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New insulin for Type 2 diabetes launched in South Africa

We have just found out about an exciting new insulin for Type 2 diabetes, released by Novo Nordisk. Read on to find out more!

new insulin for type 2 diabetes

New insulin for Type 2 diabetes

The new insulin, Xultophy, has Victoza as one of its elements, so can help with weight loss while it helps manage Type 2 diabetes with Tresiba – an ultra-long acting insulin. As with all diabetes medications, it is a prescription drug, so you need to ask your doctor about it. We asked endocrinologist Dr Sundeep Ruder what he thinks about it:

“Xultophy is a good drug. It’s a combination of Tresiba and Victoza, so it has very good efficacy with less side effects. It also has a lower risk of hypo versus traditional approaches.
Of course, patients need to be identified and selected appropriately, but it makes sense to treat Type 2 diabetes in a complimentary way, which this drug does.”

Dr Sundeep Ruder, endocrinologist

Here’s what Novo Nordisk has to say about their new insulin.

Treating Type 2 diabetes

The easiest way to test for diabetes is to use the HbA1c test. This tests the average blood sugar level of a person for the past two to three months. Anything below 5.7% is considered normal, 5.7% to 6.4% is considered prediabetic, and 6.5% or higher on two separate tests indicates diabetes. If an HbA1C test is not available, a random blood sugar test, fasting blood sugar test or an oral glucose tolerance test can be conducted to test for diabetes. Here’s an explanation of all the various ways to test for diabetes.
Once diabetes is confirmed, the focus is on managing the disease to prevent long-term complications. Here are the most common diabetes complications. One of the most important ways this is done is by maintaining and improving glycaemic (blood sugar) control over time.

Diabetes treatment options

The most common methods used to treat diabetes include starting a diet and increasing physical activity in an effort to lose weight and lower blood glucose levels. It is also recommended that smokers quit in order to help avoid complications. Blood sugar levels will also need to be monitored to ensure that blood sugar levels stay within the target range.
If diet, exercise, and weight loss are not enough to maintain the targeted blood sugar levels, medication is the next step. This includes oral medications and injectable medications that assist in either improving insulin production or insulin function. Some medications focus on lowering glucose production or decreasing glucose absorption. Here’s a simple way to manage diabetes: TEEL.

new insulin therapy for type 2 diabetes

Insulin for Type 2 diabetes

Insulin therapy is another important form of treatment for diabetes, however it is often delayed due to concerns from patients or health care practioners. Some of the most common concerns around insulin therapy include fear of potential increased hypoglycaemia risk (risk of going low), weight gain, and treatment complexity. Delaying insulin treatment can lead to irreversible complications, so it is vital to escalate treatment to include insulin if necessary. Here’s all you need to know about starting insulin with Type 2 diabetes.


Novo Nordisk South Africa, a leading global healthcare company, is proud to be launching its new insulin therapy product in South Africa.

The new, injectable insulin therapy is a fixed ratio combination of a basal insulin and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) in a single formulation. GLP-1 agonist medicines are a type of incretin-based medicine for Type 2 diabetes. This type of medicine is based on the action of hormones called incretins which help control how the pancreas works. GLP-1 is a type of incretin that causes the pancreas to produce more insulin after eating, and helps keep blood sugar levels within a normal range. 
According to specialist physician Dr Adri Kok, a unique characteristic of the basal insulin and GLP-1RA combination is that fixed-ratio co-formulations are available.

“These are dosed once-daily and therefore allow treatment intensification without additional daily injections. This is important because a greater number of daily injections is associated with decreased adherence, poorer quality of life and clinical inertia.”

Dr Adri Kok

The new therapy offers greater convenience to patients in that it only needs to be taken once a day and can be taken independently of meals. The fixed combination offers a variety of benefits to people with Type 2 diabetes including a reduced rate of hypoglycaemic episodes (lows), fewer injections, a lower total daily insulin dose, and even weight loss.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that needs continuous monitoring to ensure that it does not cause any irreversible complications. The sooner treatment is started, the better. Speak to your doctor today about diabetes and the treatments available to you.

What to read next?

Type 2 diabetes and insulin: don’t be scared, here’s what you need to know: Think you might be ready for insulin? Read this to find out more.

10 Fast facts about hypoglycemia (low blood sugar): Not sure what hypos are? Here’s an explanation.

What is TEEL? A simple way to manage your diabetes: TEEL offers 4 rules for managing diabetes.

Photo by Dennis Klicker and National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

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  1. Alta Alta

    Using Xultophy made me soo sick I had to stop. Wonder if anybody else has the same problem.

    • Really? So sorry to hear that! Was it expected side effects, or something worse? Had you used Tresiba or Victoza before? Hope you’re feeling better now!


    Hi good morning,currently on RIZODEG X a day. high dosage.
    Picking up too much weight around the belly.
    Was wondering if I won’t suffer any side effects. when switching over.

    • Hi Nazeema!
      Unfortunately we aren’t medical specialists so can’t advise… Best to ask your doctor?
      Let us know how it goes!

  3. Hendrik Reyneke Hendrik Reyneke

    Good day

    My wife is a diabetic and been on Xultophy for nearly 12 months now and it has been working brilliantly.

    However, there is currently a shortage in supply within SA due to people using it as a weightloss remedy.

    Could you possibly assist with finding an alternative supply of Xultophy for patients whose life actually depends on the medication.

    Kind regards
    Henco Reyneke

    • Hi Henco,
      Thanks so much for your message. I’m so sorry your wife has been struggling to find Xultophy! Unfortunately this is a manufacturing issue, and we aren’t able to help with medication supply… I know there are some alternatives, but you’d have to ask her doctor for them. I’m so sorry we can’t be more helpful!

  4. Mervyn Naicker Mervyn Naicker

    Xultophy is great but is not available for 7 months now in South africa, where can it sourced from

    • We’ve heard this feedback from so many community members! I think it’s all linked to the shortage of Ozempic and Trulicity worldwide. Apparently stock is now available, but we know it can be hard to find. We’ve been advised to tell community members to ask at their local pharmacies and ask them to call as soon as stock comes in. Good luck!

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.