Comparative effectiveness of oral diabetes drug combinations in reducing glycosylated hemoglobin

J Comp Eff Res. 2014 Jan;3(1):29-39. doi: 10.2217/cer.13.87.


Aims: To provide evidence on the comparative effectiveness of oral diabetes drug combinations.

Methods: We performed a retrospective, observational cohort study of glycosylated hemoglobin change in outpatients newly exposed to dual- or triple-drug oral diabetes treatment.

Results: Adjusted response to a second drug added to metformin ranged from 0.85 to 1.21% glycosylated hemoglobin decline. Response to a third drug was smaller (0.53-0.91%). Higher baseline glycosylated hemoglobin was associated with larger response; sulfonylurea effectiveness declined over time; and thiazolidinediones were more effective in obese patients and women.

Conclusion: Observational data provide results qualitatively consistent with the limited available randomized data on diabetes drug effectiveness, and extend these findings into common clinical scenarios where randomized data are unavailable. Sex and BMI influence the comparative effectiveness of diabetes drug combinations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents