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Hypoglycemia associated with off-label sitagliptin use

Authors Whitley HP, Kelley K

Published 11 November 2008 Volume 2008:1 Pages 3—5


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

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Heather P Whitley1,2, Kristi Kelley1

1Department of Pharmacy Practice, Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy, Auburn, AL, USA; 2Department of Community and Rural Medicine, University of Alabama School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

Purpose: To describe a case of hypoglycemia induced by off-label use of sitagliptin in an adult patient with type 2 diabetes.

Case summary: Addition of sitagliptin to metformin, glimepiride, and NovoLog® 70/30 Mix induced hypoglycemia in a 55-year-old Caucasian female. Hypoglycemia improved, although still occurred periodically, following sulfonylurea discontinuation and a 28% insulin dose reduction. Hypoglycemic symptoms were absent during a 3-day dechallange but occurred again upon sitagliptin reinitiation.

Discussion: Although the mechanism of action of sitagliptin does not predispose patients to hypoglycemic events, when combined with hypoglycemia-inducing medications, eg, sulfonylureas or insulin, and possibly meglitinides, the incidence likely increases.

Conclusions: Caution should be used when combining sitagliptin with either sulfonylureas or insulin, and possibly meglitinides, for the treatment of type 2 diabetes as hypoglycemia may ensue. Hypoglycemia due to off-label combinations with insulin and sitagliptin may be prevented by reducing meal-time insulin doses. Prescribers and patients should vigilantly monitor for hypoglycemic events when using sitagliptin off-label with similar pharmacologic combinations such as meglitinides and other rapid-acting insulin products. Additionally, clinicians may encounter resistance from insurance companies to cover such off-label combinations.

Keywords: diabetes, DPP-IV inhibitor, sitagliptin, hypoglycemia, drug-induced, off-label

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