Objective: To compare the incidence of symptomatic hypoglycemia between sitagliptin and sulfonylurea in Muslim patients with type 2 diabetes who fasted during Ramadan.
Methods: In a multicenter, pragmatic, randomized study, patients with type 2 diabetes were recruited from clinical centers in India (n = 765) and Malaysia (n = 105). Eligible patients (age ≥ 18 yrs) expressed their intention to daytime fast during Ramadan, were treated with a stable dose of sulfonylurea with or without metformin for ≥3 months prior to screening visit, and had an HbA(1c) ≤ 10%. Patients were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to either switch to sitagliptin 100 mg q.d. or remain on their pre-study sulfonylurea. Daily diary cards were completed to document information on hypoglycemic symptoms and complications. The primary endpoint was the overall incidence of symptomatic hypoglycemia during Ramadan.
Results: Of the 870 patients randomized, 848 (n = 421 for sitagliptin and 427 for sulfonylurea) returned ≥1 completed diary card and were included in the analysis. The proportion of patients who recorded ≥1 symptomatic hypoglycemic event during Ramadan was lower with sitagliptin (3.8%) compared to sulfonylurea (7.3%). The risk of symptomatic hypoglycemia was significantly lower with sitagliptin (risk ratio [95% CI] = 0.52 [0.29, 0.94]; p = 0.028). By country, the proportions of patients who recorded ≥1 symptomatic hypoglycemic event during Ramadan were 4.1% vs. 7.7% in India and 1.9% vs. 3.8% in Malaysia for sitagliptin and sulfonylurea, respectively. No patient discontinued treatment due to a hypoglycemic event. One patient on sitagliptin and seven on sulfonylurea had an event that required non-medical assistance. No events required medical assistance. Both treatments were generally well tolerated.
Limitations: Symptomatic hypoglycemic events did not require a confirmatory blood glucose measurement, which may have overestimated hypoglycemic events. Measures of glycemic control and body weight were not assessed.
Conclusion: Switching antihyperglycemic treatment to sitagliptin from a sulfonylurea reduced the risk of symptomatic hypoglycemia by approximately 50% for Muslim patients with type 2 diabetes who fasted during Ramadan.
Clinical trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT01340768.