Health News

Sanofi's Lantus insulin favored over rival: study

LONDON (Reuters) - A once-daily injection of Sanofi-Aventis’s insulin drug Lantus controls blood sugar as effectively as Eli Lilly’s Humalog, which needs to be taken three times daily, researchers said on Friday.

The study of 418 people with type 2 diabetes in 69 sites across Europe and Australia also found that Lantus was associated with a lower risk of potentially dangerous low blood sugar level.

The researchers reported their findings in the journal Lancet.

“We conclude that (Lantus) provides a simple and effective option that is more satisfactory to patients than is (Humalog) for early initiation of insulin therapy,” Reinhard Bretzel of Justus-Liebig-Universitat in Germany and colleagues wrote.

Diabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose levels are too high. Too much glucose in the blood can damage the eyes, kidneys and nerves, and lead to heart disease, stroke and limb amputations.

Type 2 diabetes is the form closely linked to obesity.

Insulin treatments aim to limit glucose, or blood sugar, level without causing it to fall so low that it could cause hypoglycaemia -- a condition marked by tremors and nausea that in extreme cases can kill.

During the 44-week trial researchers randomly assigned volunteers to receive one of the types of injections. Lantus reduced blood sugar levels to 7 percent from 8.7 percent while the average Humalog decrease was to 6.8 percent from 8.7 percent, the study found.

Doctors target concentrations of less than 7 percent to reduce the risk of blindness, kidney problems and gangrene, the researchers added.

Rates of hypoglycaemia were also lower for people using Lantus, amounting to 5.2 patients per year compared to 24 patients per year with Humalog, the researchers said.

An additional benefit, the Sanofi-funded study showed, was that Lantus patients were more satisfied with their treatment, likely because of the convenience of fewer daily injections, the researchers said.

“Study participants taking (Lantus) reported greater overall treatment satisfaction, with specific improvements in convenience of treatments,” the researchers wrote.

Reporting by Michael Kahn; Editing by Sue Thomas