A Canadian clinical trial is being planned to investigate whether intermittent insulin therapy could preserve insulin production in people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes.
Scientists from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Ontario are studying how to prolong pancreatic beta cell function following type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
The research plans to building on previous studies demonstrating that injection insulins for a few weeks following diagnosis could preserve insulin function, allowing people with type 2 diabetes to maintain normal blood glucose levels for months afterwards without the need for subsequent medication.
Taking multiple doses of insulin is an aggressive approach to treating type 2 diabetes, and the effects of improved beta cell function will only be temporary unless participants also make significant diet and lifestyle changes.
The 24-month trial, called RESET IT, will randomise patients into one of two groups: metformin alone, and metformin plus intermittent insulin therapy.
In the insulin group, participants will be treated with 500g metformin twice a day for the first two weeks before progressing to 1,000mg twice daily. For two weeks every three months, they will cease metformin treatment and receive intermittent insulin therapy. This will be repeated every three months.
Participants may choose to use an insulin pump during this time rather than receive injections.
The primary outcome of the study is whether participants experience improved beta cell function during and after the study, while researchers will too be monitoring blood glucose control.
The researchers expected to complete the study by September 2020.
Editor’s note: People newly diagnosed or with long-duration type 2 diabetes have been able to come off medication altogether, including both insulin and metformin, by following our Low Carb Program. The 10-week program teaches users about which foods to eat and avoid and how imperative diet and lifestyle is to ensure normal blood glucose levels.