ADA/EASD: General recommendations for choosing antihyperglycemic therapy in type 2 diabetes1

Individualization of treatment

  • Recommendations should be considered within the context of a patient's needs, preferences, and tolerances

Several patient-specific factors should be considered, including:

  • Patient attitude and expected treatment efforts
  • Risks potentially associated with hypoglycemia or other adverse events
  • Disease duration
  • Life expectancy
  • Comorbidities

ADA/EASD General Recommendations for Choosing Antihyperglycemic Therapy in Type 2 Diabetes

American Diabetes Association Diabetes Care, American Diabetes Association, 2015. Copyright and all rights reserved. Material from this publication has been used with the permission of American Diabetes Association.

Antihyperglycemic therapy in type 2 diabetes: general recommendations. Potential sequences of antihyperglycemic therapy for patients with type 2 diabetes are displayed, the usual transition being vertical, from top to bottom (although horizontal movement within therapy stages is also possible, depending on the circumstances). In most patients, begin with lifestyle changes; metformin monotherapy is added at, or soon after, diagnosis, unless there are contraindications. If the A1C target is not achieved after approximately 3 months, consider 1 of the 6 treatment options combined with metformin: an SU, TZD, DPP-4-i, SGLT2-i, GLP-1-RA, or basal insulin. (The order in the chart, not meant to denote any specific preference, was determined by the historical availability of the class and route of administration, with injectables to the right and insulin to the far right.) Drug choice is based on patient preferences as well as various patient, disease, and drug characteristics, with the goal being to reduce glucose concentrations while minimizing side effects, especially hypoglycemia. The figure emphasizes drugs in common use in the U.S. and/or Europe. Rapid-acting secretagogues (meglitinides) may be used in place of SUs in patients with irregular meal schedules or who develop late postprandial hypoglycemia on an SU. Other drugs not shown (α-glucosidase inhibitors, colesevelam, bromocriptine, pramlintide) may be tried in specific situations (where available), but are generally not favored because of their modest efficacy, the frequency of administration, and/or limiting side effects. In patients intolerant of, or with contraindications for, metformin, consider initial drug from other classes depicted under "Dual therapy" and proceed accordingly. In this circumstance, while published trials are generally lacking, it is reasonable to consider 3-drug combinations that do not include metformin. Consider initiating therapy with a dual combination when A1C is ≥9% (≥75 mmol/mol) to more expeditiously achieve target. Insulin has the advantage of being effective where other agents may not be and should be considered a part of any combination regimen when hyperglycemia is severe, especially if the patient is symptomatic or if any catabolic features (weight loss, any ketosis) are evident. Consider initiating combination injectable therapy with insulin when blood glucose is ≥300–350 mg/dL (≥16.7–19.4 mmol/L) and/or A1C ≥10%–12% (≥86–108 mmol/mol). Potentially, as the patient’s glucose toxicity resolves, the regimen can be subsequently simplified.

aConsider initial therapy at this stage when A1C is ≥9% (≥75 mmol/mol); bConsider initial therapy at this stage when blood glucose is ≥300–350 mg/dL (≥16.7–19.4 mmol/L) and/or A1C ≥10%–12% (≥86–108 mmol/mol), especially if patient is symptomatic or if catabolic features (weight loss, ketosis) are present, in which case basal insulin + mealtime insulin is the preferred initial regimen; cUsually a basal insulin (eg, NPH, glargine, detemir, degludec).

ADA = American Diabetes Association; EASD = European Association for the Study of Diabetes; SU = sulfonylurea; TZD = thiazolidinedione; DPP-4-i = dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor; SGLT2-i = sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor; GLP-1-RA = glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist; NPH = neutral protamine hagedorn.

Reference: 1. Inzucchi SE, Bergenstal RM, Buse JB, et al. Management of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes, 2015: a patient-centered approach: update to a position statement of the American Diabetes Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2015;38(1):140–149.

Important Information

JANUMET is indicated, as an adjunct to diet and exercise, to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus when treatment with both sitagliptin and metformin is appropriate.

JANUMET should not be used in patients with type 1 diabetes or for the treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis.

