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Diabetes Obes Metab. 2011 Jul;13(7):653-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2011.01391.x.

Efficacy and safety of initial combination therapy with linagliptin and pioglitazone in patients with inadequately controlled type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

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Endocrinology and Diabetes Service, Idibaps, Ciberdem, Hospital Clínic Villarroel, Barcelona, Spain.



To compare the efficacy, safety and tolerability of linagliptin or placebo administered for 24 weeks in combination with pioglitazone in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) exhibiting insufficient glycaemic control (HbA1c 7.5-11.0%).


Patients were randomized to receive the initial combination of 30 mg pioglitazone plus 5 mg linagliptin (n = 259) or pioglitazone plus placebo (n = 130), all once daily. The primary endpoint was change from baseline in HbA1c after 24 weeks of treatment, adjusted for baseline HbA1c and prior antidiabetes medication.


After 24 weeks of treatment, the adjusted mean change (±s.e.) in HbA1c with the initial combination of linagliptin plus pioglitazone was -1.06% (±0.06), compared with -0.56% (±0.09) for placebo plus pioglitazone. The difference in adjusted mean HbA1c in the linagliptin group compared with placebo was -0.51% (95% confidence interval [CI] -0.71, -0.30; p < 0.0001). Reductions in fasting plasma glucose (FPG) were significantly greater for linagliptin plus pioglitazone than with placebo plus pioglitazone; -1.8 and -1.0 mmol/l, respectively, equating to a treatment difference of -0.8 mmol/l (95% CI -1.2, -0.4; p < 0.0001). Patients taking linagliptin plus pioglitazone, compared with those receiving placebo plus pioglitazone, were more likely to achieve HbA1c of <7.0% (42.9 vs. 30.5%, respectively; p = 0.0051) and reduction in HbA1c of ≥0.5% (75.0 vs. 50.8%, respectively; p < 0.0001). β-cell function, exemplified by the ratio of relative change in adjusted mean HOMA-IR and disposition index, improved. The proportion of patients that experienced at least one adverse event was similar for both groups. Hypoglycaemic episodes (all mild) occurred in 1.2% of the linagliptin plus pioglitazone patients and none in the placebo plus pioglitazone group.


Initial combination therapy with linagliptin plus pioglitazone was well tolerated and produced significant and clinically meaningful improvements in glycaemic control. This combination may offer a valuable additive initial treatment option for T2DM, particularly where metformin either is not well tolerated or is contraindicated, such as in patients with renal impairment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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