There’s big news for insulin-dependent people with type 2 diabetes: Results of a recent clinical trial found that weekly insulin injections could be as effective as daily injections in managing glucose levels.
The ONWARDS 2 trial, led by Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD, corporate vice president at Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute, and an endocrinologist with Scripps Clinic, was designed for patients with type 2 diabetes who are already taking daily insulin to better manage their blood sugar.
A total of 526 patients were enrolled in the 26-week study to assess the effectiveness of weekly injections compared to daily.
“The trial demonstrated that not only did patients have equally beneficial management of their blood sugar with the weekly injections, but they actually had blood sugar control that was superior to that of the daily injections,” Dr. Philis-Tsimikas explains.
“Further, when patient satisfaction was evaluated, the group who took the weekly dose was happier and more satisfied than the group who took the daily dose. Really, it means that instead of 365 days of injections, you only have to do 52 days.”
Dr. Philis-Tsimikas adds that because diabetes is such a widespread health concern, these findings could have implications for millions of people.
“We know that of the 34 million people in the United States with diabetes, about 25 percent will need insulin at some point in their lives,” she says. “It’s a big group of people we are talking about, and that’s the reason we are looking into better approaches to help them manage their diabetes.”
This trial is part of a broader focus on research at Scripps Whittier Institute for Diabetes. While the Scripps team proactively looks for patients who might be appropriate candidates for certain trials, patients can also ask their physician if there are any available studies in need of participants — as long as the patient meets inclusion and exclusion criteria for that particular study.
“There is a range of study opportunities across the whole diabetes spectrum,” Dr. Philis-Tsimikas says. “Some are offered for type 1 or type 2 diabetes exclusively.”
“Others are looking at newer devices, such as insulin pumps that talk to continuous glucose monitors and automatically inject insulin when needed,” she says. “Those are traditionally used to manage type 1 diabetes, but we are looking at ways to use them for type 2 diabetes as well. So, we are taking what we have learned from type 1 and applying it to type 2.”
Regardless of the trial, Dr. Philis-Tsimikas concludes that research in itself is an excellent opportunity for both researchers and patients to stay on the forefront of new developments in diabetes care and move diabetes management into a healthier future.
“Research provides opportunities for physicians and patients to try both new devices and pharmaceutical agents they might not have access to otherwise,” she says.
“Research allows patients to be involved in the solutions and improvements that may be offered to them and others down the road,” she says. “It also offers them access to a team of diabetes nurses, researchers and investigators who provide stellar care and frequent attention to offer them new approaches to disease management.”
Learn more about Scripps' diabetes clinical trials.
This content appeared in San Diego Health, a publication in partnership between Scripps and San Diego Magazine that celebrates the healthy spirit of San Diego.