Authors: Dalal MR, Xie L, Baser O, DiGenio A.

Objective: To evaluate real-world outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) receiving basal insulin who initiate add-on therapy with a rapid-acting insulin (RAI) or a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist.

Methods: Data were extracted retrospectively from a U.S. health claims database. Adults with T2DM on basal insulin who added an RAI (basal + RAI) or GLP-1 receptor agonist (basal + GLP-1) were included. Propensity score matching (with a 1 up to 3 ratio) was used to control for differences in baseline demographics, clinical characteristics, and health resource utilization. Endpoints included prevalence of hypoglycemia, pancreatic events, all-cause and diabetes-related resource utilization, and costs at 1-year follow-up.

Results: Overall, 6,718 matched patients were included: 5,013 basal + RAI and 1,705 basal + GLP1. Patients in both groups experienced a similar proportion of any hypoglycemic event (P = .4079). Hypoglycemic events leading to hospitalization were higher in the basal + RAI cohort (2.7% vs. 1.8%; P = .0444). The basal + GLP-1 cohort experienced fewer all-cause (13.55% vs. 18.61%; P<.0001) and diabetes-related hospitalizations (11.79% vs. 15.68%; P<.0001). The basal + GLP-1 cohort had lower total all-cause health care costs ($18,413 vs. $20,821; P = .0002) but similar diabetes-related costs ($9,134 vs. $8,985; P<.0001) compared with the basal + RAI cohort.

Conclusions: Add-on therapy with a GLP-1 receptor agonist in T2DM patients receiving basal insulin was associated with fewer hospitalizations and lower total all-cause costs compared with add-on therapy using an RAI and could be considered as an alternative to an RAI in certain patients with T2DM who do not achieve effective glycemic control with basal insulin. (Endocr Pract. 2015; 21:68-76)

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