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Novo Nordisk’s Experimental Basal Insulin As Effective As Lantus With Less Hypoglycemia

Published: 2/28/11
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Novo Nordisk’s “next-generation” basal insulin degludec.

Novo Nordisk has released promising data from a 7,000-participant clinical trial for its next-generation basal insulin, called degludec, which could become available in the US and Europe as early as 2013. In the clinical trial program, degludec provided similar or better glucose control than Lantus, but with consistently lower rates of hypoglycemia. Most impressively, in some studies, the rate of nocturnal hypoglycemia was 35% lower in participants treated with degludec compared to Lantus. Other potential benefits of degludec will include reduced injection volumes and greater dosing flexibility.

Although the data for degludec are very encouraging, one thing it will not offer is freedom from daily injections. The insulin has such a long-acting profile that Novo Nordisk had originally hoped it might be equally effective if used only three times weekly in people with type 2 diabetes. However, in the clinical trial, three-times-weekly dosing of degludec was not as effective as daily Lantus at lowering A1c. Therefore, it seems that Novo Nordisk will not seek a three-times-weekly indication for degludec in its regulatory filings. Novo Nordisk is also developing a fixed-dose combination of degludec and mealtime insulin (55% degludec and 45% NovoLog), and a combination of degludec and its GLP-1 analog Victoza. -MY

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