Practice Update: Endocrinology (2023)

VOL. 1 • No. 1 • 2016

ISSN 2206-4656




PITUITARY, THYROID& ADRENALDISORDERS Adrenal gland tumours linked to ADHD diagnosis 4 DIABETES Starting with combination diabetes therapy beats initial monotherapy 6 CONFERENCE ADA 2016 10 Bariatric surgery reduces the incidence of retinopathy and nephropathy in obese patients with type 2 diabetes Food order impacts postprandial glucose and insulin excursions significantly A hybrid closed-loop system proves safe and e ective for home use in type 1 diabetes Metabolic syndrome in type 1 diabetes is a prelude to escalating costs and complications Studies designed to further understand the biology behind obesity are necessary to improve the treatment of this deleterious disease until we design public health policies to reverse part of the toxic environment. Dr Eric Ravussin & Dr Martica Heaner

Insulin degludec reduced hypoglycaemia vs U100 insulin glargine in separate trials in types 1 and 2 diabetes


In the two separate SWITCH 1 and 2 trials in types 1 and 2 diabetes, insulin degludec reduced hypoglycaemia vs insulin glargine U100. These results of the SWITCH 1 and 2 trials were reported at the 76th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, from June 10–14. 3

OBESITY Trends in obesity prevalence among

Long-term e ects of neighbourhood deprivation on diabetes risk The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology This is an interesting study design, and the results provide further evidence that socioeconomic factors are significant contributors to diabetes risk. 3

Liraglutide reduces CV outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes The New England Journal of Medicine Liraglutide appears to be superior to placebo for reducing events

Cardiovascular e ects of SGLT-2 inhibitors in type 2 diabetes The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology The available data provide a strong rationale to expect benefit from use of SGLT2 inhibitors in patients with type 2 diabetes at high risk of cardiovascular events . 8

Portion-controlled prepackaged foods promote weight loss Obesity Overweight and obese patients who followed meal plans that include portion-controlled prepackaged foods lost more weight and fat than those who followed meal plans involving self-selection of foods.

children and adolescents


Diet inclusive of healthy fats does not lead to weight gain

and deaths from cardiovascular causes in patients with type 2 diabetes.






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Insulin degludec reduced hypoglycaemia vs U100 insulin glargine in separate trials in types 1 and 2 diabetes

SWITCH 2 in type 2 diabetes Carol H. Wysham, MD, of the RockwoodClinic, Spokane, Washington, explained that SWITCH 2 was a randomised, 2 x 32-week, double-blind, treat-to-target crossover trial of insulin degludec vs insulin glargine U100 in patients with type 2 diabetes at high risk of hypoglycaemia. Adults (n=721) with type 2 diabetes were randomised 1:1 to once-daily insulin degludec/ insulin glargine U100 followed by crossover to insulin glargine/insulin degludec. Each treatment period was composed of a 16-week titration and 16-week maintenance period. Patients had been treated with basal insulin ± oral antidiabetic drugs excluding sulfonylurea/ meglitinides, and were at increased risk of devel- oping hypoglycaemia based on pretrial risk factors. The primary endpoint was the number of severe (requiring third-party assistance and ex- ternal adjudication) or blood glucose-confirmed (<3.11mmol/L) symptomatic hypoglycaemic events in the maintenance periods. Treatment with insulin degludec resulted in significantly lower rates of severe or confirmed symptomatic hypoglycaemia and severe or con- firmed symptomatic nocturnal hypoglycaemia (occurring 00:01–05:59) vs insulin glargine U100. The proportion of patients experiencing severe hypoglycaemia in the maintenance periods was 1.6% for insulin degludec vs 2.4% for insulin glargine U100 (difference not significant). Severe hypoglycaemia rates were significantly lower with insulin degludec than with insulin glargine U100 in the total treatment period. Haemoglobin A 1c reductions with insulin de- gludec were noninferior to insulin glargine U100. Adverse event rates were similar between insulin degludec and insulin glargine. Dr Wysham concluded that, compared to in- sulin glargine U100, insulin degludec resulted in a consistent reduction in hypoglycaemia in this cohort of patients with type 2 diabetes at high risk of hypoglycaemia.

