Intensifying Treatment Beyond Monotherapy in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Where Do Newer Therapies Fit?

Curr Cardiol Rep. 2017 Mar;19(3):25. doi: 10.1007/s11886-017-0832-3.


Purpose of review: Guidelines for a standard second diabetes medication for the treatment of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) have yet to be established. The rapid increase in the number of newer therapies available makes the choice more difficult. Thus, we reviewed clinical trial evidence evaluating newer therapies available for treatment intensification beyond monotherapy.

Recent findings: Head-to-head studies comparing newer therapies versus traditional (i.e., sulfonylurea) approaches consistently find lower incidence of hypoglycemia and weight gain with newer therapies. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists and sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors demonstrate high glycemic efficacy, while merits of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors include their tolerability. Secondary effects (weight loss, cardiovascular outcomes, renal function) are of growing interest with newer therapies. Choices for treatment intensification in T2DM diabetes are numerous. Understanding the comparative evidence of newer treatment choices, as provided in this review, may help guide clinical decision making.

Keywords: DPP-4 inhibitors; GLP-1 receptor agonists; Intensification after monotherapy; SGLT-2 inhibitors; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor / agonists
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds


  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • SLC5A2 protein, human
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1