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Rybelsus approved in Japan for the treatment of type 2 diabetes

Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen

Novo Nordisk has announced that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has approved Rybelsus (oral semaglutide), the first and only oral glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 RA) in a tablet, for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes.

The approval of Rybelsus in Japan is based on results from the PIONEER clinical trial programme, which involved more than 9,500 adults with type 2 diabetes, including approximately 1,300 adults from Japan. The approved label reflects the Japanese studies, which showed that Rybelsus 7 mg once daily was comparable to liraglutide 0.9 mg once daily and, in combination with one other oral antidiabetic treatment, Rybelsus 7 mg once daily was comparable to dulaglutide 0.75 mg once weekly, while Rybelsus 14 mg once daily resulted in significantly greater reductions in HbA1c than both liraglutide and dulaglutide – the two most widely used injectable GLP-1 receptor agonists in Japan.

“We are very excited about the approval of Rybelsus in Japan, offering people living with type 2 diabetes the first and only oral GLP-1 in a tablet,” said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, executive vice president and chief scientific officer. “Providing people living with type 2 diabetes with efficacious and convenient treatment options is essential, as millions of people are currently not achieving target blood sugar levels on available oral antidiabetic medications.”

Novo Nordisk will now initiate reimbursement negotiations and expects to launch Rybelsus in Japan thereafter. Novo Nordisk and MSD will be co-promoting Rybelsus in Japan.

Photo of Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen