Add-on therapies to metformin for type 2 diabetes

Mansur Shomali

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Importance of the field: As of 2010, approximately 285 million people worldwide have diabetes; that number is estimated to increase to 439 million by 2030. The majority of these individuals (> 90%) have type 2 diabetes, a chronic and progressive disease. Areas covered in this review: Metformin monotherapy is a safe and effective option. However, its effects on glycemia are typically of limited durability. Progressive loss of β-cell function and failure of metformin monotherapy to control glucose adequately prompt the addition of other oral antidiabetic drugs, such as sulfonylureas and thiazolidinediones, which have their own limitations. Evidence suggests that incretin-based agents can successfully achieve glycemic control while potentially providing cardiovascular and β-cell-function benefits. What the reader will gain: Knowledge of the available clinical evidence on the incretin-based therapies and other pharmacotherapeutic options for patients with type 2 diabetes who fail first-line therapy with metformin, through an analysis of improved glycemic parameters and overall risk:benefit profiles. Take home message: Traditional oral antidiabetic agents, recommended as first- and second-line therapies in patients with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled with diet/exercise or monotherapy, have limited durability of effect and are associated with an increased risk of adverse events. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors provide glycemic control and are promising additions to the pharmacotherapeutic armamentarium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-62
Number of pages16
JournalExpert opinion on pharmacotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • DPP-4 inhibitors
  • Exenatide
  • GLP-1 receptor agonists
  • Liraglutide
  • Metformin
  • Saxagliptin
  • Sitagliptin
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Vildagliptin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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