Insulin injections, which people with Type 2 diabetes have used for decades to control their blood sugar, have been found to be just as effective and safe when done weekly instead of daily.
That’s the takeaway from two recent international clinical trials. It’s also good news for patients, who sometimes struggle with starting and adhering to their daily insulin treatments due to inconvenience or a fear of injections.
To establish their findings, researchers in one trial worked with more than 200 patients from seven countries, including the United States. During 16 weeks of treatment and five weeks of follow-up observation, scientists evaluated three ways of optimizing insulin doses to lower blood sugar while minimizing adverse effects. A similar study included about 150 patients from five countries over a 23-week period. The findings were published in the journal Diabetes Care.
One interesting discovery was that a higher initial dose of insulin allowed the patients to reach an optimal blood sugar level more quickly.
Now, the current findings about weekly insulin regimens are being evaluated as part of an ongoing clinical trial at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. The trial is evaluating the effectiveness of weekly insulin doses in patients with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
Weekly insulin treatments have significant potential on two fronts. It could make patients more likely to start and use insulin. And it could also ease the burden on those who care for people with diabetes.
For those with diabetes, the ongoing research may prove to be a shot in the arm — just not every day.