Background: Repaglinide and glimepiride are relatively new oral hypoglycemic agents. Few data are available concerning their effects on metabolic parameters other than measures of glycemic control.
Objectives: In addition to assessing the effects of repaglinide and glimepiride on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, this study also examined the effects of these agents on 3 metabolic parameters known to be cardiovascular risk factors--lipoprotein(a) (Lp[a]), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), and homocysteine (Hcy).
Methods: This randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial was conducted at a single center in Italy. Eligible patients were nonsmokers; had no hypertension or coronary heart disease; were taking no hypolipidemic drugs, diuretics, beta-blockers, or thyroxin; and had normal renal function. After an initial 4-week placebo washout period, patients were randomized to receive repaglinide 1 mg/d or glimepiride 1 mg/d. The dose of study drug was optimized over an 8-week titration period, which was followed by a 12-month treatment period. Measures of glycemic control (glycated hemoglobin [HbA1c], fasting plasma glucose [FPG], postprandial plasma glucose [PPG], fasting plasma insulin [FPI], postprandial plasma insulin [PPI]) and the other metabolic parameters of interest were assessed after 6 and 12 months of treatment.
Results: One hundred twenty-four patients (63 women, 61 men) completed the study, 62 in each treatment group. There were no significant differences in demographic characteristics between groups. After 6 and 12 months of treatment, FPG levels and HbA1c values were significantly reduced from baseline in both groups (6 months, P < 0.05; 12 months, P < 0.01). After 6 months, PPG levels were significantly decreased only in the repaglinide group (P < 0.05 vs baseline); at 12 months, however, PPG levels were significantly reduced from baseline in both groups (P < 0.01 repaglinide, P < 0.05 glimepiride). No significant changes from baseline in FPI or PPI levels were seen in either group at 6 months, although FPI levels were significantly increased in the repaglinide group at 12 months (P < 0.05). Repaglinide significantly lowered levels of Lp(a), PAI-1, and Hcy after 12 months (all, P < 0.05 vs baseline). Glimepiride significantly lowered levels of Lp(a) and Hcy after 6 months (both, P < 0.05 vs baseline) and levels of Lp(a) (P < 0.01 vs baseline), Hcy (P < 0.01 vs baseline), and PAI-1 (P < 0.05 vs baseline) after 12 months.
Conclusions: Repaglinide and glimepiride improved glycemic control and reduced levels of other metabolic parameters of interest in this population of patients with type 2 diabetes. It is possible that the reductions in Lp(a), PAI-1, and Hcy were the result of improved glucose metabolism; however, the possibility that repaglinide and glimepiride may have a direct effect on these parameters should not be excluded.