Aim: to evaluate the efficacy and safety of adding sitagliptin or glimepiride to the treatment regimen of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and inadequate glycaemic control on metformin monotherapy.
Methods: patients with type 2 diabetes and an HbA(1c) of 6.5-9.0% while on a stable dose of metformin (≥ 1500 mg/day) combined with diet and exercise for at least 12 weeks were randomized in a double-blind manner to receive either sitagliptin 100 mg daily (N = 516) or glimepiride (starting dose 1 mg/day and up-titrated, based upon patient's self-monitoring of blood glucose results, to a maximum dose of up to 6 mg/day) (N = 519) for 30 weeks. The primary analysis assessed whether sitagliptin is non-inferior to glimepiride in reducing HbA(1c) at week 30 (based on the criterion of having an upper bound of the 95% CI less than the prespecified non-inferiority bound of 0.4%).
Results: the mean baseline HbA(1c) was 7.5% in both the sitagliptin group (n = 443) and the glimepiride group (n = 436). After 30 weeks, the least squares (LS) mean change in HbA(1c) from baseline was -0.47% with sitagliptin and -0.54% with glimepiride, with a between-group difference (95% CI) of 0.07% (-0.03, 0.16). This result met the prespecified criterion for declaring non-inferiority. The percentages of patients with an HbA(1c) < 7.0% at week 30 were 52 and 60% in the sitagliptin and glimepiride groups, respectively. The LS mean change in fasting plasma glucose from baseline (95% CI) was -0.8 mmol/l (-1.0, -0.6) with sitagliptin and -1.0 mmol/l (-1.2, -0.8) with glimepiride, for a between-group difference (95% CI) of 0.2 mmol/l (-0.1, 0.4). The percentages of patients for whom hypoglycaemia was reported were 7% in the sitagliptin group and 22% in the glimepiride group (percentage-point difference = -15, p < 0.001). Relative to baseline, sitagliptin was associated with a mean weight loss (-0.8 kg), whereas glimepiride was associated with a mean weight gain (1.2 kg), yielding a between-group difference of -2.0 kg (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: in patients with type 2 diabetes and inadequate glycaemic control on metformin monotherapy, the addition of sitagliptin or glimepiride led to similar improvement in glycaemic control after 30 weeks. Sitagliptin was generally well tolerated. Compared to treatment with glimepiride, treatment with sitagliptin was associated with a lower risk of hypoglycaemia and with weight loss versus weight gain (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00701090).