Sitagliptin: The DPP-4 inhibitors are a class of agents that act as incretin enhancers. By inhibiting the DPP-4 enzyme, Sitagliptin increases the levels of two known active incretin hormones, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). The incretins are part of an endogenous system involved in the physiologic regulation of glucose homeostasis. When blood glucose concentrations are normal or elevated, GLP-1 and GIP increase insulin synthesis and release from pancreatic beta cells. GLP-1 also lowers glucagon secretion from pancreatic alpha cells, leading to reduced hepatic glucose production. This mechanism is unlike the mechanism seen with sulfonylureas; sulfonylureas cause insulin release even when glucose levels are low, which can lead to sulfonylurea-induced hypoglycemia in patients with type ll diabetes and in normal subjects. Sitagliptin demonstrates high selectivity for DPP-4 and does not inhibit closely-related enzymes DPP-8 or DPP-9 at therapeutic concentrations.
Metformin is an antihyperglycemic agent which improves glucose tolerance in patients with type 2 diabetes, lowering both basal and postprandial plasma glucose. Metformin reduces hepatic glucose production by inhibiting gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis, and stimulates intracellular glycogen synthesis by acting on glycogen synthase. In muscle, it increases insulin sensitivity, improving peripheral glucose uptake and utilization. Metformin also delays intestinal glucose absorption. Unlike sulfonylureas, metformin does not produce hypoglycemia in either patients with type 2 diabetes or normal subjects and does not cause hyperinsulinemia. With metformin therapy, insulin secretion remains unchanged while fasting insulin levels and daylong plasma insulin response may actually decrease.