Practice Guidelines

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: ACP Releases Updated Recommendations for Oral Pharmacologic Treatment

 

Key Points for Practice

• Metformin should be the first medication prescribed for diabetes when an oral agent is required.

• Combination treatment is superior to metformin alone for decreasing A1C levels, weight, and blood pressure.

• Medications should be selected based on benefits, possible harms, and cost.

From the AFP Editors

Type 2 diabetes mellitus, which occurs in up to 95% of persons with diabetes, is typically managed with lifestyle modifications (e.g., diet, exercise) and medication (e.g., oral drugs). When weight loss or lifestyle modifications are initially unsuccessful, medication is often prescribed. The American College of Physicians (ACP) previously released guidelines in 2012 regarding the effectiveness and safety of oral pharmacologic treatment for type 2 diabetes; however, new evidence has emerged and new drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For this reason, the ACP has released updated guidelines for the management of type 2 diabetes with oral medication.

Recommendations

If glycemic control needs to be improved with medication in persons with type 2 diabetes, metformin should be prescribed because it can efficiently lower glycemic levels, is linked to losing weight and fewer occurrences of hypoglycemia, and is generally less expensive than other options. It is contraindicated in persons with decreased tissue perfusion, hemodynamic instability, advanced liver disease, alcohol abuse, acute unstable congestive heart failure, and conditions that can result in lactic acidosis.

Because combination treatment has been shown to be superior to metformin alone for decreasing A1C levels, weight, and blood pressure, adding a sulfonylurea, thiazolidinedione, or sodium glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) or dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor can be considered when additional oral treatment is being discussed. The choice of drug should be based on a conversation with the patient about benefits, possible harms, and cost (Table 1).

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Table 1.

Comparative Efficacy, Adverse Effects, and Costs for Add-on Oral Therapies to Metformin

Comparative efficacy vs. other combinations with metformin (quality of evidence)Comparative harms vs. other combinations with metformin/class adverse effects and FDA warningsAgentsFair price for a 60-day supply*Adverse effects

Sulfonylureas

Sulfonylurea plus metformin favored for weight vs. TZD plus metformin (moderate)

Higher risk for hypoglycemia than with metformin combinations with TZD, DPP-4 inhibitor, or SGLT-2 inhibitor

Glipizide (Glucotrol), 5 mg

$9

Diarrhea, gas, jitteriness, dizziness, uncontrollable shaking, red or itchy skin, rash, hives, and blisters

Glimepiride (Amaryl), 4 mg

$14

Dizziness and nausea

Glyburide, 5 mg

$13

Nausea and upper abdominal fullness

Glyburide (micronized, 6 mg)

$10

Nausea and upper abdominal fullness

TZDs

TZD plus metformin favored for short-term CVD mortality (rosiglitazone [Avandia] only) (low) and A1C vs. DPP-4 inhibitor plus metformin (moderate)

TZDs increase risk for congestive heart failure

Pioglitazone (Actos), 30 mg

$30

Headache; muscle, arm, or leg pain; sore throat; and gas

May also be associated with increased risk for fracture or bladder cancer

Rosiglitazone, 2 mg

$174

Headache, runny nose and other cold symptoms, sore throat, and back pain

DPP-4 inhibitors

DPP-4 inhibitor plus metformin favored for long-term all-cause mortality, long-term CVD mortality, and CVD morbidity vs. sulfonylurea plus metformin (low)

FDA warns that sitagliptin (Januvia), saxagliptin (Onglyza), linagliptin (Tradjenta), and alogliptin (Nesina) may be associated with potentially severe and disabling joint pain

Alogliptin, 25 mg

$346

Headache, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, and joint pain

DPP-4 inhibitor plus metformin favored for short-term CVD morbidity vs. pioglitazone plus metformin (low)

Linagliptin, 5 mg

$728

Headache and joint pain

DPP-4 inhibitor plus metformin favored for weight vs. sulfonylurea plus metformin (high) or TZD plus metformin (moderate)

Saxagliptin, 5 mg

$746

Sore throat, headache, and joint pain

Sitagliptin, 100 mg

$830

Stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea, and joint pain

SGLT-2 inhibitors

SGLT-2 inhibitor plus metformin favored for CVD mortality (low), A1C (moderate), weight (high), systolic blood pressure (high), and heart rate (moderate) vs. sulfonylurea plus metformin

Higher risk for genital mycotic infection than metformin alone or metformin combined with sulfonylurea or DPP-4 inhibitor

Canagliflozin, 300 mg

$888

Excessive urination, including at night; increased thirst; constipation; and dry mouth

SGLT-2 inhibitor plus metformin favored for weight and systolic blood pressure (moderate) vs. DPP-4 inhibitor plus metformin

FDA warns that canagliflozin (Invokana) may be associated with increased risk of bone fracture and decreased bone mineral density

Dapagliflozin (Farxiga), 10 mg

$896

Excessive urination, including at night,

Author disclosure: No relevant financial affiliations

Coverage of guidelines from other organizations does not imply endorsement by AFP or the AAFP.

This series is coordinated by Sumi Sexton, MD, Associate Deputy Editor.

A collection of Practice Guidelines published in AFP is available at https://www.aafp.org/afp/practguide.

 

 

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