Achieving and maintaining recommended glycemic targets without causing adverse e ffects, including hypoglycemia, is challenging, especially in older patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The introduction of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, more than 10 years ago, has provided an alternative to conventional medications for the intensification of glucose-lowering treatment after failure of metformin monotherapy, and therefore, marked an important advance in the management of T2DM. By prolonging the activity of incretin hormones, DPP-4 inhibitors induce insulin release and decrease glucagon secretion in a glucose-dependent manner. This results in a more physiologic glycemic control as compared to that ensured by insulin secretagogues (sulfonylureas and glinides). Overall, DPP-4 inhibitors have a favorable safety profile and can be used without dose adjustments in older adults and in patients with mild renal impairment; they have a neutral effect on body weight and do not cause hypoglycemia by themselves. Safety issues, reported mainly in post-marketing surveillance programs and including cardiovascular outcomes and the risk of acute pancreatitis, are being extensively investigated. The aim of this review is to discuss the impact of DPP-4 inhibitors on the treatment of T2DM, after 10 years of experience, with an emphasis on diabetes care in Italy. We will first describe T2DM treatment in Italy and then provide an overview of the main findings from randomized controlled trials, real-world studies and post-marketing surveillance programs with DPP-4 inhibitors.
- Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/drug therapy
- Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors/administration & dosage
- Hypoglycemic Agents/administration & dosage