Differential effect of glimepiride and rosiglitazone on metabolic control of type 2 diabetic patients treated with metformin: a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2006 Mar;8(2):197-205. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2005.00480.x.


Aim: Accumulating evidence suggests that combination therapy using oral antidiabetic agents with different mechanisms of action may be highly effective in achieving and maintaining target blood glucose levels. The aim of our study is to evaluate the differential effect on glucose and lipid parameters of the association between glimepiride plus metformin and rosiglitazone plus metformin in patients affected by type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Methods: Patients were enroled, evaluated and followed at two Italian centres. We evaluated 99 type 2 diabetic patients with metabolic syndrome (48 males and 47 females; 23 males and 24 females, aged 52 +/- 5 with glimepiride; 25 males and 23 females, aged 54 +/- 4 with cglitazone). All were required to have been diagnosed as being diabetic for at least 6 months and did not have glycaemic control with diet and oral hypoglycaemic agents such as sulphonylureas or metformin, both to the maximum tolerated dose. All patients took a fixed dose of metformin, 1500 mg/day. We administered glimepiride (2 mg/day) or rosiglitazone (4 mg/day) in a randomized, controlled, double-blind clinical study. We evaluated body mass index (BMI), glycaemic control, lipid profile [total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol and triglycerides] and lipoprotein parameters [apolipoprotein A-I and apolipoprotein B (Apo B)] during 12 months of this treatment.

Results: A total of 95 patients completed the study. Significant BMI decrease was observed at 12 months in glimepiride and rosiglitazone group (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01 respectively) as well as of glycated haemoglobin decrease (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01 respectively), mean fasting plasma glucose and postprandial plasma glucose levels (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01 respectively). A decrease in fasting plasma insulin and postprandial plasma insulin at 12 months (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01 respectively) compared with the baseline value in rosiglitazone group was observed. Furthermore, homeostasis model assessment index improvement was obtained only at 9 and 12 months (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01 respectively) compared with the baseline value in rosiglitazone group. Significant TC, LDL-C and Apo B improvement (p < 0.05 respectively) was present in glimepiride group after 12 months compared with the baseline values, and these variations were significant (p < 0.05) between groups. Of the 95 patients who completed the study, 8.5% of patients in glimepiride group and 12.5% of patients in rosiglitazone group had side-effects (p = not significant). Four patients had transient side-effects in glimepiride group and six patients in rosiglitazone group. Altogether, we did not have statistically significant changes in transaminases.

Conclusions: The rosiglitazone-metformin association significantly improve the long-term control of all insulin-resistance-related parameters in comparison with the glimepiride-metformin-treated group. On the other side, glimepiride treatment is associated to a slight improvement in cholesterolaemia, not observed in the rosiglitazone-treated patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / chemically induced
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Metformin / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Rosiglitazone
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Thiazolidinediones / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Drug Combinations
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Lipids
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Rosiglitazone
  • glimepiride
  • Metformin