Early Insulin Therapy Gets Good Results for New Diabetics

Better recovery of β-cell function compared with oral hypoglycemic agents

TUESDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients treated with early, intensive insulin therapy have favorable recovery and maintenance of β-cell function compared with treatment using oral hypoglycemic agents, according to a report published in the May 24 issue of The Lancet.

Jianping Weng, M.D., of Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China, and colleagues conducted a study of 382 patients aged 25 to 70 years and with fasting plasma glucose of 7.0-16.7 mmol/L, who were randomized to receive either insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents. Treatment continued until normoglycemia was maintained for two weeks, at which point patients were followed up solely on diet and exercise.

In the insulin group, 97.1 percent of the patients treated with continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion and 95.2 percent of those treated with multiple daily insulin injections achieved target glycemic control in 4.0 days and 5.6 days, respectively, while 83.5 percent of those in the oral hypoglycemic agents group achieved target glycemic control and it took 9.3 days for them to attain it.

"Remission rates after one year were significantly higher in the insulin groups (51.1 percent in continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion and 44.9 percent in multiple daily insulin injection) than in the oral hypoglycemic agents group," the authors write. "Our findings support the initiation of early transient intensive insulin treatment."

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