Patients with type II diabetes now have access to a new option for managing their blood glucose levels with the launch of Boehringer Ingelheim/Eli Lilly's new combination drug Jentadueto in the UK this week.

Jentadueto combines two antiglycaemic therapies - the veteran drug metformin with the dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP)-IV inhibitor Trajenta (linagliptin) - in a single pill, providing the opportunity for better treatment compliance by reducing the pill burden for patients.

"Compliance is a recurring problem for patients, especially those with comorbidities such as hypertension, dyslipidaemia, cardiovascular disease and depression, struggling to take a number of tablets everyday,” said GP Richard Brice, Chair of Whitstable Medical Practice, UK.

The combo won approval in Europe in July, specifically for use alongside diet and exercise to improve glycaemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes, who were failing to stay within the acceptable thresholds despite prior therapy.

Regulatory clearance came on the back of Phase III data showing that Jentadueto (2.5mg linagliptin/1000mg metformin twice daily) led to a statistically significant reduction in HbA1c of -1.7%, compared to -1.2% in the metformin (1000mg twice daily) group and -0.6% in those taking linagliptin (5mg once daily). 

A one-year extension study found that this benefit was sustained, with the combo providing HbA1c reductions of up to 1.63% from baseline over the combined 1.5 year period, the firms said.

Well tolerated?

The data also indicate that the therapy is generally well-tolerated, with the rate of hypoglycaemia at a similar rate to that observed in the metformin monotherapy arm (1.7% versus 2.4%) and, crucially, there were no observed associations with a change in body weight.

Jentadueto is priced at £33.26 per pack, the same cost as a pack to Trajenta, a spokesperson for the company told PharmaTimes UK News. 

The introduction of new therapies to treat diabetes is particularly important given that the prevalence of the disease is expected to surge over the coming years, placing an unprecedented burden on healthcare resources.

By 2030, it is predicted that over 5.5 million people in the UK will have diabetes, and if blood sugar levels are not kept in check there is a much higher risk of developing serious and costly associated complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness and kidney disease.