcomed the government’s guidelines to restrict off-label prescriptions of GLP-1 medicines while there is a shortage affecting people with type 2 diabetes, and the National Patient Safety Alert issued in January which allowed people to start with Rybelsus due to a boost. in the supply of this medicine.

We also welcome the new guidance that tirzepatide can be prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes who meet the criteria.

Does tirzepatide have side effects?

Like all medicines, tirzepatide can have side effects. Common side effects of tirzepatide may include feeling sick, indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea, while less common side effects include pancreatitis and gallstones.

Before starting treatment with tirzepatide, it is important to get individual advice from your healthcare team. You should report any side effects, if any, while taking the medication.

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