The Case for Combination Therapy as First-Line Treatment for the Type 2 Diabetic Patient
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The glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) goal in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus should be to achieve as low a value as can be obtained without causing significant or frequent hypoglycemia. This is best achieved by utilizing agents that lower glucose levels without causing hypoglycemia (thiazolidinediones and metformin). To maintain these low HbA1c values and avoid the utilization of insulin secretagogues or insulin, which are associated with hypoglycemia and suboptimal dosing leading to higher HbA1c values, drugs that maintain or improve pancreatic β-cell function (thiazolidinediones and possibly incretin-based therapies) should be utilized. Restoration of first-phase insulin release, as has been shown with thiazolidinediones, will not only improve postprandial hyperglycemia but will also improve postprandial hyperlipidemia, both of which will decrease cardiac risk. Utilizing small doses of two drugs will also result in a decreased incidence of adverse effects compared with a large dose of a single drug. The use of fixed-dose combination oral antihyperglycemics will not only improve compliance but will often decrease costs compared with individual component dual therapy.
KeywordsMetformin Rosiglitazone Acarbose Exenatide Severe Hypoglycemia
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