NEW HOPE

Thrice-a-week insulin shot may be reality soon
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 the study. 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 insulinnaive which could help with early initiation of and adherence to insulin treatment,” the study says.

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