A new study is suggesting that early intensive insulin therapy in patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes provides better control of blood glucose levels than oral hypoglycaemic drugs.

The study, the findings of which have published in The Lancet, saw 382 patients in China being randomised to receive one of two types of daily insulin treatment or oral hypoglycaemic therapy until they achieved normoglycaemia for two weeks, followed up on diet and exercise. The data demonstrated that at least 95% of patients treated with insulin achieved normal blood glucose levels in fewer than six days, while 83.5% of patients receiving oral hypoglycaemic agents reached normal levels in an average of 9.3 days.

After one year, the study noted that remission rates were significantly higher in those who received insulin compared with those who received oral hypoglycaemic agents.

Jianping Weng, lead author of the study, which was funded by the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province Government, Novo Nordisk, Roche and the Chinese government, suggested that insulin injections could provide a "rest" for the pancreas in patients with diabetes, which may reverse some of the damage done by high blood glucose levels. He concluded by saying that further clinical investigation of early intensive insulin therapy is warranted.