Aim: The efficacy, dose-response relationships and safety of an extended-release formulation of metformin (Glucophage) XR) were evaluated in two double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies of 24 and 16 weeks' duration, in patients with inadequate glycaemic control despite diet and exercise. Protocol 1 provided an evaluation of metformin XR at a commonly used dosage. Protocol 2 evaluated different dosages of metformin XR.
Methods: In Protocol 1, 240 patients were randomized to receive metformin XR 1000 mg once daily. or placebo in a 2:1 ratio for 12 weeks (patients could receive metformin XR 1500 mg during weeks 12-24 if required). In Protocol 2, 742 patients were randomized to receive metformin XR 500 mg once daily, 1000 mg once daily, 1500 mg once daily, 2000 mg once daily, 1000 mg twice daily or placebo for 16 weeks. The primary endpoint in each study was the change from baseline in HbA(1C) at 12 weeks (Protocol 1) or 16 weeks (Protocol 2).
Results: Metformin XR reduced HbA(1C) in Protocol 1, with mean treatment differences for 1000 mg once daily vs. placebo of -0.7% at 12 weeks and -0.8% at 24 weeks (p < 0.001 for each). In Protocol 2, a clear dose-response relationship was evident at doses up to 1500 mg, with treatment differences vs. placebo of -0.6% (500 mg once daily), -0.7% (1000 mg once daily), -1.0% (1500 mg once daily) and -1.0% (2000 mg once daily). The efficacy of metformin XR 2000 mg once daily and 1000 mg twice daily were similar (mean treatment differences vs. placebo in HbA(1C) were -1.0% and -1.2%, respectively). More patients achieved HbA(1C) < 7.0% with metformin XR vs. placebo in Protocol 1 (29% vs. 14% at 12 weeks) and with once-daily metformin XR in Protocol 2 (up to 36% vs. 10% at 16 weeks). No significant changes in fasting insulin or body weight occurred. Total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol improved (p < 0.05-p < 0.001) in metformin XR groups in Protocol 2. Metformin XR was well tolerated; gastrointestinal side effects were more common with metformin XR vs. placebo, but few patients withdrew for this reason (1.3% vs. 1.3% in Protocol 1 and 1.6% vs. 0.9% in Protocol 2).
Conclusions: Once-daily metformin XR presents an effective and well-tolerated therapeutic option for delivering metformin in a convenient manner, which supports good compliance with therapy.