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Acta Diabetol. 2008 Mar;45(1):53-9. doi: 10.1007/s00592-007-0023-6. Epub 2008 Jan 8.

Therapeutic options for elderly diabetic subjects: open label, randomized clinical trial of insulin glargine added to oral antidiabetic drugs versus increased dosage of oral antidiabetic drugs.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Catania, Ospedale Garibaldi Nesima, Via Palermo 636, 95122, Catania, Italy.


Glycemic control in elderly persons with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is challenging because they are more likely to have other age-associated medical conditions and to experience hypoglycemia during intensive therapy. A best therapeutic strategy for these patients has not yet been defined. We investigated the efficacy and safety of adding once-daily insulin glargine to patients' current oral antidiabetic drugs (OAD) regimen, compared to increasing the OAD doses. The study enrolled patients aged 65 years or more, with poor glycemic control. Patients were randomized to two groups and entered a 3-week titration period in which their actual therapy was adjusted to meet the study's glycemic goals, by either adding insulin glargine to current therapy (group A, 27 patients) or increasing current OAD dosages (group B, 28 patients). Thereafter, therapies were continued unchanged for a 24-week observation period. The mean therapeutic dosage of insulin glargine in group A was 14.9 IU/day (SD = 5.0 IU/day). During the observation period, mean levels of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) reduced by 1.5% in group A and 0.6% in group B (P = 0.381). An HbA1c level <7.0% was achieved by five patients in each group. Mean fasting blood glucose levels reduced by 29 and 15% in groups A and B, respectively (P = 0.029). Group A had fewer total hypoglycemic events (23 vs. 79, P = 0.030) and fewer patients experiencing any such event (9 vs. 17, P = 0.045). Neither a serious hypoglycemic event nor other adverse event occurred. These results suggest that, compared to increasing OAD dosage, the addition of insulin glargine to current OAD therapy is as effective but safer in terms of the risk for hypoglycemia in elderly patients with T2DM.

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