More than a tenth of the money spent on prescriptions items in England in 2021/22 was for drugs used in treating diabetes, with diabetes drug prescriptions rising overall, data has shown.

Official NHS statistics on diabetes prescriptions, published today, revealed that 60.3m drug items used in treating diabetes prescribed in England in 2021/22, costing £1.25bn and representing 13% of the total spend on prescription items in the country.

This is a jump from 2015/6, where 49.7m diabetes items were prescribed in England, costing £958m and representing 10% of the total spend on all prescription items.

The data also found that antidiabetic drugs were the most prescribed drugs to treat diabetes, with 45.3m items prescribed at a cost of £746m - an increase of 76% since 2015/16 from £423m.

If identified 3.2m patients who were prescribed drugs used in diabetes in England in 2021/22 - a 5% increase from 3.05m in 2020/21, and an 18% rise from 2.7m in 2015/16.

Findings also showed there are more men than women who received drugs used in treating diabetes, with men aged 60 to 64 the most common group to be receiving the drugs (232,000 patients) followed by men aged 70 to 74 and men 65 to 69.

Although there was an increase in patients receiving drugs overall, those in deprived areas were most affected, , with two and a half times as many patients receiving prescribing from practices in the most deprived areas of the country compared to the least deprived.

The data only covered 'identified patients', verified through their NHS number. The authors pointed out that the rise in electronic prescriptions during the pandemic will have led to greater proportions of identified patients in 2021/22 because of the increased accuracy compared to paper.

This comes after NHS England announced this month that real-time continuous glucose monitors (rt-CGM) are now more widely available for people with type 1 diabetes.