Ready for Rescue – New Nasally Administered Glucagon for Severe Hypoglycemia Available in Canada

TORONTO, Jan. 23, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Eli Lilly Canada is pleased to announce the approval and availability of a new rescue treatment for severe hypoglycemia, demonstrating Lilly's commitment to simplifying diabetes management through medicines and patient solutions. The formulation was discovered in Canada and is changing the lives of people with diabetes around the world. Baqsimi™ (glucagon nasal powder 3 mg) was approved by Health Canada with ethical status, making it available at the pharmacy with or without a prescription. Baqsimi is indicated for the treatment of severe hypoglycemic reactions when impaired consciousness precludes oral carbohydrates, which may occur in the management of insulin-treated patients with diabetes mellitus, whether Type 1 or Type 2.i Baqsimi is a compact nasal spray that is portable and does not require reconstitution. It is now widely available in pharmacies across Canada.

For Canadians who have diabetes and who are treated with insulin, the fear of going 'low' (hypoglycemia) never goes away. When an individual has a severe low (severe hypoglycemia), they are unable to treat themselves, and they need help. For people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who are on medications like insulin, there can be countless causes of severe hypoglycemia. These include not eating enough, over-exercising, drinking alcohol, or even using diabetes medications incorrectly.ii

"We know that a severe low blood sugar can have very serious consequences.  Fear of a severe low can create a great deal of anxiety for the person living with diabetes and the people who care for them. The person experiencing the severe low is entirely dependent on the help of others." says Dr. Alice Cheng, Diabetes Specialist and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. "Finally, a new rescue treatment is available in Canada that is easier to use through nasal administration so a bystander can help someone in need."

Lilly Canada's General Manager, Lisa Matar, says, "Our legacy as a company began in diabetes here in Canada and it is exciting to see that a hundred years after Lilly helped to make insulin available to the world, we continue to have a positive impact on the lives of people with diabetes. Baqsimi is another great example of our commitment to partnerships, collaboration, and innovation in the treatment of severe hypoglycemia."

Baqsimi was acquired by Lilly from the Quebec-based Locemia Solutions in 2015. Dr. Claude Piche, who is the CEO and co-founder of the company, credits his partner Robert Oringer as the original inspiration behind Baqsimi. "With two sons diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, he understands the importance of having a rescue treatment for severe hypoglycemia that can be used by almost anyone," said Dr. Piche.

Canadian Patient Organizations Comment on Baqsimi's Approval

"The daily worry of a 'severe low' and the complexity of using injectable glucagon as the only rescue treatment creates an emotional toll for both the person living with diabetes and their caregivers. Having a new rescue option that is easy to administer with a single nasal puff by a caregiver will alleviate a significant burden, and it has the potential to save lives," says Dave Prowten, JDRF President and CEO.

"The fear of low blood sugar is common for those living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Severe low blood sugar can be a serious and life threatening occurrence. It is important for people living with diabetes to work closely with their health-care team to identify a care plan and intervention suited to their individual needs and circumstances. Intra-nasal glucagon gives patients a welcomed option," says Dr. Jan Hux, President and CEO of Diabetes Canada.

"For a parent of a child with diabetes, severe low blood sugar is always on their mind within any social environment or activity (parties, sleepovers, sports), especially at school when they need to rely on others in an emergency rescue situation. With so many variables to consider and be prepared for, Baqsimi's arrival in Canada eliminates a major source of worry. If a severe low does happen, all it takes is a puff in the nose from a caregiver to recover from severe low blood sugar," says Claire Rousse, Executive Director, Fondation Ressources Pour Enfants Diabétiques.

"Severe hypoglycemia can create great anxiety and stress for a person living with diabetes - the fear of being unable to help themselves and a constant worry if someone will know how to help them in an emergency. Baqsimi's simple nasal administration is a game-changer," says Sylvie Lauzon, CEO and President, Diabete Quebec.

For more information about Baqsimi and how you can be prepared for an unexpected severe hypoglycemic event, please visit, www.baqsimi.ca.

About Baqsimi Baqsimi is a portable, ready-to-use form of glucagon which requires no reconstitution or priming. It is administered in a single fixed dose of 3 mg which is sprayed in the nose, where it is absorbed. Baqsimi does not need to be refrigerated and can be stored at temperatures up to 30°C/86°F in its shrink-wrapped tube. Baqsimi is indicated for the treatment of severe hypoglycemic reactions in people 4 years old and above when impaired consciousness precludes oral carbohydrates, which may occur in the management of insulin-treated patients with diabetes mellitus. The formulation was discovered in Canada.

About Lilly Canada
Eli Lilly and Company is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by Colonel Eli Lilly, who was committed to creating high quality medicines that meet people's needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to people who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and contribute to our communities through philanthropy and volunteerism.

Eli Lilly Canada was established in 1938, the result of a research collaboration with scientists at the University of Toronto which eventually produced the world's first commercially-available insulin. Our work focuses on oncology, diabetes, autoimmunity, neurodegeneration, and pain. To learn more about Lilly Canada, please visit us at www.lilly.ca.

For our perspective on issues in healthcare and innovation, follow us on twitter @LillyPadCA. 

Media Contact:
Ethan Pigott
Pigott_ethan@network.lilly.com
416-770-5843

REFERENCES

i Baqsimi Canadian Product Monograph - September 2019.
ii Diabetes Canada - Severe Hypoglycemia - Last accessed on January 17 - ttps://www.diabetes.ca/health-care-providers/clinical-practice-guidelines/chapter-14#panel-tab_FullText

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