Comparison of basal insulin added to oral agents versus twice-daily premixed insulin as initial insulin therapy for type 2 diabetes

Hans U Janka, Gerd Plewe, Matthew C Riddle, Christine Kliebe-Frisch, Matthias A Schweitzer, Hannele Yki-Järvinen
Diabetes Care 2005, 28 (2): 254-9

OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy and safety of adding once-daily basal insulin versus switching to twice-daily premixed insulin in type 2 diabetic patients insufficiently controlled by oral antidiabetic agents (OADs).

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: In a 24-week, multinational, multicenter, open, parallel group clinical trial, 371 insulin-naive patients with poor glycemic control (fasting blood glucose [FBG] >/=120 mg/dl, HbA(1c) 7.5-10.5%) on OADs (sulfonylurea plus metformin) were randomized to once-daily morning insulin glargine plus glimepiride and metformin (glargine plus OAD) or to 30% regular/70% human NPH insulin (70/30) twice daily without OADs. Insulin dosage was titrated to target FBG </=100 mg/dl (both insulins) and predinner blood glucose </=100 mg/dl (70/30 only) using a weekly forced-titration algorithm.

RESULTS: Mean HbA(1c) decrease from baseline was significantly more pronounced (-1.64 vs. -1.31%, P = 0.0003), and more patients reached HbA(1c) </=7.0% without confirmed nocturnal hypoglycemia (45.5 vs. 28.6%, P = 0.0013) with glargine plus OAD than with 70/30. Similarly, FBG decrease was greater with glargine plus OAD (adjusted mean difference -17 mg/dl [-0.9 mmol/l], P < 0.0001), and more patients reached target FBG </=100 mg/dl with glargine plus OAD than with 70/30 (31.6 vs. 15.0%, P = 0.0001). Glargine plus OAD patients had fewer confirmed hypoglycemic episodes than 70/30 patients (mean 4.07 vs. 9.87/patient-year, P < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: Initiating insulin treatment by adding basal insulin glargine once daily to glimepiride plus metformin treatment was safer and more effective than beginning twice-daily injections of 70/30 and discontinuing OADs in type 2 diabetic patients inadequately controlled with OADs.

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