Insulin Use and Weight Maintenance in Well-Controlled Type 2 Diabetes

A Prospective Cohort Study

Insulin therapy for treating diabetes has long been associated with weight gain both in clinical trials and in clinical practice. This study sets out to disprove the hypothesis that insulin causes weight change in well-controlled patients with type 2 diabetes. The prospective cohort was nested within a control trial at an academic clinic with enrollment taking place between June 2002 and January 2005. A total of 163 patients were monitored and weight change was compared between insulin users and non-insulin users.

Key Findings:

  • Of the 144 participants who completed 24 months of follow up, patients who received an oral treatment gained an average of 2.9 kg compared with insulin users who gained an average of 2.7 kg.
  • Many of the clinical studies that have described weight gain from insulin use have not considered the effect of glycemic control on body weight.
  • During initiation and intensification of insulin therapy, weight gain may be more likely.

The researchers recommend the development of new strategies to control initial weight gain and to enhance weight stability, as well as further research with different type 2 diabetes populations.