Thrice-a-week insulin shot
may be reality soon
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By Kounteya Sinha,TNN, NEW DELHI: A thrice-a-week
insulin shot instead of the once-a-day shot at present could soon be a reality.
Doctors from India, Canada, US and South Africa have jointly tested the most
promising new form of long acting insulin, Degludec, needed once every 48 hours,
and found it to be as good in controlling blood sugar as the presently used
insulin of choice, Glargine, which is a 24-hour shot.
This means that once in the market, the number of injections needed by a type-2
diabetic patient would be cut by half every week. It will also make insulin
shots cheaper for patients.
In type-2 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin which is necessary
for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. Some patients, therefore,
require 24-hour insulin shots to keep their blood sugar under check.
Announcing the results of their 16-week, phase-II trial of Degludec (used three
times a week) against Glargine (the insulin of choice today used once a day) in
the medical journal Lancet, scientists said, "In this 16-week randomized trial,
participants aged 18-75 years with type-2 diabetes and glycosylated haemoglobin
(HbA1C) of 7-11% were enrolled and treated at 28 clinical sites in Canada,
India, South Africa and US.
"At study end, mean HbA1C levels were much the same across treatment groups and
insulin Degludec provided comparable glycaemic control to insulin Glargine
without additional adverse events. This might reduce dosing frequency due to its
ultra-long action profile. Prof P V Rao from Nizam's Institute of Medical
Sciences and Prof N Thomas from Christian Medical College, Vellore, were part of
Dr Anoop Misra, chairman of Fortis Hospital's centre of excellence for diabetes,
said, "This is quite a breakthrough. For the first time, we have a ultra-long
acting insulin with stable action. This will lead to lesser injections (once in
two days) for the patients with good blood sugar control."
He said, "Around two decades ago, we found another long-acting insulin. However
when it was used, it gave bad control with blood sugar levels fluctuating and
unstable. Till now, all long acting insulin shots are for 24 hours."
Despite availability of many therapies, many people with diabetes are unable to
reach recommended levels of glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1C). "Insulin Degludec
is an ultra-long-acting insulin in clinical development. Its features suggest
that the risk of hypoglycaemia might be reduced and clinical effectiveness might
be achievable with dosing three times a week in people with type-2 diabetes who
were previously insulin-naive which could help with early initiation of and
adherence to insulin treatment," the study says.