So Many Antihyperglycemics: How to Choose? A Practical Approach

Alice Y Y Cheng
Canadian Journal of Diabetes 2017, 41 (5): 469-473
Guidelines from around the world have stressed the importance of glycemic control in the management of patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) to reduce the risk of developing complications. To achieve this goal, both lifestyle and pharmacologic therapies are available. There are 9 classes of antihyperglycemic therapies available in Canada and each class provides a different mechanism of action to address the pathophysiology of T2DM. Metformin remains the first choice for pharmacologic therapy. Thereafter, individualization is essential. If there is significant hyperglycemia at diagnosis, initial combination therapy should be considered. The choice of therapy after metformin depends on a number of factors with the first consideration being the presence or absence of cardiovascular disease. If present, an agent with proven cardiovascular benefit should be added. Otherwise, individualization should be based on desired glycemic lowering, risk of hypoglycemia, effect on weight, cardiovascular effects, other side effects and accessibility.


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