Diabetes is said to be one of the rising killer diseases globally, claiming one life every eight seconds and a limb lost at every 30 seconds, according to reports from World Health Organisation and the International Diabetes Federation.
Mr William Ofori, Country Manager of AstraZeneca in Ghana who launched the new medicine, said Forxiga is a prescription medicine used together with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar in adults 18 years and older with type 2 diabetes.
He said it is the first medicine that works in the kidney to flush away excess sugar via urine and belongs to a class of medicines called SGLT2 (sodium-glucose cotransporter 2) inhibitors.
Dr Roberta Lamptey, Consultant Family Physician from Korle Bu Polyclinic in a presentation about the benefits, said the drug is a good source of glycaemic control with added benefits of weight loss and reduced blood pressure.
Prince K Aryee, Product Specialist -CV/Met of AstraZeneca in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said the medicine must be taken once daily anytime of the day with or without meals by prescription by a medical doctor.
Type 2 diabetes was previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for about 90 per cent to 95 per cent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include obesity, family history of diabetes, prior history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, physical inactivity.
Diabetes is caused by the failure of the “power-house” of the cell to use glucose to produce energy. The “power-house” is known as mitochondrial matrix.
People with diabetes fail to convert most of the glucose into energy. Hence, glucose builds up in the blood and passes out of the body as part of the urine.
Diabetes could cause serious health complications including heart diseases, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations.
In Ghana, about four million people may be affected with diabetes mellitus, which is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, a condition which could be attributed to a situation where either the body does not produce enough insulin or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced; but it could be controlled and managed with little injections of insulin.
Dr Yacoba Atiase, Consultant Endocrinologist, Internal Medicine, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital urged families to conduct regular diabetes checks to ensure early detection and possible prevention.