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      Insulin Analogues – State of the Art

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          The use of insulin analogues is rapidly expanding. At present, there are two short-acting analogues available for practical use, insulin aspart and insulin lispro, and one long-acting analogue, insulin glargine. Another long-acting analogue, insulin detemir, is still under development. The time action profile of short-acting analogues is both much more rapid and shorter than that of human insulin; the prominent feature of the long-acting analogues is their peakfree and fairly constant action. Insulin analogues offer alternative options for the whole spectrum of insulin therapy in type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients. The perception by many patients is strikingly positive, in particular regarding the overall quality of life. In objective efficacy terms, however, the potential to improve the degree of metabolic control appears to be only minor, yet demonstrable, provided the analogues are used according to their specific time action profile. This ensured, analogues are instrumental in minimizing the side effects of insulin therapy, i.e. the risk of (nocturnal) hypoglycaemia or problems with body weight control. Although there are no indications of safety concerns with insulin analogues, the availability of long-term outcome data based upon observations in human patients would be very valuable.

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          Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of long-acting insulin analogue NN304 in comparison to NPH insulin in humans.

          NN304 is a long-acting insulin analogue that is acylated with a 14-C-fatty acid chain. Protraction of action of this novel insulin analogue is due not to slow absorption after subcutaneous administration but to reversible binding to albumin. We investigated the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of insulin analogue NN304 (0.3 and 0.6 U/kg) in comparison to NPH insulin (0.3 and 0.6 IU/kg) in 10 healthy volunteers performing a randomised, double-blind, cross-over, placebo-controlled glucose clamp study. During the observation period of 24 hours the areas under the insulin curve for NPH[0.3 IU/kg] vs. NPH[0.6 IU/kg] were 60 vs. 102 nmol min l(-1) (p<0.01) and for insulin analogue NN304[0.3 U/kg] vs. NN304[0.6 U/kg] 490 vs. 932 nmol min l(-1) (p <0.001), suggesting a clear dose-response relationship for both NPH insulin and NN304. The amount of disposed glucose (area under the curve of glucose infusion) differed with statistical significance between the five treatments and was highest with NPH[0.6 IU/kg] (2671 mg/kg) and lowest with placebo (265 mg/kg). However, area under the curve of glucose infusion after treatment with NN304 was only 36% (dose of 0.3 U/kg) and 24% (dose of 0.6 U/kg) of that observed with corresponding doses of NPH insulin. Moreover, increasing dosages of NN304 failed to demonstrate a significant dose-response with regard to the area under the curve of glucose infusion. This study demonstrates that the principle of protracted insulin action of NN304 by reversible binding to albumin is effective in humans albeit at a much lower rate of glucose utilisation when compared to NPH insulin. Thus, in contrast to animal studies NN304 and NPH insulin can not be considered equipotent in humans.
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            Use of the short-acting insulin analogue lispro in intensive treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus: importance of appropriate replacement of basal insulin and time-interval injection-meal.

            To establish whether lispro may be a suitable short-acting insulin preparation for meals in intensive treatment of Type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) in patients already in chronic good glycaemic control with conventional insulins, 69 patients on intensive therapy (4 daily s.c. insulin injections, soluble at each meal, NPH at bedtime, HbA1c <7.5%) were studied with an open, cross-over design for two periods of 3 months each (lispro or soluble). The % HbA1c and frequency of hypoglycaemia were assessed under four different conditions (Groups I-IV). Lispro was always injected at mealtime, soluble 10-40 min prior to meals (with the exception of Group IV). Bedtime NPH was continued with both treatments. When lispro replaced soluble with no increase in number of daily NPH injections (Group I, n = 15), HbA1c was no different (p = NS), but frequency of hypoglycaemia was greater (p < 0.05). When NPH was given 3-4 times daily, lispro (Group II, n = 18), but not soluble (Group III, n = 12) decreased HbA1c by 0.35 +/- 0.25% with no increase in hypoglycaemia. When soluble was injected at mealtimes, HbA1c increased by 0.18 +/- 0.15% and hypoglycaemia was more frequent than when soluble was injected 10-40 min prior to meals (Group IV, n = 24) (p < 0.05). It is concluded that in intensive management of Type 1 DM, lispro is superior to soluble in terms of reduction of % HbA1c and frequency of hypoglycaemia, especially for those patients who do not use a time interval between insulin injection and meal. However, these goals cannot be achieved without optimization of basal insulin.

              Author and article information

              Horm Res Paediatr
              Hormone Research in Paediatrics
              S. Karger AG
              17 November 2004
              : 57
              : Suppl 1
              : 40-45
              Munich Diabetes Research Institute and Endocrinology Department, Academic Hospital Munich Schwabing, Munich, Germany
              53311 Horm Res 2002;57(suppl 1):40–45
              © 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

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              Page count
              Figures: 3, Tables: 3, References: 35, Pages: 6
              Session 3: New Trends in Treatment


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