Bid goodbye to daily insulin injections and say hello to a new age solution: Semglee. A startling discovery that might potentially help diabetic patients has been made. Even though diabetes is a fairly manageable disease, there are some days which are really tiring for those who are suffering from it. Most of the patients view diabetes as a challenge and their daily goal is to just rise to the challenge every single day. Scientists have been on the hunt for a new drug to cure diabetes for a very long time. Diabetic patients deal with a lot of pricks daily, and they need a solution to make their lives easier. Trying to manage diabetes is tough because if you don’t follow the rules then life can become very difficult to deal with.
What do You Mean By Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition wherein your body is not able to process the sugar or glucose in your blood which is the body’s main source of energy. If the daily energy requirements of our body are not fulfilled, then we will just end up starving. Our pancreas produce a hormone called ‘insulin’ which does the job of delivering glucose from blood to the cells of our body. Sometimes, your body does not make enough insulin or your body develops resistance to insulin which leads to accumulation of glucose in your blood. This accumulation of sugar in your blood ultimately causes a lot of health problems such as heart diseases, stroke, kidney diseases, eye problems, dental issues, and nerve damage. All of this might sound too scary but thankfully with insulin shots, your blood sugar levels can be managed.
How Common is Diabetes?
You’ll be surprised to know a diabetic fact that the number of people in the world suffering from diabetes has quadrupled since 1980. This problem is especially prevalent in people who have weight issues. With the lifestyle that we all live today, most of us tend to gain weight due to our diet preferences and lack of exercise in our daily routine. There are more than 62 million diabetic patients in India today, which accounts for about 7.2% of our adult population. Another disturbing fact is that nearly 1 million Indians die from diabetes every year and the numbers are still on the rise.
How Many Types of Diabetes Mellitus Are There?
Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus:
Our immune system is responsible for attacking foreign cells and germs that enter our body. But sometimes, our immune system lacks the ability to differentiate between self and non-self. This is exactly what happens in Type 1 Diabetes. In people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system starts attacking the beta-cells of pancreas which generate insulin. Due to this, the body does not produce any insulin and the blood sugar level rises. This disease is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults but it can happen at any age. To survive, the patient has to take an insulin shot every day to stay alive.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus:
In type 2 diabetes your body either does not produce adequate levels of insulin or the body cells do not respond to insulin. This disease can occur at any age but it’s most common in middle-aged people. It is also the most common type of diabetes.
Gestational diabetes develops in women during pregnancy and usually gets normal once the baby is born. But these women have greater chances of developing type 2 diabetes later in their life. In fact, most of the cases diagnosed during pregnancy, are of type 2 diabetes.
A New and Cheaper Drug in the Market
People living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes can finally breathe a sigh of relief! A new long-acting insulin drug named ‘Semglee‘ is now approved by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Semglee is co-developed by Biocon Biologics and The Mylan. It’s a biosimilar glargine (glargine is synthetically developed insulin) which means that it is a highly similar version of glargine that’s made from living organisms found in plant and animal cells. With the FDA’s new guideline for quick approval of biosimilar products to increase the competition in the market, there was no problem in getting Semglee FDA approved.
Christine Hamacher, chief executive officer and managing director of Biocon Biologics said “The global INSTRIDE clinical studies have demonstrated no difference in safety, efficacy, and immunogenicity of Semglee in comparison to the reference product, Lantus in type 1 and type 2 diabetes.” Patients above 2 years of age can be treated by using Semglee which contains the active substance ‘insulin glargine.’
Semglee has a similar working action to that of insulin. Just like insulin, it helps the body’s cells to take up glucose from the blood. The symptoms and complications of diabetes can be reduced by maintaining the blood sugar levels in patients. The secret behind the long-lasting action of Semglee is that it enters the bloodstream more slowly as compared to insulin when injected. Another added benefit of Semglee is that patients suffering from type 2 diabetes, can take it orally as well. Semglee is available in pre-filled disposable pens which can be purchased only with the help of a prescription. It is injected under the skin of the belly, thigh, or underarm. Most individuals can do this at home once they’re trained by their healthcare providers.
According to the INSTRIDE studies of Semglee vs Lantus, patients who continued treatment with Lantus for 24 weeks showed that Hb1ac levels changed by an average of 0.11% and in those who took Semglee for 24 weeks, Hba1c levels changed by an average of 0.14%. Hb1ac is also known as glycosylated hemoglobin and is a parameter to measure how well a patient’s blood sugar is controlled. However, as with any medicine, this one has side effects too. Just like other insulin replacement drug competitors in the market, Semglee too has shown side effects of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose level) in every 1 out of 10 patients. But this risk is quite manageable under the guidance of healthcare providers.
Co-founders Biocon Biologics and The Mylan, are quite confident about the efficiency of their new biosimilar drug Semglee and are hoping to make it a worldwide success. With a long-lasting drug action and a cheaper price range, we too are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that the drug will bring a positive change in the lives of millions of people suffering from diabetes. With Semglee, we hope that one day you too will be able to say “I used to have diabetes.”