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Keywords:

  • insulin;
  • hypoglycemia;
  • aged;
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus

OBJECTIVES: To compare the safety and efficacy of insulin detemir with that of neutral protamine Hagedorn (NPH) insulin in older (aged ≥65) and younger (aged 18–64) persons with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM).

DESIGN: Pooled, post hoc analysis of data from three open-label, randomized studies.

SETTING: Three multinational Phase III trials.

PARTICIPANTS: Four hundred sixteen older and 880 younger persons with DM, treated for 22 to 26 weeks with basal insulin plus mealtime insulin or oral agents.

MEASUREMENTS: Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), fasting plasma glucose, glucose variability, hypoglycemic episodes.

RESULTS: Mean treatment difference for HbA1c (insulin detemir–NPH insulin) indicated that insulin detemir was not inferior to NPH insulin for both age groups (0.035%, 95% confidence interval (CI)=−0.114–0.183 and 0.100%, 95% CI=−0.017–0.217, for older and younger persons, respectively). Relative risk of all hypoglycemic episodes (insulin detemir/NPH insulin) was 0.59 (95% CI-0.42–0.83) for older persons and 0.75 (95% CI-0.59–0.96) for younger persons. Adverse events were similar between treatments. Fasting plasma glucose was similar between treatments (mean treatment difference 0.97 mg/dL, 95% CI=−8.01–9.95, and 4.69 mg/dL, 95% CI=−2.30–11.67, for older and younger persons, respectively). Mean treatment difference for weight was −1.02 kg (95% CI −1.61 to −0.42) and −1.13 (95% CI −1.58 to −0.69) for older and younger persons, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Previously reported benefits of insulin detemir, particularly less hypoglycemia and less weight gain, compared with NPH insulin, were the same for older and younger persons with DM at similar levels of HbA1c.