The drug combination of dapagliflozin and exenatide continues to stay effective without a loss of effect after 2 years of continual use in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D), according to researchers at Thomas Jefferson University.

“Many therapies in diabetes management are short-lived, which is why it’s useful to test for long-term effect,” said senior author Serge Jabbour, MD, director of the division of endocrinology and the Diabetes Center at Thomas Jefferson University, in a press release. “Our study showed that a combo regimen of dapagliflozin and exenatide continued to control patients’ glucose for over two years. This is a very encouraging.”

A total of 695 adults whose T2D was not controlled with metformin were randomly assigned to 3 study groups, with 1 group receiving weekly exenatide injections in addition to metformin. A second group took daily dapagliflozin pills in addition to metformin, and a third group received both drugs together. The study was an extension of the pivotal DURATION-8 trial, meaning that patients were given the option to continue in the trial longer.

Dapagliflozin belongs to a class of drugs, sodium–glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors, that cause excess glucose to be excreted in the urine. With this, exenatide belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, which enhance glucose-dependent insulin secretion, lower hepatic glucose output, slow gastric emptying, and increase satiety. When combined, the 2 drugs promote and maintain better glucose control and produce additive weight loss and improve blood pressure.

The results found that the group of patients receiving both drugs had better glycemic control than patients receiving just 1 of the drugs, demonstrating that the effect was stable for the duration of the extended 2-year study period. Further, the study showed a clinically relevant reduction in weight and blood pressure, measures that can contribute to T2D and overall health.

No unexpected safety concerns related to the drug combination were observed in the study participants, according to the study.

“These two classes work synergistically to help control a type 2 diabetes patient’s glucose levels, and other measures associated with diabetes,” Jabbour said in a press release. “We can now feel more confident about prescribing these medications long term.”

Combo-drug treatment for type 2 diabetes remains effective after 2 years. Jefferson Health. Published November 2, 2020. Accessed November 4, 2020.