Novo Nordisk’s new variety of long-lasting insulin, insulin degludec, reduces low blood sugars while improving overall control, according to a pair of studies published in the prestigious journal The Lancet on April 27.
The phase 3 studies looked at 1,635 people and compared the new insulin with a standard insulin glargine. It appeared effective for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. For type 2s, it reduced the number of low blood sugar episodes to 11.1 per year, as opposed to 13.6 per year. Nighttime low blood sugars were reduced by 25 percent for both type 1s and type 2s.
The good news kept coming. Both studies also showed improved A1C results for those taking insulin degludec, and it held its own against the older form of insulin in general basal-bolus treatment.
“Hypoglycemia is a major concern for both people with diabetes and their physicians and can often lead to under- and sub-optimal treatment,” said Alan Garber of Baylor College of Medicine, the lead author of one of the studies. “Of particular concern are hypoglycemic events that occur in the overnight hours during sleep when patients are unaware and therefore unable to take measures to reverse it. Newer insulins such as insulin degludec may be able to mitigate this concern.”
Novo Nordisk is studying the safety and effectiveness of insulin degludec in a large clinical trial. It’s also working with the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency to eventually secure approval for the drug. Insulin degludec is also moving through the approval process in Canada, Japan, and Switzerland.
“We are proud that The Lancet has recognized the clinical potential of insulin degludec by publishing these two pivotal studies,” said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Novo Nordisk’s chief science officer. “Novo Nordisk is very excited about the potential of insulin degludec to lower the risk of hypoglycemia in people with diabetes using basal insulin analogues.”