New Formulation For Long-Acting Insulin Shows Promise

The 74th annual Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association included the results of a study evaluating a new formulation of long-acting insulin glargine in comparison with the familiar formulation known as Lantus. Lantus, or other long-acting insulin, seeks to mimic the natural slow release of insulin around the clock called the basal level. Long-acting basal insulin is often prescribed for people with type 1 diabetes who are not using an insulin pump (rapid acting insulin is usually a necessary addition at mealtime), and for people with type 2 diabetes when other medications are not adequately controlling blood glucose levels.

Lantus

Lantus is currently marketed with 100 units of insulin glargine per milliliter of injection solution, but the new formulation is more concentrated – 300 units of insulin glargine per milliliter of solution. A group of 900 patients, all new to insulin, were divided 1:1 between Lantus treatment and treatment with the new concentrated formula. All participants had type 2 diabetes, and the average A1C among all the entire group was 8.5%. The study looked primarily at the new formulation’s effectiveness in controlling blood glucose levels, but an equally important evaluation compared the incidence of low blood glucose events between groups. Hypoglycemia, defined as blood glucose levels lower than 70 milligrams per deciliter (3.9 millimoles per liter), and can be a dangerous side effect of any formulation of insulin.

The results of the study showed that the more concentrated formulation of insulin glargine not only improved blood glucose control, but also resulted in fewer participants experiencing a severe hypoglycemic event over the nine month study. The lower incidence of low blood glucose events was especially welcome news. Insulin is often the most effective treatment option for type 2 diabetes, but the risk for hypoglycemia is always a serious concern.

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