Diabetes is a common health problem where the body struggles to use sugar properly.
About 1 in every 10 people in America have diabetes, and most of them have a type known as type 2 diabetes.
In this type, the body becomes resistant to a hormone called insulin, which is needed to control sugar levels in our blood.
Many people with type 2 diabetes need to take daily insulin injections to keep their sugar levels normal. But, these daily shots can be annoying and hard to keep up with.
So, many people put off taking them, which increases their chances of serious health problems down the road like heart disease, nerve damage, and vision loss.
A New Development: Once-a-Week Insulin
Researchers have now developed a new kind of insulin that only needs to be taken once a week. This new insulin, called icodec, was found to work just as well as daily insulin shots in a study.
The study was the final step before getting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Ildiko Lingvay, who led the study, believes this new insulin could make a big difference for people with diabetes.
Icodec works differently than daily insulin. Once it’s injected into the blood, it sticks to a protein called albumin.
There, it stays inactive, slowly releasing insulin throughout the week. This slow release is what allows it to be taken just once a week.
Testing Icodec: The Clinical Trial
In the study, researchers tested icodec on 564 people with type 2 diabetes who had never used insulin before. Some of these people were given icodec once a week, while others were given daily insulin shots.
After 26 weeks, the researchers found that the sugar levels in the people’s blood improved about the same in both groups. In fact, the people who got the weekly shot had slightly better results.
But, there was a catch. The people who took icodec were more likely to experience low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia. This wasn’t unexpected, though, and none of the cases were severe enough to need medical help.
The Future of Icodec
Dr. Lingvay hopes to hear from the FDA by the end of the year. If the FDA agrees with the study’s results, icodec could be available as soon as next year.
This would be great news for many people with diabetes. For example, it would be easier to treat seniors who stay at home, as a nurse would only need to visit once a week for their insulin shot.
It could also help teenagers who are often forgetful or busy, and anyone else who struggles to control their blood sugar.
Many people who took part in the study were excited about the new insulin and were disappointed when they had to switch back to daily shots at the end of the study.
If icodec becomes available, it would give people with diabetes a new, less annoying option for controlling their sugar levels.
As Dr. Lingvay put it, “If you would have to take insulin injections, and I would give you a choice of taking a shot a day or a shot a week, which one would you like?”
It’s worth noting that the company that makes icodec, Novo Nordisk, paid for the study. The results of the study were published in a reputable scientific journal.
The future of this once-a-week insulin looks promising, and it could bring a big change in the lives of many people with diabetes.
If you care about blood sugar, please read studies about why blood sugar is high in the morning, and how to cook sweet potatoes without increasing blood sugar.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about 9 unhealthy habits that damage your brain, and results showing this stuff in cannabis may protect aging brain, treat Alzheimer’s.
The study was published in JAMA.
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