New Insulin Cuts Risk of Dangerously Low Blood Sugar
Studies Show Long-Acting Degludec Reduces Risk of Low Blood Sugar in Diabetes Patients
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By one year, about 40% of both groups reached the blood sugar target.
Rates of nighttime hypoglycemia were again 25% lower in the degludec group. Overall rates of low blood sugar were similar in the two groups.
Nocturnal hypoglycemia is "is a big issue for some patients and their families," says researcher Simon Heller, MD, of the University of Sheffield, England.
Degludec was generally well tolerated in both studies, with 4% of patients stopping its use due to side effects. Common side effects that affected more than 5% of patients included flu-like symptoms, respiratory tract infections, headaches, and diarrhea.
Asked to comment on the research for WebMD, session moderator Ira B. Hirsch, MD, of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, notes that "study after study at the meeting consistently show" that degludec is associated with fewer episodes of dangerously low blood sugar than current insulin drugs.
"Hypoglycemia is the limiting step with insulin therapy," he says.
Novo Nordisk plans to seek approval later this year to market the long-acting insulin in the U.S., according to a company spokesperson.
These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.