T2DM is a complex disease underlined by multiple pathogenic defects responsible for the development and progression of hyperglycaemia. Each of these factors can now be tackled in a more targeted manner thanks to glucose-lowering drugs that have been made available in the past 2 to 3 decades. Recognition of the multiplicity of the mechanisms underlying hyperglycaemia calls for treatments that address more than 1 of these mechanisms, with more emphasis placed on the earlier use of combination therapies. Although chronic hyperglycaemia contributes to and amplifies cardiovascular risk, several trials have failed to show a marked effect from intensive glycaemic control. During the past 10 years, the effect of specific glucose-lowering agents on cardiovascular risk has been explored with dedicated trials. Overall, the cardiovascular safety of the new glucose-lowering agents has been proven with some of the trials summarized in this review, showing significant reduction of cardiovascular risk. Against this background, pioglitazone, in addition to exerting a sustained glucose-lowering effect, also has ancillary metabolic actions of potential interest in addressing the cardiovascular risk of T2DM, such as preservation of beta-cell mass and function. As such, it seems a logical agent to combine with other oral anti-hyperglycaemic agents, including dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP4i). DPP4i, which may also have a potential to preserve beta-cell function, is available as a fixed-dose combination with pioglitazone, and could, potentially, attenuate some of the side effects of pioglitazone, particularly if a lower dose of the thiazolidinedione is used. This review critically discusses the potential for early combination of pioglitazone and DPP4i.
- cardiovascular outcomes
- type 2 diabetes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism