Insulin detemir lowers the risk of hypoglycaemia and provides more consistent plasma glucose levels compared with NPH insulin in Type 1 diabetes

Diabet Med. 2006 Jul;23(7):729-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2006.01862.x.


Aims: Hypoglycaemia remains a major barrier preventing optimal glycaemic control in Type 1 diabetes due to the limitations of conventional insulin preparations. We investigated whether basal-bolus therapy with insulin detemir (detemir), a new soluble basal insulin analogue, was more effective in reducing the risk of hypoglycaemia compared with NPH insulin (NPH).

Methods: In this multinational, open-label, cross-over trial, 130 individuals with Type 1 diabetes received detemir and NPH twice daily in a randomized order in combination with premeal insulin aspart (IAsp) during two 16-week treatment periods. Risk of hypoglycaemia was based on self-measured plasma glucose (SMPG) and self-reported episodes during the last 10 weeks of each period.

Results: Risk of nocturnal and overall hypoglycaemia was, respectively, 50% and 18% lower with detemir than with NPH (P < 0.001). A total of 19 severe hypoglycaemic episodes occurred during treatment with detemir compared with 33 with NPH (NS). HbA(1c) decreased by 0.3% point with both treatments and was comparable at 7.6% (+/- sem 0.06%, 95% confidence interval -0.106, 0.108) after 16 weeks with similar doses of basal insulin. Within-person variation in mean plasma glucose was lower with detemir than with NPH (sd 3.00 vs. 3.33, P < 0.001), as was prebreakfast SMPG (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Detemir was associated with a significantly lower risk of hypoglycaemia compared with NPH at similar HbA1c when used in combination with mealtime IAsp. The more consistent plasma glucose levels observed with detemir may allow people to aim for tighter glycaemic control without an increased risk of hypoglycaemia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / complications
  • Hypoglycemia / prevention & control*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Insulin Aspart
  • Insulin Detemir
  • Insulin, Isophane / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin, Long-Acting
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Insulin, Long-Acting
  • Insulin Detemir
  • Insulin, Isophane
  • Insulin Aspart