Type 2 diabetics are known to have greater risk of cardiovascular complications compared to those without the condition. Due to this risk, the FDA will frequently require companies to conduct a cardiac safety clinical trial before a new drug will be approved for use in the USA.
Degludec (brand name Tresiba) is an ultra-long lasting insulin developed to last up to 42 hours in the body. This means that it is only required to be injected once per day by diabetics. The insulin is appropriate for use by both adults and children.
Previous research had compared the benefits of degludec to the existing long-lasting insulin Glargine (brand names include Lantus, Toujeo, Abasaglar, Basaglar), which can last for up to 24h in the body. These studies found that Degludec had several health benefits, including a reduction in the rates of hypoglycemia amongst type 2 diabetics. Both degludec and glargine are alternate forms of the insulin molecule, developed in order to increase the lifetime of insulin within the body.
A study recently published in the The New England Journal of Medicine compared the cardiac safety of degludec to glargine when administered to 7637 type 2 diabetics. Half (3818) of the patients were assigned to receive degludec and the remainder (3819) received glargine. Over a two year period, the number of major cardiovascular complications was compared between both groups.
The researchers found that degludec did not pose a greater risk to the cardiovascular health of type 2 diabetics compared to glargine. This positive result, and the health benefits of this form of insulin over the existing long-lasting insulin glargine is good news for diabetics who will have access to a new and longer-lasting form of insulin.
If you are interested in using degludec, ask your doctor if they believe it would benefit you and is possible for them to prescribe.