JANUMET has not been studied in patients with a history of pancreatitis. It is unknown whether patients with a history of pancreatitis are at increased risk of developing pancreatitis while taking JANUMET.

Selected Important Risk Information About JANUMET® (sitagliptin and metformin HCI) tablets

WARNING: LACTIC ACIDOSIS

Lactic acidosis is a rare but serious complication that can occur because of metformin accumulation. The risk increases with conditions such as sepsis, dehydration, excess alcohol intake, hepatic impairment, renal impairment, and acute congestive heart failure.

The onset is often subtle, accompanied only by nonspecific symptoms such as malaise, myalgias, respiratory distress, increasing somnolence, and nonspecific abdominal distress.

Laboratory abnormalities include low pH, increased anion gap, and elevated blood lactate.

If acidosis is suspected, JANUMET should be discontinued and the patient hospitalized immediately [see Warnings and Precautions].

JANUMET is contraindicated in patients with renal impairment (serum creatinine levels greater than or equal to 1.5 mg/dL for men and greater than or equal to 1.4 mg/dL for women or abnormal creatinine clearance); hypersensitivity to metformin hydrochloride; acute or chronic metabolic acidosis, including diabetic ketoacidosis; or history of a serious hypersensitivity reaction to JANUMET or sitagliptin (one of the components of JANUMET), such as anaphylaxis or angioedema.

Temporarily discontinue JANUMET in patients undergoing radiologic studies involving intravascular administration of iodinated contrast materials, because use of such products may result in acute alteration of renal function. Avoid use in patients with hepatic disease. Temporarily discontinue for intercurrent serious conditions, infection, or surgery.

There have been postmarketing reports of worsening renal function, including acute renal failure, sometimes requiring dialysis.

Before initiation of JANUMET and at least annually thereafter, renal function should be assessed and verified as normal. In patients in whom development of renal dysfunction is anticipated, particularly in elderly patients, renal function should be assessed more frequently and JANUMET discontinued if evidence of renal impairment is present.

When lactic acidosis occurs, it is fatal in approximately 50% of cases. The reported incidence of lactic acidosis in patients receiving metformin is very low (approximately 0.03 cases/1000 patient-years, with approximately 0.015 fatal cases/1000 patient-years). Reported cases have occurred primarily in diabetic patients with significant renal impairment, including both intrinsic renal disease and renal hypoperfusion, often in the setting of multiple concomitant medical/surgical problems and multiple concomitant medications.

Patients with congestive heart failure requiring pharmacologic management, in particular those with unstable or acute congestive heart failure who are at risk of hypoperfusion and hypoxemia, are at increased risk of lactic acidosis. The risk of lactic acidosis increases with the degree of renal dysfunction and the patient’s age. The risk of lactic acidosis may, therefore, be significantly decreased by regular monitoring of renal function in patients taking metformin and by use of the minimum effective dose of metformin. In particular, treatment of the elderly should be accompanied by careful monitoring of renal function. Metformin treatment should not be initiated in patients ≥80 years of age unless measurement of creatinine clearance demonstrates that renal function is not reduced, as these patients are more susceptible to developing lactic acidosis. In addition, metformin should be promptly withheld in the presence of any condition associated with hypoxemia, dehydration, or sepsis.

There have been postmarketing reports of acute pancreatitis, including fatal and nonfatal hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis, in patients taking JANUMET. After initiating JANUMET, observe patients carefully for signs and symptoms of pancreatitis. If pancreatitis is suspected, promptly discontinue JANUMET and initiate appropriate management. It is unknown whether patients with a history of pancreatitis are at increased risk of developing pancreatitis while taking JANUMET.

Alcohol is known to potentiate the effect of metformin on lactate metabolism. Patients, therefore, should be warned against excessive alcohol intake, acute or chronic, when receiving JANUMET.

Intravascular contrast studies with iodinated materials can lead to acute alteration of renal function and have been associated with lactic acidosis in patients receiving metformin. Therefore, in patients in whom any such study is planned, JANUMET should be temporarily discontinued at the time of or before the procedure, withheld for 48 hours subsequent to the procedure, and reinstituted only after renal function has been re-evaluated and found to be normal.

