Use of incretin-based drugs was not associated with an increased risk of acute pancreatitis vs. other oral antidiabetics, results from a large, international study showed. Findings from the study are published in JAMA Internal Medicine. 

The link between incretin-based drugs, such as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists and dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, has been a controversial topic. A team of Canadian researchers conducted a multicenter, population-based cohort study to assess whether the use of incretin-based drugs was associated with a higher risk of acute pancreatitis vs. 2 or more other oral antidiabetic agents. Health records of 1,532,513 patients (3,464,659 person-years) with type 2 diabetes initiating antidiabetic drugs between January 1, 2007–June 30, 2013 were included. 

Related Articles

Case-control analyses were performed, including hospitalized patients with acute pancreatitis matched with up to 20 controls on sex, age, cohort entry date, duration of treated diabetes, and follow-up duration. Secondary analyses assessed whether this risk differed by class or by duration of use. 

During the total person-years of follow-up, 5,165 patients were hospitalized for acute pancreatitis (incidence rate [IR] 1.49 per 1,000 person-years). Current use of incretin-based drugs did not indicate an increased risk of acute pancreatitis compared with current use of 2 or more antidiabetic drugs (pooled adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.03, 95% CI: 0.87–1.22). 

Moreover, the risk did not vary based on drug class (DPP-4 inhibitors HR 1.09, 95% CI: 0.86–1.22 vs. GLP-1 agonists HR 1.04, 95% CI: 0.81–1.35). The study authors also found no evidence of a duration-response association.

For more information visit