CHENNAI: Short-term insulin therapy at the time of diagnosis of type 2 diabetes leads to better glycemic control and improved beta-cell functioning, according to a new study published in the 'Journal of Diabetology'. The research paper was jointly authored by Dr.V. Mohan, head of Madras Diabetes Research Foundation and Dr R.M. Anjana.
The study suggests that administering insulin to a newly-diagnosed diabetic patient for up to six weeks not only leads to good control of sugar levels in the long-term and also has beneficial effects on the pancreas - the organ that secretes insulin - for at least two years. Contrary to common misconception, the study has shown that early administration of insulin doesn't make many patients dependent on it.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is typically characterised by insufficient insulin production or resistance to insulin.
The condition is usually caused by a defect in the functioning of pancreatic ?-cells, which are responsible for the production of insulin. (The beta cells usually wear out in this condition)
The study was performed on 426 patients from Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre, Chennai who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes less than three months earlier. All patients were treated initially with short-term insulin therapy (4-6 weeks) along with oral hypoglycaemic agents (OHAs), usually metformin alone or sometimes along with sulphonylurea. The recommended diet, exercise and OHA was also continued wherever required. The baseline characteristics, fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and postprandial plasma glucose (PPG) and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), were compared after (an initial) a mean follow-up period of 2.6 months. Patients were then followed up for another 2 years to evaluate their long-term glycaemic control.
The research results found out that there was a marked, significant reduction in all the studied baseline characteristics as well as a favourable change in the lipid profile of the patients.
Through this, the doctors were able to demonstrate that in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic patients especially those who present with gluco/lipotoxicity, a short course of insulin therapy can lead to long-term good glycaemic control and possibly beneficial effects on pancreatic ?-cell function.