RISE: Insulin glargine, metformin offer no beta cell function benefit in youth



Neither metformin nor insulin glargine followed by metformin improved beta cell function in adolescents with impaired glucose tolerance or early type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in the pediatric medication portion of the Restoring Insulin Secretion (RISE) study.

The treatments, including either metformin for 12 months in 47 participants or insulin glargine for 3 months followed by metformin for 9 months in 44 participants, were not associated with improvement in beta cell function at 12 months, compared with baseline, according to reports from members of the RISE Consortium at the annual scientific sessions of the American Diabetes Association.

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Furthermore, measures of beta cell function worsened in both groups at 15-month follow-up, and the same was true for participants with impaired glucose tolerance only; the outcomes in that subset of patients were similar to the entire group, including patients with early T2DM.

“Beta cell failure progressed despite that intervention, and though both [metformin and insulin glargine] were effective for lowering glucose – and metformin for lowering weight ... it had nothing to do with the natural history of the disease, and that’s really quite disappointing,” John B. Buse, MD, said in a video interview.

But that’s not to say the findings weren’t of value.

“The exciting bit was our greater understanding of what’s different about diabetes in youth, and basically [the findings] showed that, both in the setting of impaired glucose tolerance and early diabetes, youth have more insulin resistance than adults, they have relatively more well-preserved beta cell function – they’re secreting more insulin at both impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes, and they have lesser hepatic insulin clearance,” said Dr. Buse, professor, chief of the division of endocrinology, and director of the Diabetes Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Dr. Buse provided invited commentary on the findings at the ADA scientific sessions and elaborated on those comments in this interview, noting that, in addition to identifying important differences between children and adults with impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes, the RISE study demonstrated that the numerous challenges associated with conducting a major study involving children with impaired glucose tolerance or T2DM can be overcome.

“It’s a really heartwarming story,” he said of the efforts and successes of the RISE investigators in completing the pediatric medication portion of the study. “It at least gives us hope that, even if we haven’t found a cure for type 2 diabetes in children, we at least know we can do the studies.”

Dr. Buse also provided his take on what the future holds for both parts of the RISE study (findings from the adult medication and adult surgery portions are expected to be reported within the next year) and for other studies in children and youth with diabetes; he noted that the current findings and successes in enrolling and completing the pediatric portion of the study highlight multiple opportunities for future research.

Dr. Buse reported financial relationships with Adocia, AstraZeneca, Dexcom, Elcelyx, Eli Lilly, Fractyl Laboratories, Intarcia Therapeutics, Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Metavention, NovaTarg Therapeutics, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, VTV Therapeutics, Boehringer Ingelheim, Johnson & Johnson Services, Theracos, Shenzhen Hightide Biopharmaceutical, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, American Diabetes Association, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

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