The beneficial effect of insulin degludec on nocturnal hypoglycaemia and insulin dose in type 1 diabetic patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials

Acta Diabetol. 2015 Apr;52(2):231-8. doi: 10.1007/s00592-014-0604-0. Epub 2014 Nov 28.


Aims: Insulin degludec is a new-generation ultra-long-acting basal insulin which offers a significantly more predictable glucose-lowering effect than other long-acting insulin analogues. The aim of this study was to compare the effect of treatment with insulin degludec and long-acting insulin analogues glargine and detemir in type 1 diabetic (T1D) patients by means of a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Methods: The following electronic databases were searched up to January 2014: MEDLINE, EMBASE and The Cochrane Library. Additional references were obtained from the reviewed articles. There were included randomised controlled trials of at least 12-week duration with basal-bolus regimen therapies in T1D patients.

Results: Current analysis included four studies involving 1,846 T1D patients. The combined data from all trials showed a statistically significant reduction in the basal insulin dose (MD -0.042, 95 % CI -0.067 to -0.018, p = 0.001) and the total daily insulin dose (MD -0.072, 95 % CI 0.016 to -0.027, p = 0.002) in the degludec group compared to other long-acting analogues. There was also a significant reduction of nocturnal hypoglycaemia in the degludec group compared to the controls (rate ratio 0.697, 95 % CI 0.617-0.786, p = 0.000). There were no differences between the groups in terms of glycated haemoglobin values, fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and adverse events.

Conclusions: Basal-bolus treatment with insulin degludec was superior to long-acting insulin analogues detemir and glargine in reducing the rate of nocturnal hypoglycaemia. In comparison with other long-acting analogues, treatment with insulin degludec was safe and patients obtained similar metabolic control expressed by HbA1c and FPG levels with the added benefit of a reduced basal and total insulin dose.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / drug therapy*
  • Hypoglycemia / metabolism
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin, Long-Acting / administration & dosage*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Insulin
  • Insulin, Long-Acting
  • insulin degludec