Diabetes: advances in treatment Academic Article uri icon


  • The increasing prevalence of diabetes worldwide is cause for concern both in terms of associated morbidity and increasing health costs. This review aims to focus on new and emerging treatments for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. There has been recent focus on diabetes prevention both for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Prevention programme including lifestyle measures and oral hypoglycaemic agents have shown up to 61% reduction in the development of type 2 diabetes in patients with impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose. Little progress has been made to date on type 1 diabetes prevention although current work is focusing on T-cell immunomodulation therapy and beta cell regeneration. Management of type 2 diabetes has been improved by the recent introduction of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma agonists and more recently by the incretins including glucagons like peptide analogues and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors. This article focuses on the benefits and restrictions of these new agents. The new insulin analogues glargine and detemir have made significant improvements in the management of type 1 diabetes both in terms of improvement in glycaemic control and in reducing hypoglycaemia rates. Inhaled insulin also shows promise for needle-free treatment of diabetes and these insulins are currently undergoing phase 3 trials. Insulin infusion pumps are becoming more sophisticated and increasingly popular in the management of type 1 diabetes. Many studies have shown benefits for improved glycaemic control and reduced rates of hypoglycaemia with pump treatment compared with multiple daily injections. Pancreas and islet cell transplantation are the subject of ongoing research, but currently require immunosuppressive treatment regimes. The main limitation is lack of availability of donor pancreases. There is much hope that new treatments outlined in this review will result in improved outcomes in the treatment of diabetes.

publication date

  • June 2007