Insulin is a common treatment option for many patients with type 2 diabetes, and is generally used late in the natural history of the disease. Its injectable delivery mode, propensity for weight gain and hypoglycaemia, and the paucity of trials assessing the risk-to-safety ratio of early insulin use are major shortcomings associated with its use in patients with type 2 diabetes. Development of new insulins-such as insulin analogues, including long-acting and short-acting insulins-now provide alternative treatment options to human insulin. These novel insulin formulations and innovative insulin delivery methods, such as oral or inhaled insulin, have been developed with the aim to reduce insulin-associated hypoglycaemia, lower intraindividual pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic variability, and improve imitation of physiological insulin release. Availability of newer glucose-lowering drugs (such as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, and sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitors) also offers the opportunity for combination treatment; the results of the first trials in this area of research suggest that such treatment might lead to use of reduced insulin doses, less weight gain, and fewer hypoglycaemic episodes than insulin treatment alone. These and future developments will hopefully offer better opportunities for individualisation of insulin treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes.
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