Insulin degludec is an investigational compound developed by Novo Nordisk.
1,635 individuals with diabetes were enrolled to participate in the trials in order to examine insulin degludec, compared to insulin glargine, in a basal-bolus regimen.
In both studies, researchers adjusted patient insulin doses systematically in order to allow them to achieve a targeted fasting glucose level. Due to this, participants in both studies successfully achieved similar improvements in sugar control. This allowed the researchers to closely determine disparity in hypoglycemia rates.
Alan Garber, M.D., Professor, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA, and lead research of one of the studies, explained:
"Hypoglycemia is a major concern for both people with diabetes and their physicians and can often lead to under- and sub-optimal treatment. Of particular concern are hypoglycemic events that occur in the overnight hours during sleep when patients are unaware and therefore unable to take measures to reverse it. Newer insulins such as insulin degludec may be able to mitigate this concern."
The studies found that participant with type 2 diabetes who took insulin degludec had a considerably lower rate of overall hypoglycemic events (11.1 episodes/patient-year), compared to individuals assigned to insulin glargine (13.6). This figure was similar between both groups in individuals with type 1 diabetes.
Furthermore, results showed that insulin degludec reduced nocturnal hypoglycemia by 25% in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes (4.4 vs 5.9 episodes/patient-year), compared to participants taking insulin glargine (1.4 vs. 1.8).
Mads Krogsgaard Tomsen, executive vice president and chief science officer at Novo Nordisk, said:
"We are proud that The Lancet has recognized the clinical potential of insulin degludec by publishing these two pivotal studies. Novo Nordisk is very excited about the potential of insulin degludec to lower the rates of hypoglycemia in people with diabetes using basal insulin analogues."