EDITORIAL Managing Editor Anne Neilson Editor Carolyn Ng Designer Jana Sokolovskaja

Continued from page 1. SWITCH 1 in type 1 diabetes

maintenance and total treatment periods. Insulin degludec was superior to insulin glar- gine U100 in as much as a lower proportion of patients experienced severe hypoglycaemia during the maintenance and total treatment periods. Haemoglobin A 1c noninferiority of insulin de- gludec vs insulin glargine U100 was confirmed in both treatment periods (means, week 32: 6.95 vs 6.92%; week 64: 6.95 vs 6.97%). Adverse event rates were similar for insulin degludec vs insulin glargine U100. Dr Philis-Tsimikas concluded that, in this population of patients with type 1 diabetes, insulin degludec significantly reduced the rates and proportions of severe hypoglycaemia and the rates of blood glucose-confirmed symptomatic overall and nocturnal hypoglycaemia vs insulin glargine U100. She added, “It is very difficult to achieve a haemoglobin A 1c level consistently below 7% in a high-risk population with type 1 diabetes. Our study not only achieved that goal but demonstrat- ed lower rates of severe and symptomatic hypo- glycaemia as well. The results were remarkable”. type 1 diabetes. Our study not only achieved that goal but demonstrated lower rates of severe and symptomatic hypoglycaemia as well. The results were remarkable. It is very difficult to achieve a haemoglobin A1c level consistently below 7% in a high-risk population with

Athena Philis-Tsimikas, MD, of the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute, San Diego, Califor- nia, explained that SWITCH 1 was a 64-week, double-blind, treat-to-target crossover trial that randomised 501 adults with type 1 diabetes and at least one factor associated with increased risk of developing hypoglycaemia to once-daily insulin degludec or insulin glargine U100, both with mealtime insulin aspart for 32 weeks (16- week titration, 16-week maintenance), followed by crossover to insulin glargine U100 or insulin degludec for an additional 32 weeks with the same titration and maintenance schedule. Dr Philis-Tsimikas remarked, “I am so pleased that this was a randomised, double-blind design. This design is difficult to employ in trials of the newer insulins, but it provides a very strong meth- odology and clear insights into the differences between groups”. The primary objective was to confirm noninfe- riority in terms of the number of severe (requiring third-party aid, all externally adjudicated) or blood glucose-confirmed (<3.11 mmol/L) symptomatic hypoglycaemic episodes during the maintenance periods. Other endpoints included haemoglobin A 1c , fasting plasma glucose, and adverse events. Treatment with insulin degludec vs insulin glargine U100 resulted in significantly lower rates of severe or blood glucose-confirmed symp- tomatic hypoglycaemia, severe or blood glucose- confirmed symptomatic nocturnal hypoglycaemia (00:01–05:59), and severe hypoglycaemia for the

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Editor’s pick JOURNAL SCAN Long-term effects of neighbourhood deprivation on diabetes risk The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology Take-home message • The authors of this study used national data from a government-associated quasi-random assignment of refugees to various neighbourhoods in Sweden to evaluate the effects of socioeconomic deprivation on diabetes risk. They found that refugees assigned to higher deprivation areas had a higher risk of diabetes. • This is an interesting study design, and the results provide further evidence that socio- economic factors are significant contributors to diabetes risk.

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and assessing effects of cumulative exposure to different neighbourhood conditions. FINDINGS We included data for 61 386 refugees who arrived in Sweden during 1987–91 and who were assigned to one of 4833 neighbour- hoods. Being assigned to an area deemed high deprivation versus low deprivation was associ- ated with an increased risk of diabetes (odds ratio [OR] 1,22, 95% CI 1.07–1.38; P = 0.001). In analyses that included fixed effects for assigned municipality, the increased diabetes risk was estimated to be 0·85 percentage points (95% CI –0·030 to 1.728; P = 0.058). Neighbourhood effects grew over time such that 5 years of ad- ditional exposure to high-deprivation versus low-deprivation neighbourhoods was associ- ated with a 9% increase in diabetes risk. INTERPRETATION This study makes use of a pre- existing governmental natural experiment to show that neighbourhood deprivation increased the risk of diabetes in refugees in Sweden. This finding has heightened importance in the con- text of the current refugee crisis in Europe. Long-term effects of neighbourhood depriva- tion on diabetes risk: quasi-experimental evidence from a refugee dispersal policy in Sweden. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2016 Jun 01;4(6)517-524, JS White, R Hamad, X Li, et al.

