Glargine is superior to neutral protamine Hagedorn for improving glycated haemoglobin and fasting blood glucose levels during intensive insulin therapy

G R Fulcher, R E Gilbert, D K Yue
Internal Medicine Journal 2005, 35 (9): 536-42

AIM: To compare glycaemic control and symptomatic hypoglycaemia rates with glargine versus neutral protamine Hagedorn (NPH) in poorly controlled type 1 diabetes patients.

METHODS: Patients (n = 125) received preprandial insulin lispro and either glargine (n = 62) or NPH (n = 63) at bedtime for 30 weeks in a multicentre, randomized, single-blind (a blinded investigator made titration decisions) study. Basal insulin dosage was titrated to achieve fasting blood glucose (FBG) values < 5.5 mmol/L.

RESULTS: Baseline characteristics were similar for the two groups (mean diabetes duration 17.5 +/- 10.1 years) except mean glycated haemoglobin (HbA(1c)), which was lower in the glargine versus NPH group (9.2 +/- 1.1% vs 9.7 +/- 1.3%; P < 0.02). At end-point, mean HbA(1c) was 8.3 versus 9.1% for the glargine versus NPH groups. Adjusted least-squares mean (LSM) change from baseline was -1.04 versus -0.51%, a significant treatment benefit of 0.53% for HbA(1c) in favour of glargine (P < 0.01). Mean baseline FBG were similar for the glargine and NPH groups (11.2 vs 11.4 mmol/L). The means for end-point FBG were 7.9 versus 9.0 mmol/L. Adjusted LSM change from baseline was -3.46 versus -2.34 mmol/L, with a significant difference of 1.12 mmol/L in favour of glargine (P < 0.05). There were similar total numbers of daytime mild, moderate or severe hypoglycaemia episodes in the two treatment arms. However, significantly fewer moderate or severe nocturnal hypoglycaemic episodes were observed in the glargine group (P = 0.04 and P = 0.02).

CONCLUSION: Glargine is superior to NPH for improving HbA(1c) and FBG levels during intensive insulin therapy in patients with type 1 diabetes, and is associated with less severe nocturnal hypoglycaemia.

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