brand logo

Am Fam Physician. 2024;109(4):333-342

Related Editorials: Should Metformin Continue as First-Line Pharmacotherapy for Patients With Type 2 Diabetes?

Yes: Metformin Is Still the Best Choice

No: Other Drugs Have Stronger Evidence of Benefit

This clinical content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial relationships.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease that is increasing in global prevalence. An individualized approach to pharmacotherapy should consider costs, benefits beyond glucose control, and adverse events. Metformin is the first-line therapy due to its low cost and effectiveness. Sulfonylureas and thiazolidinediones are additional low-cost oral hypoglycemic classes available in the United States; however, evidence shows variability in weight gain and hypoglycemia. Thiazolidinediones increase fluid retention and are not recommended in patients with New York Heart Association class III or IV heart failure. Newer medications, including glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists and sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors, have demonstrated weight loss, reduced cardiovascular events, decreased renal disease, and improved all-cause morbidity and mortality. Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors are recommended for people with known cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease but carry an increased risk of urinary tract and mycotic infections. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists are contraindicated in patients with active multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 or a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma; adverse effects include gastrointestinal upset and pancreatitis. Dipeptidyl-peptidase-4 inhibitors have a low risk of hypoglycemia but may increase the risk of pancreatitis and require a renal dose adjustment. Public and private programs to increase access to newer hypoglycemic medications are increasing; however, there are limitations to access, particularly for uninsured and underinsured people.

Already a member/subscriber?  Log In


From $165
  • Immediate, unlimited access to all AFP content
  • More than 130 CME credits/year
  • AAFP app access
  • Print delivery available

Issue Access

  • Immediate, unlimited access to this issue's content
  • CME credits
  • AAFP app access
  • Print delivery available

Article Only

  • Immediate, unlimited access to just this article
  • CME credits
  • AAFP app access
  • Print delivery available
Purchase Access:  Learn More

Continue Reading

More in AFP

More in PubMed

Copyright © 2024 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP.  See permissions for copyright questions and/or permission requests.