Objective: To compare the efficacy of 500 U/mL (U-500) regular insulin + metformin with U-500 regular insulin + metformin + exenatide in improving glycemic control in patients with severely insulin-resistant type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Methods: Thirty patients with T2DM and severe insulin resistance were screened, and 28 were randomized to regular insulin U-500 + metformin or the GLP-1 analog exenatide, U-500, and metformin. Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels, body weight, and insulin doses were documented at baseline and at 3 and 6 months. The number and severity hypoglycemic episodes were noted.
Results: There were 7 males and 7 females in each group (U-500 + metformin and U-500 + metformin + exenatide). Overall, U-500 insulin + metformin, either alone or with the addition of exenatide, resulted in a significant improvement in HbA1c in both groups, with no significant difference between the 2 groups. There was no meaningful weight change in those utilizing exenatide. Those on U-500 insulin and metformin alone had a tendency toward some weight gain. No severe hypoglycemia occurred during the study period. Symptomatic hypoglycemia was more common in the group on exenatide, but this occurred in only 5 patients, and the clinical significance of this is uncertain. Insulin dosage changes on U-500 regular insulin were variable but tended to be lower in those subjects on exenatide.
Conclusions: U-500 regular insulin + metformin is effective for the treatment of T2DM patients with severe insulin resistance. The addition of exenatide may ameliorate potential weight gain but provides no additional improvement in glycemia.