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Insulin degludec in Phase 3 trials
Insulin degludec is an ultralong-acting insulin that is currently in Phase 3 trials. It forms soluble multihexamer assemblies after subcutaneous injection, resulting in a very long half-life of up to 40 hours. A new study suggests that it can be used three times a week, achieving blood sugar control equivalent to daily insulin glargine. In a 16-week randomized, open-label, parallel group trial, 245 type 2 diabetics aged 18-75 were randomized to insulin degludec once a day or three times a week, or insulin glargine once a day, all in combination with metformin. At the end of the study, mean hemoglobin A1c levels were similar across the treatment groups at 7.3%, 7.4%, and 7.2%, respectively. The rate of hypoglycemia was low in all three groups. The authors conclude that insulin degludec provides comparable glycemic control to insulin glargine without additional adverse events and may reduce dosing frequency due to its ultra-long action profile (Lancet 2011;377:924-931). The study was sponsored by its manufacturer, Novo Nordisk.