A once-weekly long-acting release (LAR) formulation of exenatide submitted to the FDA for approval may provide enhanced glycemic and weight control, potentially improving patient acceptance and adherence. 36,46 In a 15-week study, exenatide once weekly produced significant reductions in HbA1c, FPG, PPG, and body weight. There were no withdrawals due to adverse events, and the formation of anti-exenatide antibodies was not predictive of therapeutic end point response or adverse safety outcome. Instances of hypoglycemia were mild and not dose related. 36 In a 30-week study comparing exenatide LAR once weekly with exenatide BID, patients given exenatide LAR once weekly had significantly greater HbA1c reductions than did patients given exenatide BID (–1.9% vs –1.5%; P = .0023). Treatment adherence was 98% with both exenatide regimens, and no episodes of major hypoglycemia occurred with either formulation regardless of background sulfonylurea use. Favorable effects on BP and lipid profile were observed with both exenatide regimens. 46
The DPP-4 inhibitors (commonly called gliptins) inhibit the proteolytic cleavage of circulating GLP-1 by binding to the DPP-4 enzyme, increasing the concentration of endogenous GLP-1 approximately two- to threefold. 49–51 These concentrations result in more prompt and appropriate secretion of insulin and suppression of glucagon in response to a carbohydrate-containing snack or meal, with the change in glucagon correlating linearly with improved glucose tolerance. 51
DPP-4 inhibitors, which are given orally, include sitagliptin and saxagliptin (approved in the United States) and vildagliptin (not approved in the United States but used in the European Union and Latin America). 8,22,33,52 Sitagliptin can be used either as monotherapy or in combination with metformin or a TZD. 8,49–55 Recently, a single-tablet formulation of sitagliptin plus metformin was granted regulatory approval. 8
When used alone or in combination with metformin or pioglitazone, sitagliptin has been associated with significant reductions in HbA1c (of ~0.5% to 0.6% when used alone, ~0.7% with metformin, and ~0.9% with pioglitazone [ P < .001 vs placebo]), with hypoglycemia occurring in 1.3% or less of the population. 54 In an 18-week study in which patients with T2DM who were inadequately controlled with metformin monotherapy were randomized to receive add-on sitagliptin (100 mg QD), rosiglitazone (8 mg QD), or placebo, sitagliptin reduced HbA1c –0.73% ( P < .001 vs placebo) and reduced body weight –0.4 kg, while rosiglitazone reduced HbA1c –0.79% and increased body weight +1.5 kg. 55
To evaluate the effectiveness of sitagliptin and metformin as initial therapy, a 54-week study was completed in 885 patients with T2DM and inadequate glycemic control (HbA1c 7.5–11%) on diet and exercise. 56 Patients were evaluated on monotherapy with either sitagliptin (100 mg QD) or metformin (1 g or 2 g QD), or on initial therapy with the two in combination (sitagliptin 100 mg + metformin 1 mg or 2 mg QD). At week 54, in the all-patients-treated analysis, mean changes in HbA1c from baseline were –1.8% with sitagliptin plus metformin 2 g QD, –1.4% with sitagliptin plus metformin 1 g QD, –1.3% with metformin 2 g QD monotherapy, –1.0% with metformin 1 g QD monotherapy, and –0.8% with sitagliptin 100 mg QD monotherapy.