Study Finds that Weekly Basal Insulin Is Safe and Just as Effective as Daily Insulin

For many people with insulin-dependent diabetes, the idea of having to do insulin injections only once a week instead of once a day, or perhaps multiple times a day, is very exciting. However, it’s only a great invention if it is just as safe and effective as the other types of insulin on the market.

So what have we learned so far about once-weekly basal insulin?

Well, happily, a new phase two clinical trial has come out showing that once-weekly insulin can be just as safe and effective as daily insulin. In fact, once-weekly insulin was shown to have a lower rate of low blood sugar episodes compared to daily basal insulin.

Photo: Adobe Stock/Vincent Scherer

The 32-week study, which was sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, compared the investigational drug known as basal insulin Fc (BIF) with insulin degludec, which is a commercially available long-lasting daily insulin. Their 399 subjects were all insulin-dependent people with type 2 diabetes who had previously used a combination of basal insulin and oral antidiabetic medications.

Two-thirds of patients were given once-weekly BIF injections at one of two different dosing algorithms, while the remaining third were given the standard once-daily injection of insulin degludec.

Compared with people who were taking insulin degludec, the patients taking BIF achieved similar long-term blood glucose control as measured by their hemoglobin A1c. Their average was 8.1 at the beginning of the study, and they improved on average by about 0.6 percent for BIF and 0.7 percent for insulin degludec.

Photo: Adobe Stock/Andrey Popov

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BIF was shown to be about as safe as regular basal insulin. As mentioned, BIF also showed significantly lower rates of dangerous hypoglycemia. The researchers say it has the potential to create a flatter blood sugar line over time than daily basal insulin.

“These study results demonstrate that BIF has promise as a once-weekly basal insulin and could be an advancement in insulin therapy,” said Juan Frias, M.D., the study’s principal investigator and the medical director of the National Research Institute in Los Angeles, California.

Photo: Adobe Stock/Aleksandra Suzi

Researchers believe that the reduced number of injections may help people stick to their insulin therapy, which could result in better patient outcomes. Once-weekly dosing is also expected to help type 2 diabetes patients be more willing to start insulin therapy when oral medication is not enough.

“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.

We can’t wait for all the research to come out regarding this new game-changing drug. This could do so much to improve the quality of life for so many people with diabetes!

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