Contemporary Trends in Prescription of Dipeptidyl Peptidase-4 Inhibitors in the Context of US Food and Drug Administration Warnings of Heart Failure Risk

Am J Cardiol. 2020 May 15;125(10):1577-1581. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2020.01.053. Epub 2020 Mar 4.


Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP-4i) are one of the most widely used antihyperglycemic therapeutic classes in type 2 diabetes mellitus management. In April 2016 and August 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) introduced sequential labelling requirements regarding heart failure risk related to DPP-4i. We explored longitudinal trends in prescription of DPP-4i before and after these FDA warnings in a multicenter health system. We identified all first-time prescriptions of DPP4i or their combinations across the Partners HealthCare system (Boston, MA) from October 2006 (FDA approval of first DPP-4i) to December 2018. Overall, 11,830 patients were newly prescribed DPP-4i during the study period. Primary care physicians (31.5%) were the most common prescribing specialty. Overall, 8.4%, 20.4%, and 11.6% had heart failure, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and chronic kidney disease, respectively. Median number of background antihyperglycemic therapies was 2 [25th to 75th percentiles 1 to 2], commonly metformin (65.4%) and/or insulin (36.4%). The vast majority of prescriptions were sitagliptin (85.7%), followed by linagliptin (9.5%), saxagliptin (4.7%), and alogliptin (0.2%). Quarterly prescriptions rose gradually from 2006 to mid-2016, and have decreased consistently since then for each of the 4 DPP-4i. Declines in DPP-4i among high-risk groups and those initiated by endocrinologists were most pronounced. In conclusion, although DPP-4i remain a dominant oral antihyperglycemic therapy in clinical practice, new prescriptions have declined recently. These data may reflect relatively swift health system response to broad FDA safety communications regarding heart failure risk, which appeared to impact the entire DPP-4i class, including specific drugs that have not demonstrated any increased risk of heart failure.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Product Labeling
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors
  • Hypoglycemic Agents