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Diabetes Metab. 2005 Sep;31(4 Pt 2):4S25-4S33.

How to achieve a predictable basal insulin?

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Novo Nordisk, Bagsvaerd, Copenhagen, Denmark.


The development of insulin analogues over the last two decades have aimed at optimising the pharmacokinetic profile of subcutaneously injected insulin for therapeutic use in diabetes mellitus. Rapid acting analogues were successfully engineered and marketed in the late 1990's. In engineering long-acting analogues it has been a particular challenge to obtain action profiles that would be predictable from day to day in the same person. The most recent approach has been to acylate the insulin molecule with a fatty acid which provides the insulin molecule with a specific affinity for albumin. The first clinically available agent of this type is insulin detemir. Pharmacological studies have shown that reversible albumin binding will protract absorption following subcutaneous injection but still allow the insulin molecule to be recognised by the insulin receptor following dissociation from the carrier protein. Moreover, the molecular features of insulin detemir are attractive in that the molecule can be formulated as a neutral aqueous solution and does not precipitate after injection. Together with an important buffering mechanism effected by plasma albumin binding, this explains a highly significant reduction of within-subject variability of pharmacodynamic response observed in repeat isoglycaemic clamp studies where insulin detemir was compared to other basal insulin products. No safety considerations have been identified in using albumin as an insulin carrier to protract and buffer insulin action. In assessing the clinical attractiveness of insulin analogues, it is furthermore critically important to consider how the molecular modifications impact efficacy and safety. A number of pharmacological studies have shown that insulin detemir overall retains the molecular pharmacological properties of native human insulin, including a physiological balance between metabolic and mitogenic potencies. Taken together, insulin detemir provides an attractive novel approach for predictive basal insulin delivery to people with diabetes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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