Incretin based drugs and risk of acute pancreatitis in patients with type 2 diabetes: cohort study

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Abstract

Objectives

To determine whether the use of incretin based drugs, compared with sulfonylureas, is associated with an increased risk of acute pancreatitis.

Design

Population based cohort study.

Setting

680 general practices in the United Kingdom contributing to the Clinical Practice Research Datalink.

Participants

From 1 January 2007 to 31 March 2012, 20 748 new users of incretin based drugs were compared with 51 712 users of sulfonylureas and followed up until 31 March 2013.

Main outcome measures

Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for acute pancreatitis in users of incretin based drugs compared with users of sulfonylureas. Models were adjusted for tenths of high dimensional propensity score (hdPS).

Results

The crude incidence rate for acute pancreatitis was 1.45 per 1000 patients per year (95% confidence interval 0.99 to 2.11) for incretin based drug users and 1.47 (1.23 to 1.76) for sulfonylurea users. The rate of acute pancreatitis associated with the use of incretin based drugs was not increased (hdPS adjusted hazard ratio: 1.00, 95% confidence interval 0.59 to 1.70) relative to sulfonylurea use.

Conclusions

Compared with use of sulfonylureas, the use of incretin based drugs is not associated with an increased risk of acute pancreatitis. While this study is reassuring, it does not preclude a modest increased risk, and thus additional studies are needed to confirm these findings.

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