Incretin-based therapies including dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors and glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists are novel medications for type 2 diabetes management. Several studies have found cardioprotective effects of incretin-based therapies; however, it remains unclear whether there is any difference in heart failure (HF) risk between the two incretin-based therapies (DPP-4 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists). We aimed to assess the risk of hospitalization due to HF with the use of DPP-4 inhibitors compared to GLP-1 receptor agonists.
Using Truven Health Marketscan data, we conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients with type 2 diabetes, who were newly initiated on DPP-4 inhibitors or GLP-1 agonists. Follow-up continued from drug initiation until the first occurrence of: HF hospitalization (primary outcome), discontinuation of therapy (i.e. no fill for 7 days), switch to the comparator, end of enrollment, or end of study (December 2013). Cox proportional hazards models with propensity-score-matching were used to compare the risk of HF hospitalization between DPP-4 inhibitors and GLP-1 agonists.
A total of 321,606 propensity score-matched patients were included in the analysis (n = 160,803 for DPP-4 inhibitors; n = 160,803 for GLP-1 agonists). After adjusting for baseline characteristics and disease risk factors, the use of DPP-4 inhibitors was associated with a 14% decreased risk of HF hospitalization compared to GLP-1 agonists use [hazard ratio (HR), 0.86; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.83, 0.90]. The results were consistent in patients without baseline HF (HR, 0.85; 95% CI 0.82, 0.89), but the association was not statistically significant for patients with baseline HF (HR, 0.90; 95% CI 0.74, 1.07).
In this retrospective matched cohort of patients with type 2 diabetes, the use of DPP-4 inhibitors was associated with a reduced risk of HF hospitalization compared to GLP-1 agonists. However, the association was not statistically significant in patients who had HF prior to the use of DPP-4 inhibitors.