Clinical effects of early treatment with insulin glargine in patients with cystic fibrosis and impaired glucose tolerance

C. Bizzarri, V. Lucidi, P. Ciampalini, S. Bella, B. Russo, M. Cappa

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Diabetes mellitus is an increasing complication of cystic fibrosis (CF), as a result of the improved life expectancy. There is clear association between diabetes and increased morbidity and mortality. Lung function and clinical status deteriorate up to 2-4 yr before the diagnosis of CF-related diabetes (CFRD). The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects, on glucose homeostasis and clinical status, of the early treatment with insulin glargine in CF patients with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). We selected six subjects with IGT diagnosed at oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Median age was 18.12 yr (range 9.2-27.8). Insulin glargine was administered at the median dosage of 0.3 U/kg/day (range 0.2-0.5). After the initial adjustment of the dosage, no patient manifested hypoglycemia during treatment. Median glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) did not show any significant variation during treatment: it was 5.9% at baseline (range 5.5-6.2) and 6.1% (range 5.0-6.7) at the end of follow-up (p = 0.496). Median body mass index (BMI) z-score significantly increased during treatment, from -0.95 (range -3.2-+0.6) at baseline to -0.5. (range -3.0-+O.9) at the end of follow-up (p = 0.026). Lung function, measured by median forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEVI %), showed a mild but significant improvement during insulin treatment. It was 72.7% at baseline (range 41.5-98.4) and 76.7% (range 42.0-106.8) at the end of follow-up (p = 0.027). No significant variation was found between the number of hospitalizations for clinical exacerbation (no./patient/yr) in the last 2 yr before treatment and during follow-up. Median number at baseline was 1.95/ patient/yr (range 1-3) and 2.0/patient/yr (range 1-3) at follow-up (p = 0.715). Our data seem to indicate that early insulin therapy can be safe, no patient manifested hypoglycemia or other adverse effects during treatment. Insulin is an anabolic hormone implicated in both lipid and protein metabolism. The appearance of IGT out of infections can indicate an early insulin deficiency, with a potential impact on the nutritional and clinical status of the patient, even before the appearance of overt diabetes. Larger controlled trials are necessary to verify if early insulin therapy is able to reduce the deterioration of nutritional status and lung function associated with the onset of IGT.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Impaired glucose tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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