Objective: To compare the incidence of hypoglycaemic events (HEs) in a real-world setting in Muslim patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus fasting during Ramadan.
Research design and methods: We performed a ≤16-week prospective, non-interventional, two-cohort study. Data were collected 1-6 weeks before and ≤6 weeks after fasting. Patients were enrolled who had been receiving vildagliptin (50 mg twice daily) or sulphonylurea (SU) as add-on to metformin at least 4 weeks prior to fasting.
Main outcome measures: The primary efficacy endpoint was incidence of HEs during the Ramadan fast. Changes in glycated haemoglobin (HbA(1c)) and body weight, as well as adherence to treatment, were also assessed.
Results: Seventy-two patients were enrolled (vildagliptin, n = 30; SU, n = 41; no treatment, n = 1), of whom 23 (76.7%) and 36 (87.8%), respectively, completed the study. With vildagliptin, there were no HEs or severe HEs, compared with 34 HEs (15 patients, 41.7%) and one severe (grade 2) HE with SU. The mean between-group difference in the proportion who experienced at least one HE was -41.7% (95%CI -57.8%, -25.6%), p = 0.0002. Vildagliptin lowered mean HbA(1c) from 7.6% (SD 0.9%) at baseline to 7.2% (SD 0.7%) post-Ramadan, whereas SU had no effect (7.2% [SD 0.6%] vs 7.3% [SD 0.7%]; mean between-group difference -0.5% [95% CI -0.9%, -0.1%], p = 0.0262). The mean number of missed doses was markedly lower with vildagliptin (0.2 [SD 0.8] vs 7.6 [SD 14.9]; mean between-group difference -7.4 [95% CI -13.7, -1.20] doses; p = 0.0204). Body weight remained unchanged in both groups.
Conclusion: Vildagliptin caused no hypoglycaemia, was well adhered to and improved HbA(1c), making it a suitable treatment option for managing fasting. Study limitations are the sample size and the lack of diet and exercise data. When extrapolated to the global Muslim population with a similar clinical background, these findings could have considerable public health and clinical implications.