First data verify value of early combination therapy in T2D

YOUR DOSE OF MEDICINE - Charles C. Chante MD - The Philippine Star

Upfront use of a dual combination of vildagliptin (Galvus) and metformin was associated with better and more durable glycemic control than metformin alone in patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes, according to findings reported at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Fewer patients treated with the combination than with metformin monotherapy experienced “treatment failure” (43.6% vs. 62.1%, respectively) during the initial study period. The time-to-treatment failure, which was defined as an hemoglobin A1c of at least 7% (53 mmol/L) or higher on two occasions 3 months apart, was estimated to be beyond the study’s duration, at 61·9 months, for the combination and a median of 36.1 months in the monotherapy group.

There was a significant (P less than .0001) 49% reduction in the relative risk for the time-to-initial-treatment failure in the early combination treatment group, compared with the monotherapy group, during the 5-year study period. The time-to-second-treatment failure was also longer in patients who received initial combination therapy (hazard ratio, 0.74; P less than .0001).

These results of the VERIFY (Vildagliptin Efficacy in Combination With Metformin for Early Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes) study, which were published simultaneously in the Lancet, provide the first real evidence to support the use of combination therapy rather than the current standard of metformin alone in the initial treatment of type 2 diabetes.

VERIFY was a phase 4, randomized, parallel-group study designed to compare the durability of glycemic control achieved with a combination of vildagliptin plus metformin or metformin alone in treatment-naive patients with type 2 diabetes.

A typical cohort of patients was included. Patients had to be aged between 18 and 70 years, have a body mass index of 22-40 kg/m2, and an hemoglobin A1c level of 6.5%-7.5%. This “rather narrow range” was decided “on purpose to really fulfill the idea of having newly diagnosed [type 2 diabetes]. In addition, patients had to have adequate renal function, have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the past 2 years, and be drug naive or have received no more than 4 weeks of metformin.

In all, 2,001 patients from 254 centers in 34 countries were included, with 998 randomized to initial treatment with vildagliptin and metformin and 1,003 to receive metformin alone after an initial run-in phase during which the dose of metformin was up-titrated from 500 to 1,500 mg/day. The study ran for 5 years, with treatment intensified if there was a loss of glycemic control at the discretion of the study investigators – first vildagliptin was added to patients taking metformin monotherapy, then insulin, if needed.

A similar percentage of patients in the early combination and initial monotherapy arms experienced an adverse event (83.5% vs. 83.2%, respectively), a serious adverse event (16.6% vs. 18.3%), a drug-related adverse event (15.9% vs. 14.3%), a severe adverse event (10.5% vs. 10.6%), and adverse events leading to discontinuation of treatment (4.1% vs. 5.3%) or death (13 vs. 9 patients). There was no difference in the change in body weight, and rates of hypoglycemia were 1.3% and 0.9%, respectively.

There were fewer absolute cumulative adjudicated events in the early combination arm, compared with the initial monotherapy arm (30 vs. 44, respectively), and the time to the first adjudicated macrovascular event favored early combination over initial monotherapy (2.4% vs. 3.3%; HR, 0.71). “There is a big caveat here. These are very small numbers and wide confidence intervals and the P value is .194.”


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