Studies suggest that a new once-per-week injectable insulin therapy is safe and as effective as daily injections for those with type 2 diabetes.
Two international clinical trials published today in Diabetes Care found that the once-weekly treatment has the potential to offer a convenient alternative to daily insulin shots for those with type 2 diabetes, according to a news release.
“Insulin, which has been the foundation of diabetes treatment for 100 years, is an effective glucose-lowering agent and is safe when used at the correct dose,” UT Southwestern professor & lead author of one of the studies Dr. Ildiko Lingvay said in the release. “Insulin treatment is burdensome, requires frequent injections, and continues to carry a certain stigma. The development of an effective and safe insulin that can be administered once a week is a huge advance in the field.”
Lingvay, a consultant at Novo Nordisk, who sponsored both studies, led one study of 205 patients across seven countries (the U.S., Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Spain) which included a two-week screening period, 16 weeks of treatment and a five-week follow-up to evaluate three different ways to adjust and optimize the insulin dose and figure out which offered the best balance between lowering glucose and minimizing low-glucose events in an effective manner.
The second trial, also authored by Lingvay, included 154 patients (the U.S., Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany and Italy) and followed the same 23-week time frame as the first one and evaluated the practical aspects of insulin use and the best ways to transition from a daily regimen to weekly injections. Researchers found that starting with a higher first dose (known as a loading dose) allowed patients to reach their optimal glucose target faster.
“These two studies served as the steppingstones for a large phase 3 clinical trial program that is currently ongoing at UT Southwestern and other sites, which is designed to evaluate the efficacy of once-weekly insulin administration in patients with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes,” Lingvay said. “A weekly insulin is a game-changer that will decrease the treatment burden for patients while also improving compliance. This treatment will also decrease the burden on those who care for patients with diabetes requiring insulin.
“For example, for patients who need help injecting, those living in long-term care facilities, and those with memory problems, a once-weekly insulin will facilitate treatment and decrease the burden on the care providers.”