BACKGROUND Although studies have shown as- sociations between neighbourhood quality and chronic disease outcomes, such associations are potentially confounded by the selection of differ- ent types of people into different neighbourhood environments. We sought to identify the causal effects of neighbourhood deprivation on type 2 diabetes risk, by comparing refugees in Sweden who were actively dispersed by government policy to low-deprivation, moderate-deprivation, or high-deprivation neighbourhoods. METHODS In this quasi-experimental study, we analysed national register data for refugees who arrived in Sweden aged 25–50 years, at a time when the government policy involved quasi-random dispersal of refugees to neigh- bourhoods with different levels of poverty and unemployment, schooling, and social welfare participation. Individuals in our sample were assigned to a neighbourhood categorised as high deprivation (≥1 SD above the mean), moder- ate deprivation (within 1 SD of the mean), or low deprivation (≥1 SD below the mean). The primary outcome was new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes between Jan 1, 2002, and Dec 31, 2010. We used multivariate logistic and linear regressions to as- sess the effects of neighbourhood deprivation on diabetes risk, controlling for potential con- founders affecting neighbourhood assignment

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VOL. 1 • No. 1 • 2016



Adrenal gland tumours linked to ADHD diagnosis BY JESSICA CRAIG Paediatric patients diagnosed with pheochromocytomas (PHEO) or paragangliomas (PGL) were nearly three times as likely to also carry a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), compared to paediatric patients without PHEO or PGL, investigators reported.

I n addition, in 33% of the patients with PHEO and PGL, ADHD symptoms were resolved following surgical removal of the tumour. PHEO and PGL are rare tumours of the adrenal gland. About 10% of PHEO and PGL cases occur in patients younger than 18 years. PHEOs form inside the adrenal gland in the adrenal medulla while PGLs form outside the adrenal gland. Both tumours cause excess secretion of epinephrine and noradrenaline resulting in high blood pressure, headaches, weight loss, excess sweating, anxiety, and depression. These tumours are most often surgically removed or treated with medication. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy have not been as effective in treating PHEO or PGL. ADHD is a neurodevelopment disorder characterised by a pattern of inattention and hyperactivity or impulsivity. ADHD is as- sociated with catecholamine dysregulation; the function of catecholamine receptors is impaired by either excess or deficient stimu- lation. ADHD has a prevalence of 7.2% in children aged 4–18. In addition to the overlap in symptoms, “the stimulants used to treat ADHD may exacerbate the symptoms of the PHEO/PGL

When you add on top of that a stimulant medi- cation [to treat ADHD] that may cause the nervous system to go into overdrive,” she said. Due to the rarity of PHEO and PGL, their association with ADHD has not been well characterised. The purpose of this study was to therefore better assess the relationship be- tween ADHD and PHEO/PGL development. Investigators recruited 43 paediatric pa- tients aged 6–17 who had been diagnosed with PHEO or PGL. Twenty-one percent (n = 9) of patients with PHEO/PGL carried a diagnosis of ADHD, compared to 7.2% in the general population (P = 0.0328). Prior to the surgical removal of the tumours, eight of the nine patients had elevated levels of noradrenaline (n = 7), dopamine (n = 3), epi- nephrine (n = 1), metanephrine (n = 5) and/ or normetanephrine (n = 7). In the remaining patient, levels were not measured. Following the surgical removal of the tu- mours, three of the nine patients experienced both a resolution of their ADHD-related symptoms and a drop or normalisation of their catecholamine and metanephrine levels. Two of those three patients showed no clinical signs of recurrent tumours while the third is under evaluation for a small pelvic lesion.

and potentially lead to a hypertensive crisis ... Amphetamines, the most widely used ADHD medication class, lead to release of stored catecholamines from vesicles, block reuptake of noradrenaline and dopamine, and block catecholamine degradation,” wrote Dr M. Batsis of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Devel- opment and her associates ( Horm Metab Res 2016 May 12. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-106725). “I noticed that a lot of patients with the same story as follows: [parents] went to their paediatrician when their child started having feelings of anxiety or their heart was racing. And these symptoms were attributed to ADHD, and the child was started on medi- cations. It wasn’t until later symptoms – an abdominal mass or a hypertensive crisis – that the patient was ultimately found out to have a pheochromocytoma,” Dr Maya Lodish, a paediatric endocrinologist and coauthor of the paper, said in an interview. “In hindsight, it just was not picked up. ADHD medications in no way affect tumour growth. The substances that these tumours release are stimulants. Endocrine tumours release catecholamine which are naturally occurring hormones we release under stress.

