For diabetic patients, it could go from 365 to just 52 injections of insulin in a year. A real revolution in therapy seems to be near for the 500 million diabetic patients worldwide, over 3.5 million people in Italy.
A new weekly basal insulin offers the same efficacy as existing daily insulins in patients with type 2 diabetes who have not used insulin before. This is confirmed by two different studies published on Jama It is on New England Journal of Medicine.
“This new molecule has the potential to simplify the therapy of diabetes that requires insulin therapy, eliminating the discomfort of daily injections for patients and thus increasing adherence to insulin therapy. A real epochal change and a marked improvement in patients’ quality of life diabetics”, explains Roberto Trevisan, professor of Endocrinology at the University of Milano-Bicocca and director of Diabetology at the ASST Papa Giovanni XXIII of Bergamo, the only Italian researcher who participated in the final draft of the study on New England Journal of Medicine.
Trevisan reports that the approval of the new molecule by the drug regulatory bodies is now awaited in order to make it available. The transition from daily to weekly intake represents a great advantage for type 2 diabetics, who are often elderly subjects, with multiple pathologies, and who must take different therapies on a daily basis. Another advantage of formulating the therapy on a weekly basis is the possibility of reducing the commitment required of healthcare professionals who deal with diabetics who require insulin, especially for those admitted to long-term residential healthcare facilities.
Basal insulins are long-acting products that are typically given once a day. In the two studies, the researchers compared, in nearly 600 people who had never been treated with insulin, the efficacy and safety of a new insulin administered weekly (Icodec) with that of two different insulins already in use and administered daily. Approximately six months after the start of treatment, the product when administered weekly showed a slight advantage in terms of efficacy measured as the ability to maintain good glycated hemoglobin levels. The weekly administration, however, according to the study of Jamahad a small increased risk of hypoglycemia, while cases of excessive blood glucose lows remained very low (less than 1 episode per patient per year).
“Icodec insulin is a once-per-week basal insulin that can improve treatment acceptance and adherence by reducing the number of basal insulin injections from at least 365 to 52 per year,” the researchers write. However, they specify, “when considering Icodec insulin treatment in clinical practice, the small additional glycemic benefit and convenience of once-weekly dosing must be weighed against the small absolute risk of hypoglycemia.”