Introduction: Although numerous studies showed an improvement in glycemic control in type 1 diabetic patients treated with long-acting insulin analogue detemir compared with Neutral Protamine Hagedorn (NPH) insulin, the beneficial effects of insulin detemir has not been confirmed by all investigators.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to compare the effect of treatment with detemir insulin vs. NPH insulin on metabolic control, hypoglycemic episodes, and body weight gain in patients with type 1 diabetes by means of a systematic review and a meta-analysis.
Methods: The following electronic databases were searched up to November 2010: MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library. Additional references were obtained from the reviewed articles. Only randomized controlled trials of at least 12-week duration with basal-bolus regimen therapies using detemir insulin vs. NPH insulin were included.
Results: The analysis included 10 studies involving 3825 patients with type 1 diabetes. Combined data from all trials showed a statistically significant reduction in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) (weighted mean difference: [WMD] -0.073, 95% CI -0.135 to -0.011, P = 0.021) in the detemir group compared with the NPH group. There was also a significant reduction of fasting plasma glucose (FPG) (WMD - 0.977 mmol/l, 95% CI -1.395 to -0.558, P <0.001), all-day hypoglycemic episodes (relative risk [RR] 0.978, 95% CI 0.961-0.996), severe hypoglycemic episodes (RR 0.665, 95% CI 0.547-0.810), nocturnal hypoglycemic episodes (RR 0.877, 95% CI 0.816-0.942), as well as smaller body weight gain (WMD -0.779 kg, 95% CI -0.992 to -0.567) in patients using detemir insulin compared with those using NPH insulin.
Conclusions: Basal-bolus treatment with insulin detemir, as compared with NPH insulin, provided a minor benefit in terms of the HbA1c value and significantly reduced FPG in type 1 diabetic patients. Treatment with detemir insulin was also superior to NPH insulin in reducing the risk of all-day, nocturnal, and severe hypoglycemic episodes, with the added benefit of reduced weight gain.