Is Lantus Going to Give You Cancer?

Not likely. You may have seen the latest alarming diabetes headlines this past June when the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) made “an urgent call for more research into a possible link between use of insulin glargine (an insulin analog, brand name Lantus) and increased risk of cancer” (particularly breast), following evidence from studies in Germany, Sweden and Scotland reported in Diabetologia. However, they stressed that until this further research becomes available, patients with diabetes taking Lantus should continue to do so, although some might wish to consider alternative types of insulin. Does this mean that you should stop using it if you do?

Consider what some experts say before going as far as deciding to change your basal insulin. Steve Edelman, MD, at UCSD in San Diego, CA states, “The recent reports from Europe regarding Lantus being associated with cancer do not represent anything close to a proper scientific analysis. The data were very confusing, unexplainable, inconsistent and far from anything that should change the way we currently use any type of insulin.” R. Keith Campbell, PharmD, in Pullman, WA, says, “We have become a society where formerly respected publications are now all headlines with little to backup the outlandish claims.” Since some previous studies have linked higher levels of insulin with cancer, blood pressure, and other problems, the best advice at this point (I think) is to exercise regularly to keep your insulin needs as low as possible (as regular physical activity increases insulin action) and to let being an active person lower your risk of all health problems.

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