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May 1, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 9)

Treating T2DM with Early Insulin Therapy

Lack of Comprehensive Patient Education Has Stymied Adoption of Beneficial Treatment Option

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    Acceptance of the early administration of insulin for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus still faces obstacles such as patient resistance to injections and the risk of hypoglycemia with overdose. [Andrzej Tokarski/Fotolia.com]

    Traditionally viewed as a primarily Western disease, diabetes is becoming a global threat. While dramatic improvements in emerging economies such as China and India are facilitating middle-class expansion and increasing disposable income, they are also fueling the rapid rise of obesity and, consequently, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in these regions. The combined Indian and Chinese diabetic population of over 75 million in 2010 is expected to approach a daunting 120 million by 2025.  

    Maintaining tight glycemic control is paramount in reducing the risk for long-term complications from diabetes. Patients have several therapeutic options to help maintain healthy glucose levels, insulin is perhaps the most effective option and has been shown to help preserve the viability of insulin-producing, pancreatic b-cells, which weaken and lose functionality over the course of the disease.

    Nevertheless, while physicians recognize the benefits of earlier insulin therapy—improved patient outcomes and managed costs—the early administration of insulin for T2DM faces considerable hurdles, including patient resistance to injections and the risk of hypoglycemia with overdose.

    We believe that the following factors will facilitate the earlier adoption of insulin in treating T2DM, disrupting the current diabetes treatment paradigm:

    • insulin’s ability to improve patient outcomes relative to other available therapies;
    • increasing availability of more low-cost insulin analogs; and
    • more widespread patient- and physician-education programs.

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