Exenatide twice daily versus glimepiride for prevention of glycaemic deterioration in patients with type 2 diabetes with metformin failure (EUREXA): an open-label, randomised controlled trial

Background

Glycaemic control deteriorates progressively over time in patients with type 2 diabetes. Options for treatment escalation remain controversial after failure of first-line treatment with metformin. We compared add-on exenatide with glimepiride for durability of glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes inadequately controlled by metformin alone.

Methods

We did an open-label, randomised controlled trial at 128 centres in 14 countries between Sept 5, 2006, and March 29, 2011. Patients aged 18—85 years with type 2 diabetes inadequately treated by metformin were randomly assigned via a computer-generated randomisation sequence to receive exenatide twice daily or glimepiride once daily as add-on to metformin. Randomisation was stratified by predetermined categories of glycated haemoglobin (HbA 1C ) concentration. The primary outcome was time to inadequate glycaemic control and need for alternative treatment, defined as an HbA 1c concentration of more than 9% after the first 3 months of treatment, or more than 7% at two consecutive visits after the first 6 months. Analysis was by intention to treat. This trial is registered with EudraCT, number 2005-005448-21, and ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT00359762 .

Findings

We randomly assigned 515 patients to the exenatide group and 514 to the glimepiride group, of whom 490 versus 487 were the intention-to-treat population. 203 (41%) patients had treatment failure in the exenatide group compared with 262 (54%) in the glimepiride group (risk difference 12·4 [95% CI 6·2—18·6], hazard ratio 0·748 [0·623—0·899]; p=0·002). 218 (44%) of 490 patients in the exenatide group, and 150 (31%) of 487 in the glimepiride group achieved an HbA 1c concentration of less than 7% (p<0·0001), and 140 (29%) versus 87 (18%) achieved concentrations of 6·5% and less (p=0·0001). We noted a significantly greater decrease in bodyweight in patients given exenatide than in those given glimepiride (p<0·0001). Five patients in each treatment group died from causes unrelated to treatment. Significantly fewer patients in the exenatide group than in the glimepiride group reported documented symptomatic (p<0·0001), nocturnal (p=0·007), and non-nocturnal (p<0·0001) hypoglycaemia. Discontinuation because of adverse events (mainly gastrointestinal) was significantly higher (p=0·0005) in the exenatide group than in the glimepiride group in the first 6 months of treatment, but not thereafter.

Interpretation

These findings provide evidence for the benefits of exenatide versus glimepiride for control of glycaemic deterioration in patients with type-2 diabetes inadequately controlled by metformin alone.

Funding

Eli Lilly and Company; Amylin Pharmaceuticals.

Source

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