Sector News

Novo Nordisk diabetes pill wins FDA approval for first-line use

January 22, 2023
Life sciences

Rybelsus, which works like Novo’s Ozempic and Lilly’s Trulicity, gained FDA approval in 2019 as a daily oral alternative to those two drugs, which require weekly injections. However, that initial OK was accompanied by a recommendation doctors not prescribe Rybelsus as a first-line treatment for people with diabetes who are unable to control their blood sugar levels with diet and exercise alone. Merck’s Januvia and Lilly’s Jardiance, by comparison, already held approvals for that use.

“By taking Rybelsus first, people with Type 2 diabetes, in conjunction with their care teams, are now able to utilize this medicine early in their diabetes treatment journeys,” Aaron King, a family medicine and diabetes specialist in San Antonio, Texas said in a statement from Novo Nordisk.

Rybelsus has the same active ingredient as Ozempic, but at a higher dosage and modified to aid its absorption in the stomach.

The new use for Rybelsus comes as diabetes drug competition is intensifying. In the class of drugs called GLP-1 agonists, Rybelsus is the only oral treatment, but must be taken daily, while the latest injectable drugs can be taken once a week. READ MORE

By Jonathan Gardner


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