A New Report on Combo Treatments for Insulin

A recent study, published in The Lancet, confirms that combining a relatively new hormone-like drug with insulin is a safer and more effective treatment of type 2 diabetes than insulin alone.

The hormone-like drug is one of a new class of glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists (GLP-1) which were developed to mimic the behavior of gut hormones. It is already being used as a treatment for diabetes on its own (as Byetta, Victoza, Bydureon and others), but this study is the first to confirm the efficacy of taking it in conjunction with insulin.

Study Findings

The study's authors reviewed the findings of fifteen previous studies that included a wide range of diabetes treatments for over 4300 diabetic patients. The original fifteen studies were published between 2011 and 2014.

Their review found that the combination therapy was 92 percent more effective at achieving optimal blood glucose control than either drug on its own, with an associated average weight loss of nearly 7 pounds per patient receiving the combination therapy.

A secondary review compared the combination therapy against the so-called "full basal-bolus insulin" treatment. This is a treatment that utilizes revolving dosages of short- and longer-acting types of insulin.

This review found that the combined treatment produced only a minimal improvement in blood sugar control, but achieved a 33 percent lower risk for hypoglycemia and an average 13 pound weight loss.

While both elements of treatment have been available separately, and a significant number of physicians have prescribed the combined treatment for some time, this study is the first to confirm the combined therapy is superior to other standard treatments.

Why It Matters

Keeping blood sugar at an even level is more difficult for some people than others. The closer their sugar levels get to normal the greater the likelihood that episodes of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) will occur. The use of insulin can also lead to weight gain, which in turn leads to cardiovascular complications.

The findings of this study support the idea that this therapy can achieve the "trifecta" of blood sugar control, with no increased risk of low blood sugar and a possibility of weight loss.

Speak to Your Physician

This might be something to ask your physician about.

Some physicians, like Dr. John Buse, Chief of Endocrinology at University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill (who wrote an accompanying journal editorial,) believe that the question now is "how early it would make sense to start using this intervention."

"I believe it should be the standard of care for patients who have been undergoing long-term treatment" he said. But, as Dr. Buse noted, if this therapy is everything it appears to be, it might be advisable to start patients early on this therapy, "and then we won’t have anything but success."

Your physician may feel differently about this, but if you or a loved one are suffering from type 2 diabetes, it certainly is worth a conversation to find out.

Sources: Medscape and WebMD

More Articles

According to information available through the National Institutes of Health, there’s an estimated 462 million people in the world who are...

Eleven Clinical Studies

After eleven clinical studies and 300,000 participants, researcher Vasanti Malik and her team of researchers...

Diabetic women often have a harder time losing weight than non-diabetic women. A study funded by Jenny Craig proved that diabetic women have an...

Many recent studies have proved that magnesium levels are lower in patients with diabetes than in non-diabetics. This magnesium...

Fluid retention, also known as edema, is a problem that affects many diabetics, especially those with type 2 diabetes...

More Articles

Some of us might be thrilled if we could manage our blood sugar by sitting in a hot tub or sauna, instead of working up a sweat biking, or using...

Cooking and baking with the ancient cereal grain sorghum has health benefits for people with diabetes, and those with weight control issues....

When it comes to certain foods, there are always questions as to whether or not a diabetic can have them without...

With its slightly nutty flavor, chewy texture, and nutritional punch farro is an ancient whole grain worth a place in our pantry.

Farro...

Matcha tea is a rich, creamy, full-bodied beverage with amazing nutritional properties that address several diabetes health concerns.

The...

Salads are good example of foods that type 2 diabetics can enjoy with relatively low guilt. With the right greens and other elements added, salad...

Remaining gainfully employed is important to many people. Those who live with any form of diabetes may find that some lines of work are more...

Learning that you have diabetes does mean making some lifestyle changes. One of the areas that needs attention is your diet. Most people find that...

One of the more challenging aspects of life as a type 2 diabetic is managing your diet. There’s often the temptation to avoid certain foods...

The green, heavily ridged acorn squash is plentiful in the marketplace this time of year. Though, Acorn squash has a high glycemic index rank of...

A 1300-Calorie diet is a way of eating that limits your daily calorie intake to only 1300 calories a day. This is considered a low calorie diet,...

Maca Root is an editable root vegetable, and is known as Peruvian Ginsing. It is a relative of the radish and turnip family, and is remarkable...

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

People who use insulin pumps purposefully break their skin, the body’s main defense against bacteria, to receive continuous doses of life-saving...

Depression is a mood disorder that causes you to feel sadness and lose interest in activities that you once enjoyed. The symptoms of depression...