Changes in metformin use and other antihyperglycemic therapies after insulin initiation in patients with type 2 diabetes

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3 Scopus citations


Aims: When patients with type 2 diabetes initiate insulin, metformin should be continued while continuation of other antihyperglycemics has unclear benefit. We aimed to identify practice patterns in antihyperglycemic therapy during the insulin transition, and determine factors associated with metformin continuation. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of the Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes) trial which randomized overweight/obese adults under ambulatory care for type 2 diabetes to an intensive lifestyle intervention or diabetes support and education. Among the 931 participants who initiated insulin over ten years, we described longitudinal changes in antihyperglycemic medications during the insulin transition, and performed multivariable logistic regression to estimate the association between patient characteristics and metformin continuation. Results: Before insulin initiation, 81.0% of patients used multiple antihyperglycemics, the most common being metformin, sulfonylureas, and thiazolidinediones. After insulin initiation, metformin was continued in 80.3% of patients; other antihyperglycemics were continued less often, yet 58.0% of patients were treated with multiple non-insulin antihyperglycemics. Metformin continuation was inversely associated with age (fully adjusted (a) OR 0.60 per 10 years [0.42–0.86]), serum creatinine above safety thresholds (aOR 0.09 [0.02–0.36]), lower income (P = 0.025 for trend), taking more medications (aOR 0.92 per medication [0.86–0.98]), and initiating rapid, short, or premixed insulin (aOR 0.59 [0.39–0.89]). Conclusions: The vast majority of patients with type 2 diabetes continue metformin after insulin initiation, consistent with guidelines. Other antihyperglycemics are frequently continued along with insulin, and further research is needed to determine which, if any, patients may benefit from this.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-229
Number of pages9
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Diabetes mellitus, Type 2
  • Insulin/therapeutic use
  • Metformin/therapeutic use
  • Pharmacoepidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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