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Advancements in Insulin Therapy

Posted on October 8, 2015

This is an exciting time in Diabetes management as there are several advancements in insulin therapy available now and coming in the near future.  These therapies will provide patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes with safer and more effective treatment options moving forward.  There are three therapies that we’re discussing here.

Toujeo® (Insulin Glargine 300u/ml) is a highly concentrated type of long-acting insulin that, in clinical trials, showed less risk for causing nocturnal (overnight) hypoglycemia and no increased risk for daytime hypoglycemia versus its comparator Lantus® (Insulin Glargine 100u/ml).  Toujeo® is an FDA approved therapy for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes that allows for a smaller volume of insulin injected.  There are several ongoing clinical trials (many being done at Texas Diabetes & Endocrinology) researching other concentrated insulin therapies, as well as some ultra-long and ultra-fast acting insulin varieties.  We expect to see more of these types of insulin coming to market in the coming years.  These advancements will alter how we manage diabetes for the better.

Another FDA approved therapy is an inhaled rapid-acting insulin called Afrezza®; this is an appealing option for those who would like to avoid administering insulin via an injection or reduce the number of insulin injections administered each day.  The insulin is approved for treatment of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and is administered at mealtime.  Other varieties of insulin are being researched, many pursuing alternative modes of administration, such as: oral, buccal (placement of medication between gums & cheek), transdermal (on skin ex: patches), ocular (eye drops), and intranasal (through the nose) to name a few.  It will be very interesting to see which therapies get approved and it will hopefully provide patients with better, safer insulin treatment options.

There has also been a lot of buzz about the ongoing work toward the development of an Artificial Pancreas.  This would be a continuous glucose monitoring system, which transmits data wirelessly to an insulin pump, then the pump in turn delivers insulin automatically based on a precise algorithm.  This system would allow for more accurate glycemic control, faster response time and less fluctuation in glucose levels.  This is a remarkable technological advancement and will truly revolutionize how one manages insulin-dependent diabetes.

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