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New generation incretin drugs are used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. They protect against serious complications of this disease, but - unfortunately - they are still not included in the reimbursement list. Check the benefits of incretin drugs.

Diabetes is a problem of over 3 million Poles. The most dangerous for diabetics are hypoglycemia, i.e. episodes of hypoglycemia. We are not able to use traditional drugs to regulate the blood sugar level so that it is not too low at times. Incretin drugsare effective in dealing with hypoglycemia. Unfortunately, this group of drugs, despite the promises of the Ministry of He alth, remains outside thereimbursement list .

How do incretin drugs work?

Incretin drugs are synthetic hormones that mimic those secreted by the body in the small intestine, which stimulate the release of insulin only when it is needed, i.e. when blood sugar levels rise. They can be given at any stage in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but are most beneficial in the early stages of the disease. Thanks to new drugs, pancreatic beta cells produce more insulin, the liver produces less of its own glucose, and by acting on the satiety mechanism in the brain, you can eat less and satisfy your hunger faster. lose weight. In addition, incretin drugs slightly lower blood pressure and improve the efficiency of the endothelium, the inner layer of every vessel. However, the most important feature of these drugs is that they allow for good glycemic control without inducing hypoglycaemia, which is very dangerous for the patient.

Incretin drugs: pills or injections

Incretin drugs can be in the form of tablets or injections. The first are DPP-4 inhibitors sitagliptin, vildagliptin, saxagliptin, linagliptin), which inhibit the breakdown of natural incretins secreted in the small intestine, thanks to which the pancreas produces more insulin (but only when it is needed), the liver less glucose, the stomach empties more slowly, and the satiety center in the brain gives a signal faster that the appetite has been satisfied. Subcutaneous injection drugs (eskenatide, liraglutide) are taken once or twice a day one hour before the main meal. A newer form of the drug with prolonged action(LAR exenatide) should be taken once a week.


Incretin drugs are reimbursed in many countries

In Denmark, the Netherlands 1/3 of patients with type 2 diabetes who are treated with tablets take drugs from this group. A significant reduction in the occurrence of hypoglycaemia was observed in them. In Poland, 20-30 thousand of these drugs are needed. patients with type 2 diabetes

Why are incretin drugs not reimbursed?

Incretin drugs appeared in 2005 in the USA. In February 2014, the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration issued a joint statement that they are safe. These drugs were also positively assessed by our Agency for He alth Technology Assessment. However, this did not affect the decision to introduce drugs on the reimbursement list. The he alth ministry is hiding behind the high costs of therapy, but this is an easy argument to disprove. The benefits of modern therapies would certainly outweigh the costs for the state in treating type 2 diabetes and its complications - hypertension, atherosclerosis, diabetic foot, nephropathy, retinopathy and obesity. To this must be added pensions paid to the sick.

Those who can afford it pay for incretin drugs out of their own pocket, which costs them from 200 to 600 zlotys a month.

The battle to introduce incretin drugs on the list of reimbursed drugs has been going on for several years. Initially, it was thought that the lack of consent to the reimbursement was due to the will to protect domestic manufacturers of diabetes medications. But that's not the point. There is no understanding of the problems of diabetics in the Ministry of He alth. Diabetes is not seen as a complex he alth and social problem. After all, it does not hurt, although it significantly shortens life, but it becomes visible only after many years, not like in the case of heart attacks or cancer. Diabetes is often seen as a punishment for overeating, gaining weight and… developing diabetes. Deputy Minister Igor Radziwicz-Winnicki also has good advice for the sick - it is enough to eat less and move more, it will be fine … Of course, eating less and moving more is a he althy recommendation. But it is not only excess food that causes disease. Besides, when someone already has diabetes, they need good medication and simply changing their lifestyle is not enough. There are many working young people among type 2 diabetics. If a 30-year-old has to start taking insulin, his life comfort drops drastically and his job opportunities are severely limited. If he could take incretin medications, he would not get the blood sugar levels that always have bad consequences, and he would be able to lead a more normal life.there is no reason why Polish patients should not have access to drugs that have significantly changed the treatment of diabetes in the world.

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