A retrospective, case-note survey of type 2 diabetes patients prescribed incretin-based therapies in clinical practice

Diabetes Ther. 2013 Jun;4(1):27-40. doi: 10.1007/s13300-012-0015-6. Epub 2012 Dec 8.


Introduction: While incretin-based therapies have been compared in clinical trials, data comparing their relative efficacy in clinical practice remain limited, particularly when prescribed according to clinical guidelines. This study assessed the clinical and cost-effectiveness of, and patient preference for, incretin-based therapies initiated according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommendations in UK clinical practice.

Methods: In a retrospective chart audit, anonymized data were collected for patients receiving incretin-based therapy according to NICE recommendations in clinical practice in Wales, UK. Parameters assessed included glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), weight, achievement of NICE treatment continuation criteria, adverse events, treatment discontinuation, and drug cost-effectiveness based on observed treatment effects. Treatment preference for a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor (DPP-4i) or glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) was assessed prospectively.

Results: Patients (1,114) were followed-up for a median of 48 weeks (256 received liraglutide, 148 received exenatide twice daily, and 710 received a DPP-4i). Liraglutide reduced HbA1c significantly more versus exenatide or DPP-4i (both P < 0.05). Weight changes were similar for GLP-1RAs but significantly greater vs. DPP-4is (both P < 0.05). NICE treatment continuation criteria were met by 32% and 24% of liraglutide 1.2 mg- and exenatide-treated patients (≥1% HbA1c reduction, ≥3% weight loss), and 61% of DPP-4i-treated patients (≥0.5% HbA1c reduction). Life-years gained per patient were 0.12, 0.08, and 0.07, and costs per quality-adjusted life-year were £16,505, £16,648, and £20,661 for liraglutide, exenatide, and DPP-4is, respectively. More patients (62.5%) preferred the GLP-1RA profile, with these patients having higher baseline body mass index score and HbA1c values, and longer diabetes duration than those preferring the DPP-4i profile.

Conclusion: When prescribed according to NICE recommendations, incretin-based therapies are both clinically and cost-effective options, with liraglutide providing greatest HbA1c reductions. Greater body weight reductions occur with GLP-1RAs compared with DPP-4is. Patients with higher baseline HbA1c and longer diabetes duration prefer a GLP-1RA profile versus a DPP-4i.