An eye drug for diabetes has been given draft approval for use on the NHS, reversing an earlier decision made by NICE in 2011.
A drug for visual impairment caused by diabetic macular oedema may now be available on the NHS in England and Wales, according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
Macular oedema is a severe visual impediment, caused when a vein in the retina becomes blocked and leading to inflammation and a build-up of fluid.
In 2011, NICE said that drug ranibizmab, marketed as Lucentis, is too expensive for wide use on the NHS. However, this decision has now been reversed, with NICE issuing draft approval. A final decision on the drug will be made in February.
This announcement follows earlier news that the UK has the fifth highest number of children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the world.
Estimates from the International Diabetes Federation have been compiled to create a league table of type 1 diabetes rates from around the globe.
It shows that every year in the UK more than 24 in every 100,000 children aged 14 and younger are diagnosed with the condition. This rate is double that of France and Italy (12.2 and 12.1 per 100,000 respectively).
Only Finland, Sweden, Saudi Arabia and Norway have higher rates than the UK. Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 is not linked to obesity of lifestyle, and experts are unclear as to why the figure is so high. Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said:
"We do not fully understand why more children in the UK are developing type 1 diabetes than almost anywhere else in the world. But the fact that the rate is so high here in the UK means it is especially important that parents know the symptoms.”
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes include needing to urinate frequently, increased thirst, extreme tiredness and unexplained weight loss. If left diagnosed and untreated type 1 diabetes can lead to serious illness and even death.
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