Study: Weekly insulin controls Type 2 diabetes patients’ blood sugar

A phase 2 clinical trial found safety and efficacy comparable to daily insulin

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There’s good news for Type 2 diabetes patients who hope to relax their daily insulin use.

The Endocrine Society on Sunday announced the results of a new study revealing that compared to a daily basal insulin, a new once-weekly basal insulin injection showed similar effectiveness and safety. It also had a decreased level of low blood sugar episodes.

A phase 2 clinical trial involving patients with Type 2 diabetes compared an investigational drug, basal insulin Fc (BIF), with insulin degludec. The latter is a long-lasting daily insulin that is commercially available.

“These study results demonstrate that BIF has promise as a once-weekly basal insulin and could be an advancement in insulin therapy,” Dr. Juan Frias, lead author of the study and the medical director of the National Research Institute in Los Angeles, California, said in a press release.

Findings from the study will be presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, ENDO 2021.

People with Type 2 diabetes make insulin, but their bodies don’t respond well to it, according to the American Diabetes Association. To assist their bodies in using glucose for energy, some people who have Type 2 diabetes need insulin injections. Insulin must be injected into the fat under the skin in order for it to get into the bloodstream.

Healthline reported some Type 2 diabetes patients need to take insulin once per day, while others require two or more doses each day.

For the new study, researchers spent 32 weeks conducting a clinical trial of 399 participants, all of which had Type 2 diabetes. Participants were also prior users of basal insulin combined with oral antidiabetic medications.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups. One and two were once per week injections of one of two different dosing algorithms. Each had different goals for fasting blood glucose levels. The other was the standard once-daily injections of insulin degludec.

Results showed that patients who took the investigational drug BIF obtained similar long-term blood glucose control as those taking insulin degludec. Using an A1C test, the results of which reflect the average blood sugar level for the past two or three months, the Mayo Clinc says, researchers found the following.

At the start of the trial, participants had an average A1C of 8.1%. At the end of the study, data showed an average A1C improvement of 0.6% for BIF and 0.7% for insulin degludec.

According to Frias, BIF has “the potential of a flatter and more predictable action than the current daily basal insulins, which may have contributed to the lower rates of hypoglycemia.” He also noted that BIF is generally comparable to insulin degludec when it comes to adverse events.

“Based on our promising data, further research with BIF has been initiated in patients with Type 1 diabetes and other Type 2 diabetes patient populations,” he said.