Repaglinide: A Pharmacoeconomic Review of its Use in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Greg L. Plosker
David P. Figgitt
Repaglinide (Prandin(R), NovoNorm(R), GlucoNorm(R)), an oral insulin secretagogue, was the first meglitinide analogue to become available for use in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The drug lowers postprandial glucose excursions by targeting early-phase insulin release, an effect thought to be important in reducing long-term cardiovascular complications of diabetes. Repaglinide provided similar overall glycaemic control to that achieved with glibenclamide (glyburide), as assessed by glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) and fasting blood glucose levels, and was generally well tolerated in well designed clinical trials. Its rapid onset and relatively short duration of action allow for flexible meal schedules. Two modelled US cost-effectiveness analyses projected lifetime costs and outcomes for a hypothetical cohort of patients with type 2 diabetes. Both analyses projected long-term complications using data on HbA1c level changes from short-term clinical trials. Repaglinide plus rosiglitazone was dominant over rosiglitazone in one analysis, and repaglinide plus metformin was dominant over nateglinide plus metformin in the other. A similar Canadian analysis showed a favourable incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (<$US1000 per QALY gained; 2001 values) for patients who switched from a sulphonylurea to repaglinide versus those who remained on sulphonylurea therapy. Long-term outcomes were projected using short-term clinical trial data on postprandial blood glucose level changes in the Canadian study. All three cost-effectiveness analyses are available as abstracts/posters. Two US cost analyses (both published in full) have also been conducted comparing the short-term costs (<=3 years) of repaglinide, with or without metformin, versus other oral antidiabetic regimens. Results of these analyses are somewhat equivocal because of study design issues and/or a lack of statistically significant differences between treatment groups. In conclusion, repaglinide as monotherapy or in combination with other antidiabetic agents, such as metformin or rosiglitazone, achieves good metabolic control, similar to that achieved with comparable glibenclamide regimens. Severe hypoglycaemic episodes are less common with repaglinide than some sulphonylureas, including glibenclamide. Modelled cost-effectiveness analyses conducted in North America showed favourable results for repaglinide-containing regimens versus comparators, largely attributed to projected reductions in long-term cardiovascular complications using short-term data on changes in glycaemic parameters from clinical trials. Results of these cost-effectiveness analyses (all of which have been published as abstracts/posters) should be interpreted with caution since various assumptions regarding long-term costs and outcomes were necessarily incorporated into the economic models. While repaglinide is a useful addition to the available treatment options in type 2 diabetes, potential long-term advantages versus other agents, such as reducing cardiovascular complications, require confirmation.
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