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Two-drug combo more effective at lowering blood sugar in diabetes patients

Prescribing metformin and vildagliptin to people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes reduced their long-term blood sugar levels more than single-drug therapy in a recent study.

By Tauren Dyson
Two-drug combo more effective at lowering blood sugar in diabetes patients
Prescribing metformin and vildagliptin to people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can maintain long-term blood sugar levels better than single-drug therapy. File Photo by Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- When it comes to controlling early symptoms of type 2 diabetes, two drugs are better than one, a new study says.

Prescribing metformin and vildagliptin to people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes reduced their long-term blood sugar levels more than single-drug therapy, according to findings published Wednesday in The Lancet. The patients also had lower rates of treatment failure than those who only used Metformin, the current first-line drug used by new type 2 diabetics.

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"The findings of VERIFY support and emphasize the importance of achieving and maintaining early glycaemic control," the authors wrote.

The VERIFY study was also presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Barcelona.

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Researchers recruited 2,001 patients in 254 medical centers in 34 countries, randomizing 998 to receive the early combination therapy and 1,003 who only received metformin.

Some patients took a combination therapy of one daily dose of between 1,000 and 2,000 milligrams of metformin and a twice-daily dose of 50 milligrams of vildagliptin. The monotherapy group took the same daily dosage of metformin and placebo twice a day.

The patients had their HbA1c blood sugar levels monitored every 13 weeks.

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Anyone in the monotherapy group whose HbA1c levels rose above 53 mmol/mol during two consecutive monitoring sessions had a treatment failure. They were then prescribed the combination therapy.

Those in the early combination therapy group whose levels went above 53 mmol/mol just continued the regime.

Nearly 44 percent of patients in the early combination group had treatment failure versus more than 62 percent of patients in the monotherapy group.

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If either group had another failure after two more monitoring sessions, they were placed on insulin treatment.

The early combination group had half the likelihood of losing blood sugar control than the monotherapy group. They also had a 26 percent lower risk of having HbA1c levels above 53 mmol/mol than the group moved from monotherapy to combination therapy after first treatment failure.

"Early intervention with a combination therapy strategy provides greater and durable long-term benefits compared with the current standard-of-care monotherapy with metformin for patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes," the authors wrote.

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