MONTREAL, Quebec June 4, 2014 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - A Canadian study has identified a new strategy for improving the care of patients living with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) by empowering them to manage their own insulin therapy.
The START study (Self-Titration with Apidra® to Reach Target)1, the first research of its kind, found that T2D patients adjusting their own insulin doses can control the disease and achieve blood sugar targets just as safely and effectively as patients whose treatment is being conventionally managed by their physicians.
"This is a significant finding because it offers a new approach to addressing a long-standing gap in the care of T2D patients," says Dr. Stewart Harris, lead investigator of the study and professor of family medicine at Western University in London, Ontario.
"Many family doctors feel they lack the skills to manage what can be complex and challenging issues. In the past 10 years, family doctors have become more comfortable initiating insulin therapy, but continue to be reluctant to move to the next step and so they delay intensifying insulin," Dr. Harris explains.
The START study, a Canadian 'real world' study that involved more than 300 patients and 47 primary care physician sites nationally, found that patients managing their own treatment were less afraid and more aggressive about increasing insulin than the physician-managed group.
Based on the results, the study identifies a strategy to overcome the T2D care gap. It centers on engaging patients in making decisions about their own treatment and gives family physicians greater confidence to move to the next step by adding mealtime insulin when appropriate.
This study provides a simple and easy protocol for family physicians and their patients to manage insulin therapy and thus achieve blood sugar goals. "Our approach demystifies insulin intensification, and it can be adopted anywhere. It has the potential to change physician practices and improve care for millions of people," notes Dr. Harris.
More than 300 million people worldwide2, and more than 2 million in Canada3, have Type 2 Diabetes.
The START strategy involves:
T2D patients for whom long-acting (basal) insulin is not enough.
These patients add rapid -acting insulin at breakfast time and are empowered to make their own dosage adjustments until they reach their goal blood sugar levels. In the START study, this took an average of about two weeks.
This approach maximizes convenience as most patients routinely test their blood sugar at breakfast time, and the additional dose requires only one extra self-monitoring test later the same morning.
The START study was initiated by investigators at Western University, McGill University, McMaster University, and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Sanofi Canada, which has a long history of innovation and discovery in the field of diabetes, sponsored the study.
"As one of Canada's leaders in diabetes education and management, we're pleased to have supported this study which will enhance care for so many people around the world," said Mélanie Groleau, Medical Advisor with Sanofi Canada. "Millions with Type 2 Diabetes stand to benefit from the work of this dedicated team of Canadian investigators."
Sanofi, a global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and the new Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).
Sanofi entities in Canada include Sanofi Canada (pharmaceuticals), Sanofi Pasteur (vaccines), Sanofi Consumer Health (cosmeceuticals, over-the-counter products and specialty care), Genzyme (rare diseases) and Merial (animal health). Together they employ close to 1,700 people across the country. In 2013 Sanofi companies invested$125 million in R&D in Canada, creating jobs, business and opportunity throughout the country.