What Is Tresiba?Even though there is a huge variety of insulin medications, long-acting insulins can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Until recently Lantus (insulin glargine) has been the number one medication in this category due to an extended patent protection from generic or biosimilar competition. Finally, the situation has changed, and insulins of the next generation like Tresiba (insulin degludec) are coming into play. Tresiba from Novo Nordisk is a long-acting (basal) insulin medication that is believed to calm down even the most “disobedient” blood sugars and save diabetics from high peaks, transforming their monitor graphs from unpredictable sinusoids into a straight line. Tresiba is approved for use by adults and children from 1 year of age diagnosed with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
How Tresiba worksContaining degludec as its active substance, Tresiba achieves its ultra long-lasting effects due to hexadecandioic acid that boasts the ability to form multihexamer structures in the subcutaneous tissue. The release of insulin from the so-called insulin depot into the bloodstream occurs gradually at a constant rate, without noticeable peaks common for other basal insulin medications. The manufacturer of Tresiba, Novo Nordisk, explains this complex pharmacological process using an analogy with a pearl necklace, where beads serve as multi-hexamers that get detached from the strand one by one in equal intervals of time. Similarly, Tresiba ensures a constant and uniform flow of insulin degludec into the blood. As a rule, Tresiba starts to work in 30-90 minutes and lasts up to 42 hours. Regardless of such an impressive duration, Tresiba still needs to be administered once a day, just like Lantus. You might wonder where the rest of the drug goes after 24 hours and how it affects the general well-being. The official Tresiba documentation doesn’t provide the answer. The doctors claim that patients typically have a greater sensitivity to Tresiba compared to Lantus and require a smaller amount. Once you adjust the dosage and get used to this insulin medication, it will work very smoothly, so you don't have to worry about this.
Why it’s so goodTresiba's main competitive advantage is its flat and stable action profile. Clinical trials have demonstrated that the variability of this insulin is four times lower than that of Lantus.What is more, patients who regularly use Tresiba have aa lower risk of developing a severe nocturnal hypoglycemia that might lead to brain damage or even death. This is a huge advantage as most other long-acting insulin medications are less safe in this respect. The only insulin that might be close in effectiveness to Tresiba is Toujeo, Sanofi's successor to Lantus.
How to switch to TresibaSome Tresiba users admit that it has taken them quite a while (sometimes as long as 3-4 weeks) to get used to this medication and find the right dosage. If you’re considering to switch to Tresiba from Lantus or some other insulin drug, be ready for a bit of experimenting with the optimal amount that will work for you and even with the time of the day for administering Tresiba. There are rare cases when patients eventually have to raise the white flag and go back to the insulin medication they used prior to Tresiba, but most patients who switch from insulins of older generation to this brainchild of Novo Nordisk end up with satisfactory results.It is recommended to use Tresiba at the same time once daily to ensure its stable work, although the manufacturer make it a requirement only for children.
Who shouldn’t take TresibaTresiba will be OK for patients who only do mild cardiac exercises, but those who regularly work out and/or are particularly active at times can hardly be recommended to switch to Tresiba. They will require differing basal rates night and day. Patient with diabetic ketoacidosis also mustn’t use Tresiba.
Tresiba CostEven though it usually requires a lower dose that other basal insulin medications, Tresiba can hardly be called a cheaper option. In the United States, its average price is $575.77 per pen 3ml (100 units/ml). However, you might be lucky to pay just a fraction of its real cost if your health plan happens to cover Tresiba. If not, you should better buy Tresiba on European or Canadian market where insulin prices are affordable due to government regulation.