By Christmas, controlling diabetes and fighting obesity will all come down to a simple daily jab that would have hit the counter at National Institute for Health (NHS) by then.
The injection, called Victoza, has been given the go-ahead by the drugs watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
AdvertisementThe jab, which also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, could be the saviour for thousands of sufferers of type 2 diabetes, the form linked to middle-age spread, from having to take insulin.
And while insulin causes weight gain, Victoza, which is also known as liraglutide, cases the pounds to fall off, bringing extra benefits to health.
Instead of injecting insulin straight into the body, Victoza helps patients stabilise their blood sugar levels by stimulating the pancreas into releasing insulin.
Draft guidance, which is likely to be rubber-stamped next month, recommends the 3-pound-a-day jab is used when other key diabetes drugs have failed.
It is also deemed suitable for extremely overweight diabetics and those who have driving and other jobs that prevent them from taking insulin.
It should be taken in combination with other diabetes drugs and treatment should be continued only if the patient is benefiting.
"It is a very good drug and it is going to be very useful for a lot of people," the Daily Mail quoted Dr David Haslam, a GP who already has experience of prescribing the jab, as saying.
"If someone is having other problems because they are obese and they can't afford to go on insulin because of their work, then it is absolutely appropriate they get this drug. I am very pleased that we have a new drug in our arsenal," he added.
Apart from as lowering blood sugar, Victoza tricks the brain into thinking we are full when eating 20 per cent less food than normal.
Preliminary studies found that, taken for six months, it helped men and women who have struggled with their weight for years shed a stone and a half on average.
That makes it more than twice as good as anything already on the market to help with weight loss.
Blood pressure dropped to such an extent that patients could throw away the drugs they were taking to keep it under control. And there was an improvement in blood fats, including cholesterol.
Like insulin, Victoza comes in an injectable pen.
Most patients like the idea of injecting themselves, perhaps because they believe a medicine in a jab must be more powerful than one in a pill. But it may be possible to turn it into a pill in the future.
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