There have been no clinical studies establishing conclusive evidence of macrovascular risk reduction with JANUMET or any other antidiabetic drug.

Use With Medications Known to Cause Hypoglycemia
Sitagliptin

When sitagliptin was used in combination with a sulfonylurea or insulin, medications known to cause hypoglycemia, the incidence of hypoglycemia was increased over that of placebo used in combination with a sulfonylurea or insulin. Therefore, patients also receiving insulin or an insulin secretagogue (eg, sulfonylurea) may require a lower dose of insulin or the insulin secretagogue to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia.

The incidence (and rate) of hypoglycemia based on all reports of symptomatic hypoglycemia were: 16.4% (0.82 episodes/patient-year) for sitagliptin 100 mg in combination with metformin and glimepiride, 0.9% (0.02 episodes/patient-year) for placebo in combination with metformin and glimepiride, 8.2% (0.61 episodes/patient-year) for placebo in combination with metformin and insulin, and 15.3% (0.98 episodes/patient-year) for sitagliptin in combination with metformin and insulin.

Adverse reactions with sitagliptin in combination with metformin and rosiglitazone through Week 18 were: upper respiratory tract infection (sitagliptin, 5.5%; placebo, 5.2%) and nasopharyngitis (6.1%, 4.1%). Through Week 54 they were: upper respiratory tract infection (sitagliptin, 15.5%; placebo, 6.2%), nasopharyngitis (11.0%, 9.3%), peripheral edema (8.3%, 5.2%), and headache (5.5%, 4.1%).

Metformin hydrochloride

Hypoglycemia does not occur in patients receiving metformin alone under usual circumstances of use but could occur when caloric intake is deficient, when strenuous exercise is not compensated by caloric supplementation, or during concomitant use with other glucose-lowering agents (such as sulfonylureas and insulin) or ethanol. Elderly, debilitated, or malnourished patients and those with adrenal or pituitary insufficiency or alcohol intoxication are particularly susceptible to hypoglycemic effects.

There have been postmarketing reports of serious hypersensitivity reactions in patients treated with sitagliptin, one of the components of JANUMET, such as anaphylaxis, angioedema, and exfoliative skin conditions including Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Onset of these reactions occurred within the first 3 months after initiation of treatment with sitagliptin, with some reports occurring after the first dose. If a hypersensitivity reaction is suspected, discontinue JANUMET, assess for other potential causes for the event, and institute alternative treatment for diabetes.

Angioedema has also been reported with other dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. Use caution in a patient with a history of angioedema to another DPP-4 inhibitor because it is unknown whether such patients will be predisposed to angioedema with JANUMET.

There have been postmarketing reports of severe and disabling arthralgia in patients taking DPP-4 inhibitors. The time to onset of symptoms following initiation of drug therapy varied from 1 day to years. Patients experienced relief of symptoms upon discontinuation of the medication. A subset of patients experienced a recurrence of symptoms when restarting the same drug or a different DPP-4 inhibitor. Consider DPP-4 inhibitors as a possible cause for severe joint pain and discontinue drug if appropriate.

In clinical studies, the most common adverse reactions reported, regardless of investigator assessment of causality, in ≥5% of patients treated with either sitagliptin in combination with metformin or placebo were as follows: diarrhea (7.5% vs 4.0%), upper respiratory tract infection (6.2% vs 5.1%), and headache (5.9% vs 2.8%). In patients treated with sitagliptin in combination with metformin and sulfonylurea or placebo in combination with metformin and sulfonylurea: hypoglycemia (16.4% vs 0.9%) and headache (6.9% vs 2.7%). In patients treated with sitagliptin in combination with metformin and insulin or placebo in combination with metformin and insulin: hypoglycemia (15.3% vs 8.2%). Other adverse events with an incidence of ≥5% included nasopharyngitis for sitagliptin monotherapy and diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, flatulence, abdominal discomfort, indigestion, asthenia, and headache for metformin therapy.

Before prescribing JANUMET® (sitagliptin and metformin HCl) tablets, please read the accompanying Prescribing Information, including the Boxed Warning about lactic acidosis. The Medication Guide also is available.

