Lower incidence of recorded cardiovascular outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes using insulin aspart vs. those on human regular insulin: observational evidence from general practices

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Insulin aspart has a higher ability to treat postprandial glucose than regular human insulin, which may have favourable cardiovascular effects. The aim was to collect and compare the incidence of recorded macro- and microvascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes with insulin aspart or regular human insulin in general practices.


Computerized data from 3154 aspart and 3154 regular insulin users throughout Germany (Disease Analyzer, January 2000 to July 2011) were analysed after matching for age (60 ± 10 years), sex (men: 57%), health insurance (private: 5.8%) and diabetes treatment period in practice (2.2 ± 2.5 years). Hazard ratios (HR; Cox regression) for macro- or microvascular outcomes (follow-up: 3.5 years) were further adjusted for diabetologist care, practice region, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, co-medication (basal insulin, oral antidiabetics, antihypertensives, lipid-lowering agents and antithrombotic drugs), previous treatment with rapid-acting insulins, hypoglycaemia and the Charlson co-morbidity score. Furthermore, adjustment was carried out for baseline microvascular complications when analysing macrovascular outcomes and vice versa.


Overall, the risk of combined macrovascular outcomes was 15% lower for insulin aspart users (p = 0.01). For insulin aspart there was also a decreased risk incident stroke [HR: 0.58; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.45–0.74], myocardial infarction (HR: 0.69; 95% CI: 0.54–0.88) and peripheral vascular disease (HR: 0.80; 95% CI: 0.69–0.93). For microvascular complications (retinopathy, neuropathy and nephropathy), no significant differences were observed (HR: 0.96; 95% CI: 0.87–1.06).


Use of the rapid-acting insulin analogue aspart was associated with a reduced incidence of macrovascular outcomes in type 2 diabetes in general practices. It is important to confirm this finding in a randomized controlled trial.

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