NICE gave its backing to wider use of once-a-day Victoza (liraglutide), designed to help patients stabilise their blood sugar levels.
The drug can be used on obese people as well as diabetics who are not overweight. It acts by reducing appetite and stimulating the release of insulin.
The drug itself differs from insulin in its make-up and provides patients with a “step” between oral tablets and going on to insulin.
NICE has published draft guidance recommending a 1.2mg dose of the drug each day was suitable for some diabetics, but adding there did not appear to be any extra benefit gained from a higher 1.8mg dose.
Victoza must be taken in combination with other diabetes drugs, according to the the guidance, and treatment should only be continued if the patient is benefiting.
Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and inactive lifestyles.
Dr Carole Longson, health technology evaluation centre director at NICE, said: “There are about 2.5 million people in the UK living with diabetes – 90% of whom have type 2 diabetes.
“It is a serious, progressive disease, and so we are pleased to be able to recommend liraglutide 1.2mg daily as a clinically and cost effective treatment option for some patients with type 2 diabetes.”
Evidence from the manufacturer Novo Nordisk suggests almost 5,500 patients would go on to the drug in the first year.