New Weekly Insulin Provides Similar Blood Sugar Control to Daily Insulin for Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

March 30, 2021
Skylar Kenney, Assistant Editor

A new, once-weekly basal insulin injection demonstrated similar efficacy and safety and a lower rate of low blood sugar episodes compared with a daily basal insulin, according to a phase 2 clinical trial. The study compared an investigational drug called basal insulin Fc (BIF) versus insulin degludec, a commercially available long-lasting daily insulin, in patients with type 2 diabetes.

According to Juan Frias, MD, the study's principal investigator and the medical director of the National Research Institute in Los Angeles, California, reducing the number of injections with weekly insulin may improve adherence to insulin therapy, which could result in better patient outcomes than those of daily basal insulins. Once-weekly dosing could also increase the willingness of patients with type 2 diabetes to start insulin therapy when oral medication alone no longer gives adequate blood glucose control.

The patients received random assignments to 1 of 3 treatment groups: once-weekly injections of BIF at 1 of 2 different dosing algorithms with different goals for fasting blood glucose levels, or the standard once-daily injections of insulin degludec. One fasting glucose target for patients receiving BIF was 140 mg per deciliter (mg/dL) or less, and the other was at or below 120 mg/dL. The fasting glucose target for insulin degludec was 100 mg/dL or less.

The 32-week clinical trial was conducted in 399 patients, all of whom had type 2 diabetes and were previous users of basal insulin combined with oral antidiabetic medications. Compared with insulin degludec, patients taking BIF achieved similar long-term blood glucose control, as measured by hemoglobin A1c, the researchers reported. Study participants had an average A1c of 8.1% at the beginning of the study and at the end of the study had an average improvement in A1c of 0.6% for BIF and 0.7% for insulin degludec.

“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,” Frias said in a press release.

REFERENCE

Weekly insulin helps patients with type 2 diabetes achieve similar blood sugar control to daily insulin [news release]. EurekAlert; March 21, 2021. Accessed March 26, 2021. https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/tes-wih031621.php