Introduction

Insulin degludec (trade name: Tresiba) has been approved in Germany since January 2013 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults. The drug is a long-acting insulin. It is used to control blood sugar levels for up to 24 hours.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that affects many different parts of the body. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still produces enough insulin at first, but the body’s cells gradually lose the ability to absorb and use the insulin. If the blood sugar levels can't be lowered enough by diet changes and exercise, medications are used to regulate them.

Insulin degludec helps to prevent strong fluctuations in blood sugar levels and the problems caused by high and low blood sugar. It can also help to prevent the complications that may develop if blood sugar levels are too high.

Application

Insulin degludec is injected once a day using an insulin pen. It is available in two different doses: 100 or 200 units per milliliter. For patients who haven't used insulin before, the recommended starting dose is 10 units per day. The dose is then adjusted individually, taking into account other blood-sugar reducing treatment, current blood sugar levels, and the target blood sugar levels.

Other treatments

For patients with type 2 diabetes, the treatment options include human insulin, if necessary together with other drugs such as metformin, empagliflozin or liraglutide.

Assessment

In 2019, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany) looked into the advantages and disadvantages of insulin degludec compared with the standard treatments for the following groups of people with type 2 diabetes:

  • Adults who were unable to lower their blood sugar levels enough using at least two blood-sugar-lowering drugs (other than insulin).
  • Adults who were unable to lower their blood sugar levels enough with insulin alone or together with additional blood-sugar-lowering drugs.

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More information

This information summarizes the main results of a review produced by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). The review was commissioned by the German Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) as part of the “early benefit assessment of medications.” On the basis of the review and the hearings received, G-BA passed a resolution on the added benefit of insulin degludec (Tresiba).