A retrospective series of 10 adrenal metas- tases showed that one recurred at 7 months after image-guided thermal ablation, with no recurrence of the rest at 26.6 months. There was no tumour recurrence for any of the cases of metastatic disease localised to the RF abla- tion site ( J Vasc Interv Radiol 2014;25:593–8). Results were somewhat less good in a retro- spective evaluation of 35 patients with unre- sectable adrenal masses over 9 years. Although 33 of 35 (94%) lost tumour enhancement after the initial adrenal RF ablation, there was local tumour progression in 8 of 35 (23%) patients at a mean follow-up of 30.1 months ( Radiology 2015;277:584–93). Finally, Dr Lawrence discussed a systematic literature review on adrenalectomy vs stereo- tactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) and percutaneous catheter ablation (PCA) in the treatment of adrenal metastases: 30 papers on adrenalectomy on 818 patients; 9 papers on SABR on 178 patients; and 6 papers on PCA, including RF ablation, on 51 patients. The authors concluded that there was “insufficient evidence to determine the best local treat- ment modality for isolated or limited adrenal metastases.” Adrenalectomy appeared to be a reasonable treatment for suitable patients. SABR was a valid alternative for nonsurgical candidates, but they did not recommend PCA until more long-term outcomes were available ( Cancer Treat Rev 2014;40:838–46). Dr Lawrence concurred, based on her case study and literature review. She said RF ablation “offers patients a minimally invasive option for treating focal adrenal tumours” and is a “safe and effective procedure … in patients who are poor surgical candidates or refuse adrenalectomy.” More long-term follow-up studies are needed before RF ablation could replace adrenalectomy, she noted. “These tumours are very rare and the vast majority of patients with ADHD are not af- fected by them, but they do occur. There are other organic conditions with the same symptoms – drug abuse, medications, Graves disease. If the child has symptoms attributed to ADHD and high blood pressure or family history of endocrine tumours then it is impor- tant to have a full organic workup to measure other causes of hypertension prior to starting stimulant medication,” Dr Lodish said. “My observation is that, and a lot of articles out there would agree, diagnoses of ADHD are on the rise and the prescribing of ADHD medication is also on the rise. I hope this is a bit of a wake-up call to practitioners that what’s common is common but there are some rare [conditions] to be aware of and so don’t have a knee jerk reaction to prescribing a medi- cation for symptoms believed to be attributed to ADHD,” she said. The Division of Intramural Research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of ChildHealth andHumanDevelopment supported the study. The investigators had no disclosures to report. Frontline Medical News

RF ablation successfully treats focal adrenal tumours BY DANIEL M. KELLER Radiofrequency ablation is a safe and effective procedure for treating focal adrenal tumours in patients who are poor surgical candidates or who refuse adrenalectomy. With a short treatment time and minimal hospital stay, RF ablation can provide rapid clinical and biochemical improvement. D r Lima Lawrence, an internal medicine resident at the University of Illinois at Chicago/Advocate Christ Medical Cen- ablation of the adrenal mass using a 14-gauge probe that heated a 3.5-cm ablation zone to 50–60°C for 8–10 minutes to achieve com- plete tumour necrosis.

carcinomas that were unresectable or were in patients who were not surgical candidates showed nonenhancement and no growth in 8 (53%) at a mean follow-up of 10.3 months. Eight of the 12 tumours of 5 cm or smaller had complete loss of radiographic enhancement and a decrease in size. From a retrospective series of 13 patients with functional adrenal neoplasms over 7 years, there was 100% resolution of biochemical ab- normalities and clinical symptoms at a mean follow-up of 21.2 months. One small pneumo- thorax and one limited haemothorax occurred, neither of which required hospital admission. There were two instances of transient, self- remitting hypertension associated with the procedures ( Radiology 2011;258:308–16). In 2015, one group of investigators followed 11 patients for 12 weeks postprocedure. Eight of nine patients with Conn’s syndrome at- tained normal serum aldosterone levels. One with a nodule close to the inferior vena cava had incomplete ablation. Two of two Cushing’s patients had normal cortisol levels after the pro- cedure ( J Vasc Interv Radiol 2015;26:1459–64). A retrospective analysis of 16 adrenal metas- tases showed that 13 (81%) had no local pro- gression over 14 months after ablation. In two of three functional adrenal neoplasms, clinical and biochemical abnormalities resolved ( Eur J Radiol 2012.81:1717–23).

