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Link between cancer and insulin

New research suggests that there is a “possible link” between Lantus insulin for diabetes and a higher risk of developing cancer.

Human insulin has been used for decades and is known as safe. The new research explores an artificial form of insulin which has been used since 2000.

I am sure this study would be of concern for diabetics taking Lantus. However, diabetes experts are asking patients to continue using Lantus, until further research is done, and to discuss any concerns with their doctor.

What is Lantus insulin?

Lantus is an artificial form of insulin called an insulin analog that is used by people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It is used help control blood sugar levels. The drug made by Sanofi Aventis is used by millions around the world and is known by the generic name of ‘insulin glargine’.

Possible cancer link

Four studies were released in the journal Diabetologia with only one leading to concerns about the link between Lantus and cancer.

One of the studies tracked 127,000 insulin treated patients from Germany. The researchers found that one extra person out of every 100 who used Lantus compared with human insulin, had cancer compared with those using human insulin. In addition, the higher the dose of Lantus used, the greater the risk of cancer. Only 1 out of the 4 studies found the negative link. Two studies were inconclusive and one showed a positive link.

The conflicting results have led to the call by the EASD (European Association for the Study of Diabetes) for further research.

What should I do if I take Lantus?

The EASD, which publishes the journal Diabetologia made an urgent call for more research studying the link between Lantus and cancer. The EASD said the concern was for artificial insulin like Lantus, and asked patients continue taking their insulin, and to see their doctor if concerned.

The FDA also released a statement calling for more research and urging patients to not to stop taking the insulin.

More information is available, including information for patients taking Lantus on the Diabetologia journal website.

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