Long-Acting Insulin Offers New Option for Diabetes Patients

Toujeo, Sanofi's once-daily insulin injection for diabetes, approved by FDA

(RxWiki News) Diabetes patients just got a more potent insulin option.

That new option is Sanofi's Toujeo. The US Food and Drug Administration approved it Wednesday.

"This approval is good news for diabetics using insulin," said Bill Swail, RPh, founder of Peoples Rx, voted Austin's Favorite Pharmacy.

"Regulation of blood sugar can be complicated and difficult if patients can't produce or process insulin properly," Swail told dailyRx News. "Compared to other insulin treatments, Toujeo keeps blood insulin levels more constant over time, which might make it easier for diabetes patients to regulate their blood sugar levels throughout the day."

But Toujeo is not without certain risks, Swail cautioned, including hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), cold symtpoms, and upper respiratory infection.

Reuters reports Toujeo may carry a lower risk of hypoglycemia compared to its predecessor, Lantus, but that lower risk was not noted on the product label. However, in a press release, Sanofi claimed that information about the risk of hypoglycemia was present on Toujeo's label.

Hypoglycemia is a dangerous drop in blood sugar. In tests comparing Toujeo to Sanofi's insulin medication Lantus, fewer patients taking Toujeo experienced hypoglycemia than patients taking Lantus, Reuters reports. Hypoglycemia is a common side effect of insulin treatment.

Toujeo contains insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Patients with diabetes either don't produce insulin (type 1) or cannot process it properly (type 2).

"Nearly 50 percent of people living with diabetes remain uncontrolled," said John Anderson, MD, an internal medicine and diabetes specialist at Frist Clinic in Nashville, TN, in a press release. "Despite the proven efficacy of insulin, ensuring effective [dosing] and maintenance can be a challenge for both patients and healthcare professionals due to hypoglycemia concerns. Toujeo provides a new option that may help patients manage their diabetes."

Insulin injections help diabetes patients keep their blood sugar at a normal level. If these patients don't regulate their blood sugar, they may be at risk of health problems like heart disease and kidney damage. Toujeo is given once a day to help patients maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Toujeo contains roughly three times the insulin of Lantus. Several studies tested the safety and effectiveness of Toujeo on a total of more than 3,500 patients. Besides a risk of hypoglycemia, other side effects included cold symptoms and upper respiratory tract infections.

Review Date: 
February 27, 2015