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Selected Important Risk Information About JANUMET® (sitagliptin and metformin HCI) tablets

WARNING: LACTIC ACIDOSIS

Lactic acidosis is a rare but serious complication that can occur because of metformin accumulation. The risk increases with conditions such as sepsis, dehydration, excess alcohol intake, hepatic impairment, renal impairment, and acute congestive heart failure.

The onset is often subtle, accompanied only by nonspecific symptoms such as malaise, myalgias, respiratory distress, increasing somnolence, and nonspecific abdominal distress.

Laboratory abnormalities include low pH, increased anion gap, and elevated blood lactate.

If acidosis is suspected, JANUMET should be discontinued and the patient hospitalized immediately [see Warnings and Precautions].

JANUMET is contraindicated in patients with renal impairment (serum creatinine levels greater than or equal to 1.5 mg/dL for men and greater than or equal to 1.4 mg/dL for women or abnormal creatinine clearance); hypersensitivity to metformin hydrochloride; acute or chronic metabolic acidosis, including diabetic ketoacidosis; or history of a serious hypersensitivity reaction to JANUMET or sitagliptin (one of the components of JANUMET), such as anaphylaxis or angioedema.

Temporarily discontinue JANUMET in patients undergoing radiologic studies involving intravascular administration of iodinated contrast materials, because use of such products may result in acute alteration of renal function. Avoid use in patients with hepatic disease. Temporarily discontinue for intercurrent serious conditions, infection, or surgery.

There have been postmarketing reports of worsening renal function, including acute renal failure, sometimes requiring dialysis.

Before initiation of JANUMET and at least annually thereafter, renal function should be assessed and verified as normal. In patients in whom development of renal dysfunction is anticipated, particularly in elderly patients, renal function should be assessed more frequently and JANUMET discontinued if evidence of renal impairment is present.

When lactic acidosis occurs, it is fatal in approximately 50% of cases. The reported incidence of lactic acidosis in patients receiving metformin is very low (approximately 0.03 cases/1000 patient-years, with approximately 0.015 fatal cases/1000 patient-years). Reported cases have occurred primarily in diabetic patients with significant renal impairment, including both intrinsic renal disease and renal hypoperfusion, often in the setting of multiple concomitant medical/surgical problems and multiple concomitant medications.

Patients with congestive heart failure requiring pharmacologic management, in particular those with unstable or acute congestive heart failure who are at risk of hypoperfusion and hypoxemia, are at increased risk of lactic acidosis. The risk of lactic acidosis increases with the degree of renal dysfunction and the patient’s age. The risk of lactic acidosis may, therefore, be significantly decreased by regular monitoring of renal function in patients taking metformin and by use of the minimum effective dose of metformin. In particular, treatment of the elderly should be accompanied by careful monitoring of renal function. Metformin treatment should not be initiated in patients ≥80 years of age unless measurement of creatinine clearance demonstrates that renal function is not reduced, as these patients are more susceptible to developing lactic acidosis. In addition, metformin should be promptly withheld in the presence of any condition associated with hypoxemia, dehydration, or sepsis.

There have been postmarketing reports of acute pancreatitis, including fatal and nonfatal hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis, in patients taking JANUMET. After initiating JANUMET, observe patients carefully for signs and symptoms of pancreatitis. If pancreatitis is suspected, promptly discontinue JANUMET and initiate appropriate management. It is unknown whether patients with a history of pancreatitis are at increased risk of developing pancreatitis while taking JANUMET.

Alcohol is known to potentiate the effect of metformin on lactate metabolism. Patients, therefore, should be warned against excessive alcohol intake, acute or chronic, when receiving JANUMET.

Intravascular contrast studies with iodinated materials can lead to acute alteration of renal function and have been associated with lactic acidosis in patients receiving metformin. Therefore, in patients in whom any such study is planned, JANUMET should be temporarily discontinued at the time of or before the procedure, withheld for 48 hours subsequent to the procedure, and reinstituted only after renal function has been re-evaluated and found to be normal.

