Information on diabetes drug shortages

diabetes (1)

The NHS is currently facing supply issues with glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs), a range of drugs used for managing blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. These medications are: Dulaglutide (Trulicity®), Exenatide (Byetta® or Bydureon®), Semaglutide (Ozempic® or Rybelsus®), Liraglutide (Victoza®) and Lixisenatide (Lyxumia®).

Supply of these medications is not expected to return to normal until at least mid-2024 4 but this date is subject to change.

Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board (BSW ICB) has supported GPs to contact all patients currently prescribed these drugs to advise them that they should continue to take their medication as normal and that they will be contacted by their GP practice if their diabetes treatment needs to be reviewed as a result of these shortages. 

BSW ICB is also working closely with GPs and other prescribing clinical staff on this issue to ensure the best outcome for patients.


Why are there shortages for these drugs?

Shortages are due to increased demand for these drugs internationally.

When will these shortages be resolved?

Supply is not expected to return until at least the middle of 2024 but these dates are subject to change.

What should I do during this time with my diabetes medication?

You should continue taking all your diabetes medication as normal, including your GLP-1 analogue if
you have a supply.

Will I need a review for my diabetes?

The shortages may affect different products at different times; therefore, some people may need an
earlier review for their diabetes. Due to the number of people affected by this shortage, we have asked
for those who are most at risk to be prioritised. This may mean that some people may need to wait a
small amount of time to be reviewed.

Will my diabetes treatment need to change?

Your diabetes treatment may need to be changed in view of the shortage. A member of the team will contact you if this is necessary and discuss options.

Where can I get further information about this?

We do not have any further information about the shortage or return to stock dates at this time and we are dealing with a high volume of calls. Please bear this in mind before considering contacting your GP or local diabetes specialist team. Further information will be provided when it is available.

What do I do if I feel unwell?

If you feel unwell with symptoms of high blood glucose, e.g., feeling very thirsty, peeing a lot, feeling weak or tired, blurred vision or losing weight, please seek a GP appointment at the earliest opportunity.

Please call 111 for help if you think you have high blood glucose and you’re feeling sick, being sick or have stomach pain, you’re breathing more quickly than usual or your heart is beating faster than usual, you feel drowsy or are struggling to stay awake, your breath has a fruity smell (like pear drop sweets), you feel confused or have difficulty concentrating, you have a high level of ketones in your blood or pee. These could be signs you are becoming very unwell.

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