Comparative efficacy and complications of long-acting and intermediate-acting insulin regimens for adults with type 1 diabetes: an individual patient data network meta-analysis

Areti Angeliki Veroniki*, Georgios Seitidis, Lesley Stewart, Mike Clarke, Catrin Tudur-Smith, Dimitris Mavridis, Catherine H Yu, Lorenzo Moja, Sharon E Straus, Andrea C Tricco

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To examine the comparative efficacy and complications of long-acting and intermediate-acting insulin for different patient characteristics for type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

DESIGN: Systematic review and individual patient data (IPD) network meta-analysis (NMA).

DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched through June 2015.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on adults with T1DM assessing glycosylated haemoglobin (A1c) and severe hypoglycaemia in long-acting and intermediate-acting insulin regimens.

DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: We requested IPD from authors and funders. When IPD were not available, we used aggregate data. We conducted a random-effects model, and specifically a one-stage IPD-NMA for those studies providing IPD and a two-stage IPD-NMA to incorporate those studies not providing IPD.

RESULTS: We included 28 RCTs plus one companion report, after screening 6680 titles/abstracts and 205 full-text articles. Of the 28 RCTs, 27 studies provided data for the NMA with 7394 participants, of which 12 RCTs had IPD on 4943 participants. The IPD-NMA for A1c suggested that glargine once daily (mean difference [MD]=-0.31, 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.48 to -0.14) and detemir once daily (MD=-0.25, 95% CI: -0.41 to -0.09) were superior to neutral protamine Hagedorn (NPH) once daily. NPH once/two times per day improved A1c compared with NPH once daily (MD=-0.30, 95% CI: -0.50 to -0.11). Results regarding complications in severe hypoglycaemia should be considered with great caution due to inconsistency in the evidence network. Accounting for missing data, there was no evidence of inconsistency and long-acting insulin regimens ranked higher regarding reducing severe hypoglycaemia compared with intermediate-acting insulin regimens (two-stage NMA: glargine two times per day SUCRA (Surface Under the Cumulative Ranking curve)=89%, detemir once daily SUCRA=77%; one-stage NMA: detemir once daily/two times per day SUCRA=85%). Using multiple imputations and IPD only, complications in severe hypoglycaemia increased with diabetes-related comorbidities (regression coefficient: 1.03, 95% CI: 1.02 to 1.03).

CONCLUSIONS: Long-acting insulin regimens reduced A1c compared with intermediate-acting insulin regimens and were associated with lower severe hypoglycaemia. Of the observed differences, only glargine once daily achieved a clinically significant reduction of 0.30%. Results should be interpreted with caution due to very low quality of evidence.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere058034
Number of pages12
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022.


  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1/drug therapy
  • Insulin Glargine/therapeutic use
  • Glycated Hemoglobin
  • Hypoglycemic Agents/therapeutic use
  • Network Meta-Analysis
  • Insulin, Long-Acting/therapeutic use
  • Insulin/therapeutic use
  • Hypoglycemia/chemically induced
  • Insulin, Isophane

Cite this