Comparison of insulin detemir and insulin glargine in a basal-bolus regimen, with insulin aspart as the mealtime insulin, in patients with type 1 diabetes: a 52-week, multinational, randomized, open-label, parallel-group, treat-to-target noninferiority trial

Clin Ther. 2009 Oct;31(10):2086-97. doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2009.10.006.


Objective: The primary study objective was to determine whether insulin detemir (detemir) was noninferior to insulin glargine (glargine) as the basal insulin in a basal-bolus regimen, with insulin aspart as the mealtime insulin, in terms of glycemic control at the end of 52 weeks in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Methods: This multinational, open-label, parallel-group, treat-to-target, noninferiority trial enrolled patients aged > or = 18 years who had had T1DM for at least 12 months, had been taking a basal-bolus insulin regimen for at least 3 months, and had a glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) value < or = 11.0% at screening. Patients were randomized in a 2:1 ratio to receive either detemir or glargine for 52 weeks. The basal insulin was initially administered once daily (in the evening) in both groups; if patients in the detemir group were achieving the plasma glucose (PG) target before breakfast but not before dinner, they were switched to twice-daily administration. Glargine was administered once daily throughout the trial, according to its approved labeling. Each patient attended 13 study visits and received 16 scheduled telephone calls from the trial site. The primary efficacy end point was glycemic control (HbA1c) after 52 weeks of treatment. Secondary end points included the number of patients achieving an HbA1c value < or = 7.0%, with or without a major hypoglycemic episode in the last month of treatment; fasting PG (FPG); within-patient variation in self-monitored plasma glucose (SMPG) before breakfast and dinner; and 10-point SMPG profiles. The noninferiority margin was 0.4%, consistent with US Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

Results: Four hundred forty-three patients (mean [SD] age, 42 [12] years; body mass index, 26.5 [4.0] kg/m2; duration of diabetes, 17.2 [11.4] years; HbA1c, 8.1% [1.1%]) received study treatment. After 52 weeks, the estimated mean HbA1c did not differ significantly between the detemir and glargine groups (7.57% and 7.56%, respectively; mean difference, 0.01%; 95% CI, -0.13 to 0.16), consistent with the noninferiority of detemir to glargine. The corresponding estimated changes in HbA1c were -0.53% and -0.54%. In the 90 patients who completed the trial on once-daily detemir and the 173 patients who completed the trial on twice-daily detemir, the estimated changes in HbA1c were -0.49% and -0.58%, respectively. After 52 weeks, there were no significant differences in the proportions of those receiving detemir and glargine who achieved an HbA1c value < or = 7.0% without major hypoglycemia (31.9% and 28.9%, respectively). In addition, there were no significant differences in estimated mean FPG (8.58 and 8.81 mmol/L; mean difference, -0.23 mmol/L; 95% CI, -1.04 to 0.58) or in basal insulin doses. The basal insulin dose was numerically higher in patients receiving detemir twice rather than once daily (0.47 vs 0.33 U/kg, respectively). The relative risks for total and nocturnal hypoglycemia with detemir versus glargine were 0.94 and 1.12, respectively (both, P = NS). Six patients (2.0%) randomized to the detemir group and 4 (2.7%) randomized to the glargine group withdrew due to adverse events.

Conclusions: During 52 weeks of basal-bolus therapy in patients with T1DM, detemir was noninferior to glargine in terms of overall glycemic control (HbA1c). When used according to the approved labeling, detemir and glargine did not differ in tolerability or in terms of the occurrence of hypoglycemia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / chemically induced
  • Hypoglycemia / epidemiology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin / adverse effects
  • Insulin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Insulin Detemir
  • Insulin Glargine
  • Insulin, Long-Acting
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sample Size
  • Treatment Outcome


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