Novo Nordisk on Thursday launched a new-generation, once-daily basal insulin in Ghana for the treatment of diabetes.

Insulin degludec has an ultra-long duration of action lasting beyond 42 hours which allows for flexibility in day-to-day dosing time.'

The drug provides a lower risk of overall, severe and nocturnal hypoglycaemia and comparable reductions of blood glucose levels.'.

Speaking at the launch event Thursday, Dr Ernest Yorke, a leading Endocrinologist at Korle So Teaching Hospital Accra, pointed out that there are an estimated 0.5 million adults between 20 – 79 years living with diabetes in Ghana as at 2017.

This is a huge economic burden for the individual, their family and the nation. What is even more worrying is that disease awareness is still low; six out of 10 Ghanaians do not know that they have diabetes.

The IDF estimated 9,800 deaths due to diabetes-related causes in 2017 in Ghana,6 With the introduction of Insulin Degludec in Ghana, the clinicians now have an innovative product to make a meaningful contribution in the drive to 'change diabetes' in Ghana.

"Maintaining good blood glucose control with insulin treatment can be challenging for healthcare professionals and patients due to concerns over hypoglycaemia," said Professor Roger Lehmann, Director Diabetology and Islet Transplantation Program, Department for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Clinical Nutrition, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.

He further stated “mild hypoglycaemic symptoms may include tachycardia, trembling, hunger, sweating, and difficulty in concentrating.

Severe hypoglycaemia may lead to seizure, coma and may lead to death. Nocturnal hypoglycaemia is a real concern for people with diabetes as it is often unpredictable and unrecognized."

Insulin degludec has been shown to provide low variability in blood glucose which is associated with a lower risk of severe hypoglycaemia.

In the cardiovascular outcomes trial, Devote, insulin degludec did not increase the risk of major cardiovascular events; while it significantly reduced the rates of nocturnal severe and severe hypoglycaemia by 53% and 40%, respectively compared with insulin glargine U100, in adults with type 2 diabetes.

Vinay Prusty, Director Clinical, Medical and Regulatory, Business area Africa and Gulf, Novo Nordisk, explained that patients often miss insulin doses because they are unable to inject at the same time every day, which is a limitation of earlier basal insulin preparations.

Insulin degludec addresses this need because of its long duration of action of more than 42 hours, which allows for flexible timing of administration from day to day without comprising efficacy and safety.

Vinay Ransiwal, General Manager for Middle Africa statute that they are “keen on providing the best healthcare and treatment to people with diabetes. Our strategic partnerships with relevant stakeholders in the health sector involve educating patients, training healthcare professionals and strengthening healthcare systems.

“In Africa under the Changing Diabetes initiatives- we run several projects such as the Changing Diabetes in Children (CDiC) and the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) project. The BoP project which is currently running in Ghana is planned to reach 120,000 patients. We also have medical education and mentoring programs like the Buddy Doctor Initiative where senior Consultant Endocrinologists & Diabetologists train General Practitioners (GPs) on how to manage diabetes.

“This is currently running in Ghana. We are firmly committed to working towards alleviating the burden of diabetes and supporting people with diabetes to live a healthy life."