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Insulin glargine in the management of diabetes mellitus: an evidence-based assessment of its clinical efficacy and economic value

Authors Clissold R, Clissold S

Published 15 June 2007 Volume 2007:2(2)


Rhian Clissold1, Steve Clissold2

1Endocrinology Department, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, UK; 2Content Ed Net Communications S.L., Madrid, Spain

Introduction: Diabetes is a chronic disease associated with high morbidity and mortality, which represents a major public health concern. Interventions that can enhance patient care and reduce clinic visits will not only relieve some of this burden, they will also improve patient QOL and wellbeing.

Aims: This review assesses the evidence for the use of insulin glargine in type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Evidence review: Once-daily insulin glargine has a prolonged, peakless activity profile, making it a candidate as a long-acting (basal) insulin. In combination with bolus insulin to cover prandial glucose surges, it facilitates a more physiologic approach to patient management. Evidence from large, randomized, controlled clinical trials in patients with type 1 diabetes has confirmed its effectiveness and tolerability relative to neutral protamine hagedorn (NPH) insulin, with a tendency toward causing less hypoglycemia. In patients with type 2 diabetes requiring insulin therapy, once-daily insulin glargine has proven to be clinically superior to NPH insulin in terms of providing at least as effective glycemic control, but with significantly fewer episodes of nocturnal hypoglycemia. A variety of economic analyses have confirmed the cost effectiveness of insulin glargine in type 1 and type 2 diabetes and in particular it was shown to be significantly superior to NPH insulin.

Clinical value: Insulin glargine has established itself as a first-line choice in patients with type 1 diabetes, including children (>6 years) and adolescents, and is a recommended treatment option. In patients with type 2 diabetes it is clearly associated with less hypoglycemia than NPH insulin, and this may help overcome one of the major barriers to starting insulin therapy in this class of patient. Thus, insulin glargine is a valuable addition to the therapeutic armamentarium available to physicians and it has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life of patients with diabetes.

Key words: evidence-based review, glycemic control, insulin glargine, insulin therapy, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes

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