Patients with type II diabetes will now have access to a new treatment option following the launch of Takeda's Vipidia (alogliptin) in the UK this week.

A member of the DPP-4 inhibitors class of drugs, Vipidia is indicated for the treatment of type II diabetes in adults aged 18 years and older to improve glycaemic control in combination with other glucose-lowering medicines such as insulin, when these, together with diet and exercise, are not beneficial enough.

DPP-4 inhibitors work by slowing the inactivation of incretin hormones, which basically enables the pancreas to secrete insulin in a glucose-dependent manner and thus help better control blood sugar levels.

Vipidia was cleared by European regulators last September (following the US in 2012 and Japan in 2010, where it is sold as Nesina), on the back of clinical data showing that adding the drug to metformin offered superior durability of blood sugar control at two years with notably fewer hypoglycaemic events and no negative impact on weight compared to the sulphonylurea glipizide.

Results also showed that when alogliptin was given in combination with metformin, significantly more patients achieve target HbA1c of _ 7% compared with an SU in combination with metformin.

Busy market but new options needed

While there are a number of DPP-4 inhibitors already on the UK market, a significant number of patients are still failing to meet blood sugar targets, experience hypoglycaemic episodes and remain at risk from complications associated with the condition such as cardiovascular disease, highlighting the need for more therapeutic options.

The most common side effects linked with the drug were found to be upper respiratory tract infection, nasopharyngitis, headache, abdominal pain, gastroeosophageal reflux (GERD), pruritus and rash.

But interestingly, Takeda notes that Vipidia is the first agent for the treatment of type 2 diabetes to be licensed in Europe with demonstrated cardiovascular safety outcomes data, showing that the drug is not linked with any related side effects.