Novo Nordisk FIAsp. Announced and with us shortly in the UK, + whatever happened to BC Lispro…? #fasterinsulinplease

Novo Nordisk FIAsp. Announced and with us shortly in the UK, + whatever happened to BC Lispro…?
Novo Nordisk FIAsp. Announced and with us shortly in the UK, + whatever happened to BC Lispro…?

The first of the faster insulins that we saw a great deal of detail about at EASD 2016 is due to arrive at wholesalers near us, and it’s imminent. For those who haven’t seen it, take a look at this post detailing the faster insulins. Sadly, in January, Lilly unexpectedly terminated their collaboration with the French company Adocia, on BC Lispro, which had been showing excellent results in the Phase II trials, and it is still unclear why.

The conspiracy theorists might point at Diasome, whose phase IIb trials are being done with Lispro, and therefore, to some extent, likely to be in association with Lilly, given what was said about the Joslin linked IIb trials looking at pharmacist added and manufacturer added HDV. You can’t do the latter without a friendly manufacturer.

Obviously this is just speculation, but the idea of simply adding an accelerator with reduced hypo impact versus having to do a bunch of rDNA manufacturing work to produce your faster insulin would certainly drive me to to look at the economics of one model versus another… We’ll find out later this year, I’m sure!

Back to the topic of FIAsp then. Having called Novo to find out more, they were very willing to tell me plenty. While it doesn’t show the promise that BC Lispro showed, the performance is still better than Aspart (or Novorapid as we know it):

FIAsp performance comparison with Novorapid

Novo’s trials showed twice as fast absorption, which still looks good, with a similar tail. Reading the prescribing data sheet gives all the data.

The onset of action was 5 minutes earlier and time to maximum glucose infusion rate was 11 minutes earlier with Fiasp than with NovoRapid. The maximum glucose-lowering effect of Fiasp occurred between 1 and 3 hours after injection. The glucose–lowering effect during the first 30 minutes (AUCGIR, 0–30 min ) was 51 mg/kg with Fiasp and 29 mg/kg with NovoRapid (Fiasp/NovoRapid ratio: 1.74 [1.47;2.10]95% CI). The total glucose–lowering effect and maximum (GIRmax) glucose–lowering effect were comparable between Fiasp and NovoRapid. Total and maximum glucose–lowering effect of Fiasp increase linearly with increasing dose within the therapeutic dose range.

The duration of action was shorter for Fiasp compared to that of NovoRapid, and lasts for 3–5 hours.

The day-to-day variability within-patients in glucose-lowering effect was low for Fiasp both for early (AUCGIR, 0-1h, CV~26%), total (AUCGIR, 0-12h, CV~18%) and maximum glucose–lowering effect (GIRmax, CV~19%).

That tells us that there is a lot more insulin available a lot more quickly. The insulin concentration profile graph also tells us a lot.

Based on the trials data, we’re seeing peak insulin in half an hour, the peak action lasts for about an hour, and an almost instant action time. Oh, and it looks like while the tail is similar in length to Novorapid, the concentration of insulin from one up to three hours is lower. This probably means that slower absorption foods are going to need a bit of extra care to avoid late highs with this stuff.

If you want further details, the linked data sheet has it all.

What about arrival? Well, straight from the Apis Bull’s mouth….

They confirmed that early March was when they’d have it available, and they couldn’t confirm the release date to wholesalers, but the 10th March seems like a reasonable estimate based on the responses to a direct question.

Novo are not replacing Novorapid. FIAsp is a standalone product that will sit alongside Novorapid, although it’s probably worth mentioning that Novorapid is approaching the end of its patent life, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if this were a changeover period by design.

It will need to be ordered by pharmacists through Alliance (as I presume are all Novo products, although I hold my hand up to not knowing about the Novo supply chain), and most importantly, we understand based on consultant feedback, the NHS cost of FIAsp is no different to that of Novorapid!

Whilst Novo are unwilling to confirm this data to a non-Healthcare professional (in spite of me paying for the insulin and the doctor via tax/NI, and all pricing being available on the NHS BSA Drug Tariff website), a quick trip to the aforementioned website shows an interesting anomaly against Insulin Aspart. It no longer has a product name against it for the March 2017 tariff. Formerly it said Novorapid, as per the below picture for February 2017.

And then the corresponding shot from March 2017, which no longer provides a product name. Remember Novorapid and FIAsp are both Insulin Aspart….

If this proves to be incorrect, I’ll update this post…

So there it is. The newest fast acting on the block will be here shortly, and I look forward to getting hold of some and seeing, in the real world, how it compares!


    • I’ve no idea Grant. The stuff I’ve seen just says that it’s “UK” rather than NHS England & Wales or NHS Scotland.

  1. I rang Novo to get pricing info on Monday and was told it is still in pre release. Pricing only to be given to Doctors and Pharmacies. I hope it is on par with Novorapid or it will be an adoption blocker.

    • Similar to the message I got, although, they did say that they don’t give pricing to non-HCPs at all…

      I don’t buy that pricing wouldn’t have been agreed with NHS BSA for inclusion in the March Drug Tariff though, which is why I trawled through it to find that Aspart no longer had Novorapid next to it….

      Apparently a couple of consultants have also mentioned that it will be priced the same as Novorapid.

  2. SO do you think they are just going to swap it from Novorapid to Fiasp? Or have I misinterpreted? This seems pretty dangerous if people don’t realise the difference, especially those who carefully time their bolus dose based on the Novorapid profile!

    Brilliant that we’re finally seeing something come to ‘market’ though

    • I think you’ve misread the post. They have clearly stated they are keeping both FIAsp and NovoRapid running side by side, so no need for issues.

      That’s not to say that pharmacies will always get it right though, so people will probably need to check!

      • I spoke to my GP today, she has had a detailed email back from her prescribing advisor. It is supposed to be out today, so it should be available to prescribe from the BNF in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully I’ll be on it by the end of the month 😀

    • Hi Simon, I’ve had multiple conversations with people on this one. There seems to be a bit of a stickler in that there is currently an ongoing FIAsp international trial, and it seems that many areas are waiting for the outcome of that before adding it to the formulary. This means getting hold of it particularly difficult.

      It could mean a six month delay before some areas see it added. I continue to try and get hold of it.

  3. I have just been prescribed Fiasp by my consultant today, hopefully pick it up tomorrow!
    Btw I live in Northern Ireland, I’m sure we are on par with England.

  4. Got my new Fiasp insulin today ,29 th April .Slight problem though ,,it is in Capsule form ,but no syringe .Is there a specific syringe for Fiasp insulin ?
    Thanks ,John

    • Hi John,

      Are you saying you have the cartridges that go into a pen (penfills), or the vials? If it’s the former then you need one of a Novopen 4, 5 or Echo and if the latter, a bog standard syringe will do the job.

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