Combine and conquer: advantages and disadvantages of fixed-dose combination therapy

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The majority of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) do not achieve the glycaemic goals recommended by leading diabetes organizations using monotherapy alone, and often require multiple antihyperglycaemic agents to achieve glycaemic control. Fixed-dose combination (FDC) therapies offer a means to simplify complex treatment regimens, and have several advantages that help patients reach their glycaemic goals. In this review, four key benefits are identified and discussed in support of FDCs for treatment of patients with T2DM: (i) Greater efficacy compared with higher dose monotherapy, (ii) Reduced risk of adverse reactions relative to higher dose monotherapy, (iii) Lower overall costs and (iv) Improved medication concordance. Given these advantages, the place of fixed combination therapy in the course of treatment is discussed. Establishing a therapeutic strategy that incorporates fixed combination therapy (including combinations with insulin) will simplify the treatment of diabetes, ideally resulting in improved medication concordance, clinical outcomes and quality of life for patients with T2DM.

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