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Type 2

Rybelsus, the GLP-1 agonist in Pill Form, to Launch in Canadian Market in April 2020

By Frida Velcani​

Rybelsus, a GLP-1 agonist pill already approved in Europe and the US, has just been approved by Health Canada for adults with type 2 diabetes

In Canada, the first and only GLP-1 agonist pill has received approval for people with type 2 diabetes. Rybelsus (known as oral semaglutide in clinical trials) is a once-daily pill version of Ozempic, a GLP-1 agonist injection used to treat type 2 diabetes. This news is especially timely given its recent approval by the European Medicines Agency and its approval in the US in 2019! Health Canada is now the third regulatory agency to provide more options for people interested in GLP-1 agonists. Novo Nordisk has announced that Rybelsus will be coming to Canadian pharmacies on April 27, 2020. 

Rybelsus can be taken alone or in combination with other treatments for type 2 diabetes to improve blood glucose management, i.e., time in range. Its approval follows evidence that, in addition to lowering blood glucose, both Rybelsus and Ozempic benefit heart health by reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart-related death. This is important because people with type 2 diabetes are at substantially higher risk of heart disease than those without diabetes. Click here to learn more about the benefits of Rybelsus. 

GLP-1 agonists in Canada were previously only available as injections, ranging from twice-daily to once-weekly. This approval will have a huge impact on people with type 2 diabetes – it means that people who take the drug do not need regular needle injections, a common barrier to GLP-1 agonist therapy. While we don’t have any information on pricing, we are hopeful that Canada will improve access to GLP-1 treatments, particularly for people at risk of heart disease. To get a Rybelsus savings card, text READY to 21848 or go to saveonr.com.

We strongly believe that medicine that works and is easier to use helps people manage their diabetes better. If you have type 2 and don’t know about GLP-1 – heart disease prevention, weight loss, lower A1C, and less hypoglycemia (and many experts associate also associate improved time in range with GLP-1) – you can look into this medicine. It is not yet generic but there are different ways to get it whether or not you have generous insurance or not. If you like the idea of a pill, look up Rybelsus, or if you like the idea of a once-weekly injection, look for Bydureon, Ozempic, or Trulicity. Sometimes healthcare professionals have to do what’s called a “prior authorization” to get access – read more about that here. We are sympathetic that some medicines are harder to get and that takes doctors’ offices longer to get it for you – but we still suggest that you bring your data (blood glucose monitoring or CGM) to your healthcare team in order to figure out with them what is the next step for you.