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Clin Pharmacokinet. 2015 Jan;54(1):1-21. doi: 10.1007/s40262-014-0198-2.

Pharmacokinetics and clinical use of incretin-based therapies in patients with chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.

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Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Medicines (CIRM), University of Liège, Liège, Belgium,


The prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) of stages 3-5 (glomerular filtration rate [GFR] <60 mL/min) is about 25-30 % in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). While most oral antidiabetic agents have limitations in patients with CKD, incretin-based therapies are increasingly used for the management of T2DM. This review analyses (1) the influence of CKD on the pharmacokinetics of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists; and (2) the efficacy/safety profile of these agents in clinical practice when prescribed in patients with both T2DM and CKD. Most DPP-4 inhibitors (sitagliptin, vildagliptin, saxagliptin, alogliptin) are predominantly excreted by the kidneys. Thereby, pharmacokinetic studies showed that total exposure to the drug is increased in proportion to the decline of GFR, leading to recommendations for appropriate dose reductions according to the severity of CKD. In these conditions, clinical studies reported a good efficacy and safety profile in patients with CKD. In contrast, linagliptin is eliminated by a predominantly hepatobiliary route. As a pharmacokinetic study showed only minimal influence of decreased GFR on total exposure, no dose adjustment of linagliptin is required in the case of CKD. The experience with GLP-1 receptor agonists in patients with CKD is more limited. Exenatide is eliminated by renal mechanisms and should not be given in patients with severe CKD. Liraglutide is not eliminated by the kidney, but it should be used with caution because of the limited experience in patients with CKD. Only limited pharmacokinetic data are also available for lixisenatide, exenatide long-acting release (LAR) and other once-weekly GLP-1 receptor agonists in current development. Several case reports of acute renal failure have been described with GLP-1 receptor agonists, probably triggered by dehydration resulting from gastrointestinal adverse events. However, increasing GLP-1 may also exert favourable renal effects that could contribute to reducing the risk of diabetic nephropathy. In conclusion, the already large reassuring experience with DPP-4 inhibitors in patients with CKD offers new opportunities to the clinician, whereas more caution is required with GLP-1 receptor agonists because of the limited experience in this population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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