Similarity of pharmacodynamic effects of a single injection of insulin glargine, insulin detemir and NPH insulin on glucose metabolism assessed by 24-h euglycaemic clamp studies in healthy humans

Diabet Med. 2010 Jul;27(7):830-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2010.03026.x.


Aims: Two long-acting insulin analogues, insulin glargine and insulin detemir, have been developed as alternatives to neutral protamine Hagedorn (NPH) insulin, which has been the preferred basal insulin preparation for decades. The aim was to directly compare the pharmacodynamic properties of the long-acting insulin analogues and NPH insulin after a single subcutaneous injection.

Methods: The study was conducted as a double-blind, controlled, three-arm, crossover study including 10 healthy lean male volunteers. On three different occasions, each subject was challenged with 0.4 U kg(-1) of either insulin glargine, insulin detemir or NPH insulin. Plasma glucose was maintained at 0.3 mmol l(-1) below fasting level by glucose clamping for 24 h. C-peptide, insulin, free fatty acids (FFAs) and counter regulatory hormones were measured throughout the clamp period, whereas endogenous glucose release (EGR) was assessed by isotope dilution technique (3-(3)H-glucose).

Results: The mean glucose infusion rate (GIR)-time profiles revealed no significant differences between the three preparations in the primary endpoints: Maximal GIR of approximately 3.4 mg kg(-1) min(-1) (P = 0.68), time to maximal GIR of approximately 10 h (TR(max)) (P = 0.35) and area under the GIR curve (GIR(AUC)) (P = 0.81). Compared with the other insulin preparations, EGR (see above)was lower for insulin detemir at the beginning of the clamp period (330-360 min) (P = 0.007) while GIR was lower (P = 0.005) and FFA concentrations were higher (P = 0.005) during the last 4 h of the clamp.

Conclusions: In this experimental design, only minor pharmacodynamic differences were demonstrated between insulin detemir, insulin glargine and NPH insulin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Clamp Technique / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Insulin Detemir
  • Insulin Glargine
  • Insulin, Isophane / administration & dosage
  • Insulin, Isophane / pharmacology*
  • Insulin, Long-Acting / administration & dosage
  • Insulin, Long-Acting / pharmacokinetics
  • Insulin, Long-Acting / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Young Adult


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin, Long-Acting
  • Insulin Glargine
  • Insulin Detemir
  • Insulin, Isophane
  • Glucose