A study in the British medical journal The Lancet shows that type 2s who received once-daily or thrice-weekly injections of degludec, a very long-acting insulin, maintained blood glucose levels similar to patients receiving daily doses of insulin glargine. The results point the way to a possible reduction in the number of injections that type 2s who take insulin would need over any seven-day period. In both the United States and the United Kingdom currently, about one in every three type 2 patients injects insulin at least once daily.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, studied 245 type 2s who had not previously taken insulin as part of their therapy. Two-thirds of the study group took degludec, either once daily or three times weekly. The remaining participants took a daily injection of glargine, a long-acting basal insulin analog.
Blood sugar control levels across the three groups were similar, the study said. One major difference among the groups was that the daily degludec users experienced fewer incidences of hypoglycemia, the low blood sugar condition that can cause death in extreme cases.
If approved for sale in the United States, degludec would allow users to go 40 hours between injections, which is from 14 to 22 hours longer than they can with such current long-acting basal insulins as glargine or detemir.
The drug can also be mixed with other insulins, something that other long-acting insulins cannot do. Novo Nordisk, the insulin’s developer, is hoping to reach the market by 2013.