Disclaimer: I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Sanofi to write about the realities of diabetes as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.
As you’ve noticed, the theme of my latest blog posts has been focused on knowing diabetes treatment options. For this post, I partnered with Med-IQ (an accredited medical education company that provides an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals) to share information about a new treatment option.
I am always delighted when I learn about new diabetes treatment options because when I was first diagnosed, I only knew about insulin and metformin. As soon I learned about the option of combining insulin with a GLP-1 receptor agonist from my Endocrinologist, I was eager to give it a try. Over the past nine years, I’ve used that treatment method occasionally and have been pleased.
Recently, thanks to Med-IQ, I learned that these don’t have to be two separate medications for everyone. Did you know that? Below I provide helpful medical information for you to share with your healthcare providers about this new treatment option if you desire.
What are fixed-ratio combination injectable therapy?
Insulin and the medicine called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist is one type of fixed-ratio combination injectable therapies.
These two types of medicine work together to lower glucose levels in your blood:
- Insulin allows glucose to leave your blood and enter your cells (especially between meals and overnight)
- GLP-1 receptor agonists help lower blood glucose levels after a meal; they also slow the movement of food from your stomach (gastric emptying) and can help prevent weight gain.
Why combine insulin and GLP-1 receptor agonists?
The fixed-ratio combination injectables offers more benefits than either one alone. The combination may help you reach your blood glucose goals because it:
- Makes treatment easier—only one daily injection with a pen device is needed
- Targets many different pathways involved in diabetes
- Needs less frequent blood glucose monitoring than some other medicines
- Lowers the risk of weight gain and low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia)
- Lessens unwanted side effects of each treatment—the risks of weight gain (with insulin) and
gastrointestinal symptoms, mainly nausea (with GLP-1 receptor agonists), are lowered.
Why should I consider a fixed-ratio combination of injectable therapy?
- When you are already taking both medicines separately, you may find it easier to do just one.
- When you experience intolerable side-effects of current treatment
What are possible side effects?
Your healthcare provider or diabetes care and education specialist will discuss possible side effects with you.
- Some people with other medical conditions in addition to type 2 diabetes may not be able to
take treatments with GLP-1 receptor agonists. Make sure to tell your healthcare provider or diabetes care and education specialist about all other medical conditions and any medicines that you take.
What are the currently available fix-ratio combination injectable therapies?
- iDegLira is a titratable fixed-ratio combination containing insulin degludec (100 U/mL) and liraglutide (3.6 mg/mL).
- iGlarLixi is a titratable fixed-ratio combination containing insulin glargine (100 U/mL) and lixisenatide (33 µg/mL).
My personal experience:
I have tried three different GLP-1 RAs in my lifetime. However, I haven’t tried a fixed-rate combination. Why is that since I clearly have no problem trying new things, you ask? Well, I fit right in with one of Med-IQ’s data findings. Our survey showed that 74% of people with diabetes were not taking insulin and the main reason they are not taking insulin was because their doctor never mentioned it to them. My doctors never mentioned a fixed-combination injectable to me.
I’d love to know if you talk to your healthcare provider about these medications. Please remember that I am not endorsing any medication, I am only making you aware of a new treatment option that you may find useful in your diabetes management. Do not begin any medication without consulting your physician.
Med-IQ is conducting an anonymous survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with diabetes and your care team, which will help us develop future educational initiatives. Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize, and to send a follow-up survey as part of this same initiative.
Have a happy Diabetes Awareness Month