Longer Lasting Insulin

New insulin reduces number of injections for diabetes patients

(RxWiki News) Many diabetes patients struggle with the regular inconvenience of taking multiple insulin injections every day. However, change  is on the way!

dailyRx Insight: A type of insulin called degludec that lasts longer and requires less frequent injections could soon be available to patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pancreas. Diabetics often need supplemental insulin because their body either does not produce the hormone or does not use it properly.

In trials involving 245 diabetes patients, Mayo Clinic researchers compared outcomes between patients who took insulin degludec three times per week, those who took insulin degludec once per day, and those who took insulin glargine (the currently used insulin).

The researchers found that the insulin degludec required patients to take doses only three times per week in order to be as effective as insulin glargine. In addition, insulin degludec injections resulted in lower rates of low blood sugar, a common side effect of insulin treatment.

Because insulin degludec stays active in patients' bodies for longer periods of time, it does not need to be injected as frequently. This is likely to increase patients' adherence to their treatment regimen, while also reducing rates of low blood sugar and other negative side effects.

In the United States each year, nearly 26 million individuals are affected by diabetes, with about seven million people going undiagnosed. Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease with no cure in which a person has either high or low blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational. Several groups of drugs, mostly given by mouth, are effective for Type 2. The therapeutic combination in Type 2 may include insulin. The great advantage of injected insulin in Type 2 is that patients can adjust the dose according to blood glucose levels, usually measured with a simple meter. Along with the presence of physical symptoms, a common blood test known as the A1c can test for the disease.

The study is published in The Lancet.

Review Date: 
March 10, 2011