While several medications are already on the market to treat diabetes, not all patients have the desired control over their blood sugar levels. Alogliptin may offer a fresh option.
In January, the FDA approved the medication alogliptin (brand name Nesina) for treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes.
Recently, scientists reviewed 10 studies that evaluated the use of medication alone or in combination with other antidiabetic drugs.
Based on their review, investigators found alogliptin to be an effective therapy to control blood sugar levels.
Asres Berhan, MSc in clinical pharmacology and a researcher at Hawassa University College of Medicine and Health Sciences in Ethiopia, collaborated on the research with fellow scientist Yifru Berhan.
Their goal was to see how standard measures of blood sugar levels (HbA1c and FPG) were affected by alogliptin.
The 10 selected studies included 4,339 patients with type 2 diabetes—1,707 received 25 mg doses of alogliptin alone or as add-on; 1,311 received 12.5 mg doses of alogliptin alone or as add-on and the remaining 1,321 received placebo or other antidiabetic drugs with or without placebo.
Alogliptin is a DPP-4 inhibitor. DPP-4 inhibitors are a relatively new line of diabetes drug therapy introduced in 2006. There are already DPP-4 inhibitors on the market, such as Januvia. According to the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, these medications work by enhancing the effects of incretins. Incretins are gut hormones that boost the amount of insulin released after a meal. DPP-4 inhibitors like alogliptin prolong the effects of insulin release.
Insulin is produced by the pancreas to help the body use and store blood sugar (glucose) that the body gets from food. In a way, insulin opens up the doors to cells so they receive the glucose.
About 90 percent of people with diabetes have type 2. For these patients, the cells of the body no longer react to insulin as they should – a condition called insulin resistance.
Essentially, body cells in diabetes patients are not opening the doors when insulin comes knocking. About one out of three patients receive insulin shots to help their bodies use glucose for energy, according to NobelPrize.org. These patients need more insulin in the body to achieve target blood glucose levels.
After compiling data from 10 research works, the authors concluded that taking alogliptin alone or together with anti-diabetic metformin (brand names Glucophage, Glumetza, Fortamet, Riomet) or anti-diabetic pioglitazone (brand names Actos, Zactos, Glustin) significantly reduced HbA1c and FPG in patients with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes. HbA1c and FPG are both measures of blood sugar levels.
In addition to approving alogliptin in January, the FDA approved tablets combining alogliptin and metformin hydrochloride (brand name Kazano) and tablets combining alogliptin and pioglitazone (brand name Oseni).
All these medications were approved for use with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control.
“The effect of alogliptin on body weight change and its consistent efficacy and safety for longer duration of therapy needs further investigation,” concluded the authors.
The study was published March 1 in BMC Endocrine Disorders. The authors declared no competing interests.