The safety and efficacy of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) inhibitors as monotherapy or in combination with other oral antidiabetic agents or basal insulin are well established. DPP4 inhibitors stimulate glucose-dependent insulin secretion and inhibit glucagon production. As monotherapy, they reduce the hemoglobin A1c level by about 0.6-0.8%. The addition of a DPP4 inhibitor to basal insulin is an attractive option, because they lower both postprandial and fasting plasma glucose concentrations without increasing the risk of hypoglycemia or weight gain. The present review summarizes the extensive evidence on the combination therapy of DPP4 inhibitors and insulin-based regimens in patients with type 2 diabetes. We focus our discussion on challenging clinical scenarios including patients with chronic renal impairment, elderly persons and hospitalized patients. The evidence indicates that these drugs are highly effective and safe in the elderly and in the presence of mild, moderate and severe renal failure improving glycemic control with low risk of hypoglycemia. In addition, several randomized-controlled trials have shown that the use of DPP4 inhibitors in combination with basal insulin represents an alternative to the basal-bolus insulin regimen in hospitalized patients with type 2 diabetes.
Keywords: Alogliptin; Basal insulin; DPP4 inhibitors; Glycemic control; Linagliptin; Saxagliptin; Sitagliptin; Type 2 diabetes; Vildagliptin.