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For Canadians who have diabetes, the fear of going low (hypoglycemia) is always around. When an individual has an extreme low-blood-sugar event, or severe hypoglycemia, they will be unable to treat themselves and will require assistance to activate their individual rescue plans and recover. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and are on medications like insulin, there can be countless causes of severe hypoglycemia, including not eating enough, over-exercise, drinking alcohol, or even using diabetes medications incorrectly.
A severe hypoglycemic event creates an intense and stressful situation very quickly. The person with diabetes may be unconscious, and require someone else to rescue them with a timely dose of glucagon (glucagon is a hormone secreted by the pancreas to raise blood glucose levels).
The daily worry of a ‘severe low’ and the complexity of injectable glucagon as the only rescue treatment creates an emotional toll for both the person with diabetes and their caregiver. The intense burden of this risk and its complexity has been lifted for Canadians with the approval of Baqsimi™, the first and only nasally administered glucagon.
A Canadian discovery, Baqsimi (glucagon) Nasal Powder 3 mg was approved by Health Canada with ethical status in September 2019, which means patients can access it at the pharmacy without a prescription. It will be widely available in pharmacies across Canada starting December 2019. Baqsimi is indicated for the treatment of severe hypoglycemia, which may occur in people with diabetes using insulin, when they have reduced level of alertness and are unable to swallow. Unlike injectable glucagon, Baqsimi is ready to use, and it does not need to be mixed or measured.
“Lilly is extremely proud of our work to make life easier for people with diabetes, which stretches from the discovery of insulin nearly one hundred years ago at the University of Toronto, to our recent launch of Baqsimi, which is also a Canadian innovation,” says Lisa Matar, general manager, Eli Lilly Canada Inc.
Dr. Claude Piche, who is the CEO and co-founder of Quebec-based Locemia Solutions and who discovered Baqsimi, credits co-founder Robert Oringer for the original inspiration. “With two sons diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, he understood the importance of having a severe hypoglycemia rescue treatment that could be used by a broad network of people...one that would be different from other low blood sugar emergency treatments, because it is delivered as a puff in the nose, instead of as an injection," says Dr. Piche.
“The thought of my daughter having a severe hypoglycemic event was a daily fear,” says Jackie Hardwick. “We had a rescue plan in place for when she was at school, but still I worried. If she had severe low blood sugar—in that stressful situation—would anyone be able to properly mix and inject the glucagon? It is a huge relief to know that if she does have a low, Baqsimi has her back with its simplicity.”
Lilly Canada is excited about the approval of Baqsimi as an important step forward in simplifying diabetes care for Canadians. Baqsimi is a new tool for anyone with diabetes who may have a severe hypoglycemic event, and when used in combination with an individual rescue plan, it can provide added protection from an extreme low. Speak with your doctor to ensure you are prepared and protected!
Author: Eli Lilly Canada
Category Tags: Research;