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New basal insulin option ‘degludec’ for T2

Research recently published in the The Lancet has indicated that early studies into a new basal insulin option for people with type 2 diabetes, which could mean fewer injections, have been positive.

The insulin degludec is a new basal insulin which is ultra-long acting. This small study aimed to test the efficacy of the drug when injected once a day or three times a week in comparison to the long established glargine insulin, which is injected once a day. Both insulins are used in people with type 2 diabetes in addition to oral tablets.

The 16-week, phase 2 randomised trial was conducted in 28 clinical sites in Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. There were 245 participants aged between 18 and 75, all of whom had type 2 diabetes and a Hba1c of between 7 and 11 percent. Some of the participants had poorly controlled diabetes so any effect  on blood glucose caused by taking part in the study cannot be excluded.

Participants in the study were selected to receive either insulin degludec three times per week, once a day or insulin glargine, once a day, all in combination with the tablet metformin. The resulting Hba1c’s at the end of the trial were much the same across all treatment groups, between 7.2 and 7.5 percent. Few participants across all groups had any incidents of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels).

The findings suggested that the degludec seemed to provide comparable glycaemic control to the insulin glargine without any additional hypoglycaemia and might well reduce dosing frequency due to its ultra-long acting capability. The researchers say that although this research is an early stage, the results are positive. In a podcast on the The Lancet website, they say that phase 3 trials into the use of degludec, which include some longer studies, should be completed shortly.

Gwen Hall, DRWF Editorial Board said on the research, ‘It is always essential to tailor the insulin to match the individual. Having a wider choice of insulins, with different duration of action and timing of effective peaks, enables the well informed health professional to work with the person with diabetes to choose what is right for them. This small study gives an early indication of future developments, widening that scope.’

Source – The Lancet

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