Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus

Joshua J Neumiller, Lindy Wood, R Keith Campbell
Pharmacotherapy 2010, 30 (5): 463-84
Type 2 diabetes mellitus traditionally has been characterized by insulin resistance and beta-cell dysfunction, leading to hyperglycemia and eventual micro- and macrovascular complications. Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors are a relatively new class of drugs available for the management of type 2 diabetes. In order to provide a comprehensive evaluation and comparison of the pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety of the DPP-4 inhibitors-sitagliptin, vildagliptin, saxagliptin, and alogliptin-in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, we conducted a MEDLINE search (1966-July 2009) for pertinent English-language articles. Abstracts of the annual meetings of the American Diabetes Association and European Association for the Study of Diabetes from 2005-2009 were also searched. As a drug class, the DPP-4 inhibitors have become widely accepted in clinical practice because of their low risk of hypoglycemia, favorable adverse-effect profile, and once-daily dosing. They are weight neutral (do not cause weight gain or loss) and appear to decrease beta-cell apoptosis and increase beta-cell survival. Because clinical studies directly comparing agents from this class have not, to our knowledge, been conducted, making comparisons in terms of efficacy and safety will become difficult for clinicians as more agents become available. Based on information from preclinical, clinical, and postmarketing data, there does not appear to be a compelling advantage of one DPP-4 inhibitor over another in terms of efficacy, safety, or ease of clinical use. Although theoretical advantages exist for agents with a higher specificity for DPP-4 inhibition versus inhibition of other isoenzymes associated with toxicity, comparative studies and/or increased clinical experience with this class of drug will determine the clinical advantages, if any, of one agent over another.


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