Insulin glargine (glargine) and premixed insulins (premix) are alternative insulin treatments. This analysis evaluated glycaemic control in 528 patients with type 1 (n = 183) or type 2 (n = 345) diabetes, after switching from premix to a glargine-based regimen, using unselected general practice (GP) data.
Data for this retrospective observational analysis were extracted from a UK GP database (The Health Improvement Network). Patients were required to have at least 12 months of available data, before and after, switching from premix to a glargine-based regimen. The principal analysis was the change in HbA1c after 12 months of treatment with glargine; secondary analyses included change in weight, bolus usage and total daily insulin dose. Inconsistent reporting of hypoglycemic episodes precludes reliable assessment of this outcome. Multivariate analyses were used to adjust for baseline characteristics and confounding variables.
Both cohorts showed significant reduction in mean HbA1c 12 months after the switch: by -0.67% (p < 0.001) in the type 1 cohort and by -0.53% (p < 0.001) in the type 2 cohort (adjusted data). The size of HbA1c improvement was positively correlated with baseline HbA1c; patients with a baseline HbA1c ≥ 10% had the greatest mean reduction in HbA1c, by -1.7% (p < 0.001) and -1.2% (p < 0.001), respectively. The proportion of patients receiving co-bolus prescriptions increased in the type 1 (mean 24.6% to 95.1%, p < 0.001) and type 2 (mean 16.2% to 73.9%, p < 0.001) cohorts. There was no significant change in weight in either cohort. Total mean insulin use increased in type 2 diabetes patients (from 0.67 ± 1.35 U/Kg to 0.88 ± 1.33 U/Kg, p < 0.001) with a slight decrease in type 1 diabetes patients (from 1.04 ± 2.51 U/Kg to 0.98 ± 2.58 U/Kg, p < 0.001).
In everyday practice, patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled by premix insulins experienced significant improvement in glycaemic control over 12 months after switching to a glargine-based insulin regimen. These findings support the use of a basal-bolus glargine-based regimen in patients poorly controlled on premix.