Hypoglycaemia risk with insulin degludec compared with insulin glargine in type 2 and type 1 diabetes: a pre-planned meta-analysis of phase 3 trials

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2013 Feb;15(2):175-84. doi: 10.1111/dom.12032. Epub 2012 Dec 3.


Aim: Hypoglycaemia and the fear of hypoglycaemia are barriers to achieving normoglycaemia with insulin. Insulin degludec (IDeg) has an ultra-long and stable glucose-lowering effect, with low day-to-day variability. This pre-planned meta-analysis aimed to demonstrate the superiority of IDeg over insulin glargine (IGlar) in terms of fewer hypoglycaemic episodes at equivalent HbA1c in type 2 and type 1 diabetes mellitus (T2DM/T1DM).

Methods: Pooled patient-level data for self-reported hypoglycaemia from all seven (five in T2DM and two in T1DM) randomized, controlled, phase 3a, treat-to-target trials in the IDeg clinical development programme comparing IDeg once-daily (OD) vs. IGlar OD were analysed.

Results: Four thousand three hundred and thirty subjects (2899 IDeg OD vs. 1431 IGlar OD) were analysed. Among insulin-naïve T2DM subjects, significantly lower rates of overall confirmed, nocturnal confirmed and severe hypoglycaemic episodes were reported with IDeg vs. IGlar: estimated rate ratio (RR):0.83[0.70;0.98](95%) (CI) , RR:0.64[0.48;0.86](95%) (CI) and RR:0.14[0.03;0.70](95%) (CI) . In the overall T2DM population, significantly lower rates of overall confirmed and nocturnal confirmed episodes were reported with IDeg vs. IGlar [RR:0.83[0.74;0.94](95%) (CI) and RR:0.68[0.57;0.82](95%) (CI) ). In the T1DM population, the rate of nocturnal confirmed episodes was significantly lower with IDeg vs. IGlar during maintenance treatment (RR:0.75[0.60;0.94](95%) (CI) ). Reduction in hypoglycaemia with IDeg vs. IGlar was more pronounced during maintenance treatment in all populations.

Conclusions: The limitations of this study include the open-label design and exclusion of subjects with recurrent severe hypoglycaemia. This meta-analysis confirms that similar improvements in HbA1c can be achieved with fewer hypoglycaemic episodes, particularly nocturnal episodes, with IDeg vs. IGlar across a broad spectrum of patients with diabetes.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Insulin Glargine
  • Insulin, Long-Acting / administration & dosage
  • Insulin, Long-Acting / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin, Long-Acting
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • Insulin Glargine
  • insulin degludec