New combination medications for type 2 diabetes
Monday, 23 December 2019
Many people living with type 2 diabetes have to take more than one medication. We take a look at the complex and evolving landscape of type 2 diabetes and the range of medications that have recently been listed on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS).
New medications mean that doctors have a broader range to offer their patients. This also is good news for consumers, as more combination medications become available it could mean less single medication tablets. This could mean a cost saving to you. Talk to your doctor about any potential opportunities available to combine your medications into one tablet.
In the last 12 months we have seen the addition of a new sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitor (SGLT2 inhibitors) called Ertugliflozin added to the list of PBS medications available for doctors to prescribe. Other drugs in this group include dapagliflozin and empagliflozin.
How they work
SGLT2 inhibitors help lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes by removing glucose from the body through the urine. Ertugliflozin is available as a single medication or in combination with other drugs.
The brand name of the drug ertugliflozin is called Steglatro. It is a single medication and is available as an oral tablet in 5 milligram (mg) and 15mg strength tablets. It is taken in the morning and can be taken with or without food. Ertugliflozin is generally considered to be well tolerated by older patients. Dehydration can be a side effect of this medication.
Ertugliflozin is available in a range of combination medications that work together to lower blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
For example, Steglujan is a combination medication of two drugs, ertugliflozin and sitagliptan (also known as Januvia). Sitagliptan belongs to a group of medications called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP4-inhibitors). It is available in combinations:
- Steglujan 5/100 – ertugliflozin 5mg, sitagliptin 100mg.
- Steglujan 15/100 – ertugliflozin 15mg, sitagliptin 100mg.
Another combination medication is Segluromet. It has two active drugs, they are ertugliflozin and metformin (also known as Diabex or Diaformin). Metformin is a common medication and belongs to a group of medications called biguanides. The recommended dose is one tablet, taken twice daily. Segluromet is available in combinations:
- Segluromet 2.5/500 – ertugliflozin 2.5mg, metformin 500mg
- Segluromet 2.5/1000 – ertugliflozin 2.5mg, metformin 1000mg
- Segluromet 7.5/500 – ertuglifozin 7.5mg, metformin 500mg.
- Segluromet 7.5/1000 – ertugliflozin 7.5mg, metformin 1000mg.
It is important to know if any of your medications are combinations of two or more active ingredients as it is easy to get confused and double up on medications. This could cause serious side effects such as hypoglycemia.
Remember to check in with your doctor or pharmacist about the medications you are taking to ensure you are taking the correct medications or to see if there are any combination medications that could deliver you a cost saving.
Words by Alison Crow