Study recommends against prescribing analogue insulin for diabetics

Fri, 23 Sep 2011
A new study has recommended that doctors should not prescribe analogue insulin to people suffering from type 2 diabetes. It claimed that the more expensive analogue insulin is now being used more commonly as a diabetes treatment because of effective marketing campaigns that say it is more beneficial than human insulin, despite NICE guidelines that recommend human insulin is used as first-line therapy for type 2 diabetes patients.

The study, which was published in BMJ Open, assessed data from 2000-2009, found that insulin prescriptions cost the NHS a total of GBP2,732 million in total over that time, while prescriptions for analogue insulin amounted to GBP1,629 million. During that time, human insulin cost GBP1,056 million and animal insulin cost GBP47.2 million.

Analogue insulin, which was developed as a way of better copying the actions of insulin created by the body, was revealed to be 47 per cent more expensive than that of human insulin. It was estimated the total excess cost of producing analogue insulin over the 10-year period was GBP625 million.

Study author, Craig Currie from the School of Medicine at Cardiff University, commented "While it has been shown that insulin analogues are associated with reduced weight gain, less hypoglycaemia (particularly nocturnal), improved lowering of postprandial glucose and improved dosing schedules, most commentators agree that these benefits are modest in comparison to human insulin."
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