Troglitazone: A Review of its Use in the Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Plosker, G.L.; Faulds, D.
March 1999
Drugs;Mar1999, Vol. 57 Issue 3, p409
Academic Journal
Troglitazone is the first of a new group of oral antidiabetic drugs, the thiazolidinediones, and is indicated for the treatment of patients with type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus. Troglitazone acts by enhancing the effects of insulin at peripheral target sites and, unlike the sulphonylurea drugs, is not associated with hypoglycaemia when administered as monotherapy. Clinical trials with troglitazone (usually 200 to 600 mg/day) in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus consistently showed marked improvement in glycaemic control, as well as reductions in fasting serum insulin, C-peptide and triglyceride levels. Comparative studies with either glibenclamide (glyburide) or metformin indicated similar glycaemic control with troglitazone or these agents. Serum insulin levels were lower with troglitazone than with glibenclamide. Clinical trials of up to approximately 2 years' duration showed that glycaemic control is maintained with troglitazone on a long term basis. In general, troglitazone is well tolerated by the majority of patients. However, discontinuation of troglitazone because of elevated liver enzyme levels occurs in approximately 2% of patients receiving the drug, and frequent monitoring of liver enzymes is required (e.g. at least 11 times during the first year of therapy). Among patients who started troglitazone therapy in 1998 (after the incorporation of a boxed warning and increased monitoring requirements in the product labelling), the estimated risk of liver-related death is approximately 1 in 100 000. Conclusions: Troglitazone improves the ability of target cells to respond to insulin. The drug has been shown to improve glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus when used as monotherapy or in combination with other oral antidiabetic drugs or insulin, and its efficacy is similar to that of glibenclamide or metformin. Although troglitazone is generally well tolerated, close monitoring of liver enzyme function is required to minimise the rare occurrence of serious hepatic dysfunction. Drug acquisition and liver function monitoring costs, as well as potential adverse effects, are important factors that may ultimately determine the precise place of troglitazone in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nevertheless, as the first member of a new class of oral antidiabetic agents, the thiazolidinediones, troglitazone offers an effective treatment option in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus through its action of improving insulin sensitivity.



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