There have been no clinical studies establishing conclusive evidence of macrovascular risk reduction with JANUMET or any other antidiabetic drug.

Use With Medications Known to Cause Hypoglycemia
Sitagliptin

When sitagliptin was used in combination with a sulfonylurea or insulin, medications known to cause hypoglycemia, the incidence of hypoglycemia was increased over that of placebo used in combination with a sulfonylurea or insulin. Therefore, patients also receiving insulin or an insulin secretagogue (eg, sulfonylurea) may require a lower dose of insulin or the insulin secretagogue to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia.

The incidence (and rate) of hypoglycemia based on all reports of symptomatic hypoglycemia were: 16.4% (0.82 episodes/patient-year) for sitagliptin 100 mg in combination with metformin and glimepiride, 0.9% (0.02 episodes/patient-year) for placebo in combination with metformin and glimepiride, 8.2% (0.61 episodes/patient-year) for placebo in combination with metformin and insulin, and 15.3% (0.98 episodes/patient-year) for sitagliptin in combination with metformin and insulin.

Adverse reactions with sitagliptin in combination with metformin and rosiglitazone through Week 18 were: upper respiratory tract infection (sitagliptin, 5.5%; placebo, 5.2%) and nasopharyngitis (6.1%, 4.1%). Through Week 54 they were: upper respiratory tract infection (sitagliptin, 15.5%; placebo, 6.2%), nasopharyngitis (11.0%, 9.3%), peripheral edema (8.3%, 5.2%), and headache (5.5%, 4.1%).

Metformin hydrochloride

Hypoglycemia does not occur in patients receiving metformin alone under usual circumstances of use but could occur when caloric intake is deficient, when strenuous exercise is not compensated by caloric supplementation, or during concomitant use with other glucose-lowering agents (such as sulfonylureas and insulin) or ethanol. Elderly, debilitated, or malnourished patients and those with adrenal or pituitary insufficiency or alcohol intoxication are particularly susceptible to hypoglycemic effects.

There have been postmarketing reports of serious hypersensitivity reactions in patients treated with sitagliptin, one of the components of JANUMET, such as anaphylaxis, angioedema, and exfoliative skin conditions including Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Onset of these reactions occurred within the first 3 months after initiation of treatment with sitagliptin, with some reports occurring after the first dose. If a hypersensitivity reaction is suspected, discontinue JANUMET, assess for other potential causes for the event, and institute alternative treatment for diabetes.

Angioedema has also been reported with other dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. Use caution in a patient with a history of angioedema to another DPP-4 inhibitor because it is unknown whether such patients will be predisposed to angioedema with JANUMET.

There have been postmarketing reports of severe and disabling arthralgia in patients taking DPP-4 inhibitors. The time to onset of symptoms following initiation of drug therapy varied from 1 day to years. Patients experienced relief of symptoms upon discontinuation of the medication. A subset of patients experienced a recurrence of symptoms when restarting the same drug or a different DPP-4 inhibitor. Consider DPP-4 inhibitors as a possible cause for severe joint pain and discontinue drug if appropriate.

In clinical studies, the most common adverse reactions reported, regardless of investigator assessment of causality, in ≥5% of patients treated with either sitagliptin in combination with metformin or placebo were as follows: diarrhea (7.5% vs 4.0%), upper respiratory tract infection (6.2% vs 5.1%), and headache (5.9% vs 2.8%). In patients treated with sitagliptin in combination with metformin and sulfonylurea or placebo in combination with metformin and sulfonylurea: hypoglycemia (16.4% vs 0.9%) and headache (6.9% vs 2.7%). In patients treated with sitagliptin in combination with metformin and insulin or placebo in combination with metformin and insulin: hypoglycemia (15.3% vs 8.2%). Other adverse events with an incidence of ≥5% included nasopharyngitis for sitagliptin monotherapy and diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, flatulence, abdominal discomfort, indigestion, asthenia, and headache for metformin therapy.

Before prescribing JANUMET® (sitagliptin and metformin HCl) tablets, please read the accompanying Prescribing Information, including the Boxed Warning about lactic acidosis. The Medication Guide also is available.