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Ther Adv Chronic Dis. 2012 Nov;3(6):249-57. doi: 10.1177/2040622312454158.

Long-acting basal insulin analogs: latest developments and clinical usefulness.

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Senior registrar, 2nd Medical Department and Diabetes Center, NIMTS Hospital, Athens, Greece.


All patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus need insulin treatment permanently, and many patients with type 2 diabetes will require insulin therapy. Basal insulin analogs are increasingly used in the treatment of diabetes, with the aim of offering a better replication of the pattern of basal endogenous secretion of insulin. Their flatter pharmacodynamic profile, with a much lower peak of action, their slow and continuous absorption into the systemic circulation, and prolonged duration, more closely duplicate the endogenous insulin secretion leading to physiological basal glycemic control and affording more flexible treatment with fewer hypoglycemia episodes. The basal analogs represent the most significant advances in 'basal insulin' supplementation, and can be used in different insulin regimens achieving the same clinical effectiveness over conventional insulins, with benefits in terms of hypoglycemia and less weight gain, and may be an option for patients with problematic hypoglycemia despite optimization of conventional insulin therapy. At present, there are no data on micro- or macrovascular endpoints, and indeed it is unlikely that these will become available, at least in the foreseeable future. The evidence for basal insulin analogs affecting the risk of cancer is limited, and overriding diabetes indications rather than putative cancer concerns should remain the principal consideration when selecting therapy in patients with diabetes.


basal insulin analogs; cancer; clinical effectiveness; diabetes mellitus; hypoglycemia

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