A new drug treatment for type 2 diabetes has been shown to have significant benefits over existing second-line drugs for patients who do not respond to metformin .
The findings comes from a study by German and US researchers who compared and examined the effects of the relatively new drug linagliptin with glimepiride, one of the most commonly prescribed sulphonylureas – the class of second-line drugs offered to type 2 diabetics who are unable to lower their blood sugar levels through the use of metformin alone.
While the two medications produced similar improvements in blood glucose regulatio, the side effects of linagliptin appeared to be considerably less severe than those attributed to glimepiride .
The researchers reported that only 7 per cent of patients treated with linagliptin experienced hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), compared to 38 per cent of patients taking glimepiride .
Those in the linagliptin treatment group also experienced significantly less weight gain and fewer heart attacks or strokes, suggesting the drug could carry a smaller cardiovascular risk, although the authors stressed that that further research would be needed to confirm this.
“Since hypoglycaemia can have substantial negative clinical consequences in terms of cognitive function, mortality, morbidity, adherence to treatment, and quality of life, its prevention is a crucial component of any diabetes management programmen,” explained Professor Baptist Gallwitz, of Tübingen University Hospital, Germany.
Gallwitz and his fellow authors concluded: “The findings could improve decision making for clinical treatment when metformin alone is insufficient.”
The study, which is published in The Lancet, is the first long-term analysis to evaluate the efficacy and safety of linagliptin .

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