Descriptive analysis of long- and intermediate-acting insulin and key safety outcomes in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus Journal Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: As new biosimilar and follow-on insulins enter the market, more data are needed on safety, effectiveness, and patterns of use for these products to inform prescriber and patient decision-making regarding treatment. Additionally, data are needed regarding real-world patterns of use to inform future studies comparing the safety and effectiveness of bio-similars to already approved agents for diabetes treatment. OBJECTIVE: To analyze the medication use patterns, adverse events, and availability of glycated hemoglobin (A1c) values for adult patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) who use long-acting insulin (LAI) or neutral protamine Hagedorn (NPH), an intermediate-acting insulin. METHODS: We used the Biologics and Biosimilars Collective Intelligence Consortium's (BBCIC) distributed research network (DRN) for this descriptive analysis. The analysis time frame was January 1, 2011, to September 30, 2015, and included patients continuously insured for at least 183 days before the first date of a filled prescription for LAI or NPH insulin alone or with rapid- or short-acting insulin or sulfonylureas, whether newly starting insulin or switching to a different product. Insulin exposure episodes were the unit of analysis, and patients were classified in cohorts according to treatment. We followed patients until end of health plan enrollment or the end of the study period. We used occurrence of a study outcome, switch to another medication regimen, discontinuation of the current medication, or study end date to mark the end of an insulin episode. We describe demographics and availability of A1c values for analysis. Study outcomes included severe hypoglycemic events and major adverse cardiac events (MACE). RESULTS: We identified 103,951 patients with T2DM from a database of 39.1 million patients with commercial or Medicare Advantage pharmacy and medical benefits, who contributed 279,533 unique insulin exposure episodes. Most episodes (89%) included patients using LAI, and 52% of patients contributed data to 2 or more exposure cohorts. Insulin episodes lasted an average of 3.5 months, and patients had an average follow-up of 8.6 months. The unadjusted rate of severe hypoglycemic events requiring medical attention was 96.9 per 10,000 patient-years at risk (10kPYR). The unadjusted incident MACE rate was 676.9 events per 10kPYR. 38,330 T2DM patients in the BBCIC DRN had a baseline A1c available, and of those, less than 50% had a follow-up A1c result. CONCLUSIONS: Among patients with T2DM, our observed insulin patterns of use and rates of severe hypoglycemic outcomes and MACE are consistent with other studies. We noted a paucity of A1c results available, which implies that additional data sources may be needed to augment the BBCIC DRN. DISCLOSURES: This study was coordinated and funded by the Biologics and Biosimilars Collective Intelligence Consortium (BBCIC) and represents the independent findings of the BBCIC Insulins Principal Investigator and the BBCIC Insulins Research Team. Lockhart is employed by the BBCIC and the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP). Eichelberger was employed by the BBCIC and AMCP at the time of this study. McMahill-Walraven is employed by Aetna, a CVS Health business. Panozzo, Marshall, and Brown are employed by Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Institute. Aetna was reimbursed for data and analytic support from Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Institute and the Reagan Udall Foundation for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Aetna receives external funding through research grants and subcontracts with Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Institute, which are funded by the FDA, NIH, PCORI, BBCIC, Pfizer, and GSK; the Reagan-Udall Foundation for IMEDS; and PCORI for the ADAPTABLE Study. This work was previously presented as a poster at AMCP Nexus 2018; October 22-25, 2018; in Orlando, FL.

publication date

  • 2019