tre in Oak Lawn, presented a case report and a review of the literature during an oral abstract session at the annual meeting of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. The patient was a 65-year-old woman who presented with weight gain, decreased energy, and muscle weakness. On physical exam, she was hyper- tensive, anxious, obese, and had prominent supraclavicular fat pads. Salivary cortisol and overnight dexamethasone suppression tests were both elevated, andACTH levels were depressed, confirming the diagnosis of a cortisol-secreting tumour causing adrenal Cushing’s syndrome. Computed tomography (CT) surveillance showed a progressively enlarging right-sided adrenal mass. A peritoneal biopsy revealed a low-grade serous neoplasm of peritoneal origin. Her medical history included type 2 diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, mixed connective tissue disease, depression, and total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy for ovarian cancer. Dr Lawrence said the patient had been scheduled for adrenalectomy, but it was not performed because of an intraoperative finding of peritoneal studding from what turned out to be metastatic ovarian cancer. Therefore, she underwent CT-guided radiofrequency (RF)

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The patient showed dramatic “clinical and biochemical improvement,” Dr Lawrence said. The patient had no procedural complications and no blood loss and was observed for 23 hours before being discharged home.ACT scan 8 weeks later showed a slightly decreased mass with marked decreased radiographic attenua- tion post-contrast from 30.2 Hounsfield Units (HU) preoperatively to 17 HU on follow-up. Potential adverse outcomes using RF abla- tion include a risk of pneumothorax, haemo- thorax, and tumour seeding along the catheter track, but this last possibility can be mitigated by continuing to heat the RF probe as it is withdrawn. Published evidence supports use of RF abla- tion. “To date there have been no randomised clinical trials comparing the safety, efficacy, and survival benefits of adrenalectomy vs radio frequency ablation,” she said. It may not be feasible to do a randomised trial. But a review of the literature generally supports the effi- cacy of the technique although the publica- tions each involved a small series of patients, Dr Lawrence said in an interview. A 2003 series ( Cancer 2003;97:554-60) of 15 primary or metastatic adrenal cell

Frontline Medical News




Accuracy of gene test for thyroid nodules questioned BY RICHARD MARK KIRKNER Biopsy results from a commercially available genetic test for ruling out malignancy of thyroid nodules may not provide reliable answers to clinicians and patients. W hen fine-needle aspiration biopsy of thyroid nodules comes back inconclusive, available genetic tests.” He added, “A larger, randomised trial of the Afirma GEC test should answer those questions.”

Med 2012;367:705–15). “The first thought was that they had different results because their population was different,” Dr Al- Qurayshi said. “The ATA statement noted that it is the clinician’s re- sponsibility to determine if this test is appropriate for their population or not, but the performance of the test doesn’t just depend on the popula- tion property, but it also depends on the intrinsic testing properties.” Dr Kandil disclosed that he has been a primary investigator in the ENHANCE mutlicentre study of the Afirma GEC. The other coauthors had no financial disclosures.

prevalence in one’s institution is af- fecting the performance of the test.” In an interview, Dr Emad Kandil, senior study coauthor, also of Tulane, said the 69% NPV of the Tulane cohort puts the diagnostic scenario “back to ground zero, which is similar to what we had prior to the use of the new commercially

studies took the sensitivity and specificity that were previously re- ported for granted, and now we are showing this sensitivity is all over the place,” Dr Al-Qurayshi said. “Now, we don’t know which is the true one, and we need a larger clini- cal trial first to determine the true properties. Then we can ask how the

clinicians have increasingly utilised the Afirma gene expression classifier (GEC) to rule out malignancy, but a retrospective analysis of almost 200 patients with indeterminate biopsy results along with a pooled analysis of 11 previous studies has raised questions about the negative predictive value of the test. “The Afirma GEC test has sub- stantial variability in performance,” said Dr Zaid Al-Qurayshi of Tulane University, New Orleans, who reported the results at the annual meeting of theAmericanAssociation of Endocrine Surgeons. “This vari- ability cannot be explained based on differences in prevalence alone, but may also be the result of intrinsic test properties.” The Afirma GEC measures the expression of 167 genes to more precisely determine the cancer risk of an indeterminate biopsied thyroid nodule and avoid unnecessary sur- gery. The test costs approximately US$4,800 per nodule. The researchers undertook the study in light of an American Thy- roid Association (ATA) statement last year that concluded that test results are predicated on the clini- cian knowing the prevalence of ma- lignancy within each indeterminate cytologic category at his/her own in- stitution. Without this information, the performance of the diagnostic tests may vary substantially ( Thyroid 2015;25:760–8). The single-centre, retrospective cohort analysis included 192 pa- tients with 210 indeterminate biopsy results, 145 of whom had surgery with 154 thyroid nodules. With a malignancy prevalence of 45%, the expected negative predictive value (NPV) of the test was estimated to be 85%, Dr Al-Qurayshi said. However, the actual observed NPV was 69%. “If the prevalence was assumed to be 25%, the expected NPV was estimated to be 94%, while the observed NPV would have been 85%,” Dr Al-Qurayshi said. The researchers calculated the expected NPV by adopting the sen- sitivity and specificity rates of the test as reported in previous studies, while they calculated the observed NPV based on the actual negative rate among the Tulane cohort, Dr Al-Qurayshi said. Dr Al-Qurayshi and colleagues then compared their results with pooled data from 11 other studies of the Afirma GEC. The pooled data analysis included 1,303 patients and yielded a malignancy prevalence of 31.1%, with a range of 29–35%, and a pooled NPV of 92%, with a range of 87–96%, Dr Al-Qurayshi said. “A lot of previously published

The seminal study for the Afirma GEC, authored by Dr Erik Alex- ander of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, in 2012, reported a 92% NPV with the test ( N Engl J

Frontline Medical News



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Minimum Product Information. NovoMix ® 30 (insulin aspart (rys)). Indication: Treatment of diabetes mellitus. Contraindications: Hypoglycaemia. Hypersensitivity to insulin aspart or excipients. Precautions: Inadequate dosing or discontinuation of treatment, especially in type 1 diabetes, may lead to hyperglycaemia and diabetic ketoacidosis. Where blood glucose is greatly improved, e.g. by intensified insulin therapy, patients may experience a change in usual warning symptoms of hypoglycaemia, and should be advised accordingly. The impact of the rapid onset of action should be considered in patients where a delayed absorption of food might be expected. Do not use in insulin infusion pumps. No studies in children and adolescents under the age of 18. No clinical experience in pregnancy. When thiazolidinediones (TZDs) are used in combination with insulin, patients should be observed for signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure, weight gain and oedema; discontinuation of TZDs may be required. Insulin administration may cause insulin antibodies to form and, in rare cases, may necessitate adjustment of the insulin dose. Interactions: Oral hypoglycaemic agents, octreotide, lanreotide, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, non-selective beta-adrenergic blocking agents, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, salicylates, alcohol, anabolic steroids, alpha-adrenergic blocking agents, quinine, quinidine, sulphonamides, oral contraceptives, thiazides, glucocorticoids, thyroid hormones, sympathomimetics, growth hormone,

diazoxide, asparaginase, nicotinic acid. Adverse Effects: Hypoglycaemia. Dosage and Administration: Dosage as determined by physician. NovoMix ® 30 should be administered immediately before a meal, or when necessary after the start of a meal. Resuspend immediately before use. Discard the needle after each injection. Subcutaneous injection only. NovoMix ® 30 must not be administered intravenously. (July 2014). References: 1. Liebl A et al. Drugs 2012; 72(11): 1495–520. 2. Wu T et al. Diabetes Ther 2015; 6(3): 273–87. 3. NovoMix ® 30 Approved Product Information (Jul 2014). Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd. ABN 40 002 879 996. Level 3, 21 Solent Circuit, Baulkham Hills, NSW 2153. NovoCare ® Customer Care Centre (Australia) 1800 668 626. ® Registered trademark of Novo Nordisk A/S. AU/NM/0116/0004. January 2016.

