Diabetes drug prescriptions soar by 8.2 million

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It meant the 2020/21 diabetes medication and gadget bill made up 12.5 percent of the total spent on all prescriptions issued by GPs, pharmacists and other primary care services.

The drugs included common medications such as insulin and metformin, as well as devices used to monitor blood sugar levels.

Bridget Turner, policy and campaigns chief at Diabetes UK, said the figures were not surprising.

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She said: “Diagnoses have almost doubled in the past 15 years. So, while this rise in diabetes drug prescriptions was to be expected, the increased prevalence of diabetes in the UK is a huge concern.

“Diabetes is serious – and that is why we have called on the UK Government to put people living with the condition at the heart of its postpandemic health agenda.”

More than 4.9 million people are thought to be living with diabetes, 90 percent of them with Type 2, which is often linked to lifestyle factors.

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Prescriptions data released by the NHS also revealed the growing burden on the nation’s finances. The cost was up from £958million in 2015/16.

Tam Fry, chair of the National Obesity Forum, said: “Obesity is an inescapable risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes. I’m not only horrified at the escalating costs of treating the disease but equally angry on behalf of the people afflicted by it. Many will have become diabetic due to successive governments failing properly to tackle obesity.”

If not treated, diabetes can lead to complications including heart attacks, stroke, issues with eyes, feet and kidneys, plus amputations.

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NO AGE LIMIT TO STROKE PROTECTION

Drugs to lower blood pressure cut the risk of heart attack and stroke across every age group, no matter how healthy the patient, a study shows.

People over 80 with blood pressure below 150/90 mmHg are advised against treatment.

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But researchers have called for a removal of age thresholds and believe the limit should be lowered to 120/70 mmHg.

Findings from the University of Oxford study, published in the Lancet journal, show that a 5 mmHg blood pressure fall led to 18 percent and nine percent drops in risk of heart failure and a major cardiovascular event respectively, for those aged 75 to 84. Study lead Prof Kazem Rahimi said: “Age should be no barrier to prescribing effective treatments.”

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