Current role of short-term intensive insulin strategies in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes

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Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a progressive disease characterized by worsening insulin resistance and a decline in β-cell function. Achieving good glycemic control becomes more challenging as β-cell function continues to deteriorate throughout the disease process. The traditional management paradigm emphasizes a stepwise approach, and insulin has generally been reserved as a final armament. However, mounting evidence indicates that short-term intensive insulin therapy used in the early stages of type 2 diabetes could improve β-cell function, resulting in better glucose control and more extended glycemic remission than oral antidiabetic agents. Improvements in insulin sensitivity and lipid profile were also seen after the early initiation of short-term intensive insulin therapy. Thus, administering short-term intensive insulin therapy to patients with newly diagnosed T2DM has the potential to delay the natural process of this disease, and should be considered when clinicians initiate treatment. Although the early use of insulin is advocated by some guidelines, the optimal time to initiate insulin therapy is not clearly defined or easily recognized, and a pragmatic approach is lacking. Herein we summarize the current understanding of early intensive insulin therapy in patients with newly diagnosed T2DM, focusing on its clinical benefit and problems, as well as possible biological mechanisms of action, and discuss our perspective.

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