Background: We aimed to evaluate whether patients with diabetes who use dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP)-4 inhibitors are at a higher risk of developing a herpes zoster (HZ) infection.
Methods: We used a subset of the Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2000 containing all inpatient and outpatient medical claims of ∼1 million people who were randomly sampled from the National Health Insurance Research Database. Patients who were newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM 250.x0 and 250.x2) who used antidiabetic medications were divided into two cohorts based on their use of DPP-4 inhibitors between 2009 and 2011. Cox proportion hazard regression models were used to assess the effects of DPP-4 inhibitors on the incidence of HZ compared with the non-DPP-4-inhibitor-exposed cohort.
Results: Patients in DPP-4-inhibitor-exposed cohort with diabetes and HZ infections revealed an incidence density of 4.20 per 1000 person-years compared with 3.50 per 1000 person-years for the non-DPP-4-inhibitor-exposed cohort (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] = 1.19, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.70–1.99). Furthermore, high-dose DPP-4-inhibitor treatment was associated with a significantly higher risk of HZ (adjusted HR = 2.46, 95% CI = 1.16–5.19 for a defined daily dose [DDD] ≥ 360). In addition, short-term DPP-4-inhibitor treatment was associated with a significantly higher risk of HZ (adjusted HR = 2.04, 95% CI = 1.03–4.04 for a DDD ≥ 360 days).
Conclusion: These results suggest that Asian patients with diabetes who use short-term DPP-4 inhibitors might be at a higher risk of developing HZ.