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16/03/2016 12:01 pm VOL. 1 • No. 1 • 2016

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(Video) Clinical Endocrinology Update & Endocrine Board Review 2016


Starting with combination diabetes therapy beats initial monotherapy BY DANIEL M. KELLER Whether to start a patient with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus on combination therapy or monotherapy should be based on experimentation and observation rather than expert opinion, according to Dr Alan Garber, president of the American College of Endocrinology and professor of medicine, biochemistry, and molecular and cellular biology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. M onotherapy for type 2 diabetes with stepwise ad- dition of other antihyperglycaemic agents has long been the accepted way to initiate therapy in this lower HbA 1c

US FDA panel recommends two new combo injectables for diabetes BY KARI OAKES I n back-to back advisory committee hearings, the US Food and Drug Administration received recommendations for approval of two new combination medications to treat type 2 diabetes. The two medications each combine long-lasting insulin with a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist in a once-daily injectable fixed-dose combination. On May 24, the FDA’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee (EMDAC) voted unanimously to approve the fixed-dose combination of liraglutide and insulin degludec (individually marketed as Victoza and Tresiba, respectively, by Novo Nordisk). The new com- bination was referred to as IDegLira in the sponsor’s clinical trials. The following day, the EMDAC recommended in a 12–2 vote to approve Sanofi-Aventis’ new fixed-dose combination of lixisenatide and insulin glargine, also indicated as an add-on to lifestyle management for type 2 diabetes. The sponsor’s proposed name for this combination is iGlarLixi. For both products, most committee members felt that the combo would most benefit patients who were already on either insulin or a GLP- 1 agonist (though the second day’s panel noted that data were lacking on patients transitioning from a GLP-1 agonist to Sanofi-Aventis’ lixisenatide/ glargine combo). “I tend to agree with many of the people who have gone before me that the population of patients this should be used in are those that are on one of these two injectable medications already and in particular I think the GLP-1 agonist,” said Dr Marie Gelato, professor of medicine at Stony Brook University, New York, who voted in favour of the liraglutide/degludec combination medication. A concern common to discussion on both days was that some patients with diabetes and a higher body mass might not be able to benefit from these medications, since each one caps insulin dosing. Other themes common to both days’ deliberations among the largely overlapping panels included the need for fine-tuning the dosing apparatus, labelling, patient interface, and nomenclature for these novel devices. For Dr Robert Smith, panel chair and professor of endocrinology at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, his vote on the second day should be “considered contingent on accomplishing those things adequately.” Most of the endocrinologists on the committees noted that they personally felt more comfortable beginning a single agent, and probably tended to tinker with patients’ regimens fairly frequently at least during the initial period of diabetes management. However, the committees on both days felt that having the fixed-dose combination agent available might be a particularly useful tool for family practice physicians and those practicing general internal medicine. Since the proposed lixisenatide/glargine combination would be dispensed as one of two pens, each with a different dose range of lixisenatide, the second day’s panel spent more time in discussion of the potential for confusion or misdosing with two choices. “It’s incumbent upon the sponsor to make it easier for the doctor. I have confidence that they will work out the delivery system,” said Dr Peter Wilson, explaining his rationale for voting for approval of the lixisenatide/ glargine combo despite some reservations about the device and delivery system, “I think this will be a boon for the patients,” added Dr Wilson, professor of medicine and public health at Emory University, Atlanta. Lixisenatide, marketed as Lyxumia in Australia and elsewhere by Sanofi-Aventis, is pending FDA approval, so it received some addi- tional attention during the committee hearing for lixisenatide/glargine. Though it would be the sixth GLP-1 agonist on the US market, com- mittee members did not voice concerns that it would be a “me too” drug; rather, said Dr Wilson, “It provides yet another choice. ... Choice is very important for physicians and for patients.” During Sanofi-Aventis’ and the FDA’s presentations, safety data, espe- cially as interpreted by the FDA, seemed to indicate a slightly elevated risk of significant allergic reactions with lixisenatide compared with placebo. However, conceded the FDA’s clinical reviewer DrSuchitra Balakrishnan, the postmarketing surveillance program for lixisenatide was “a larger program, which may have contributed to more events occurring.” Earlier concerns about lixisenatide’s cardiovascular safety have been largely assuaged after publication late last year of results from the ELIXA trial ( N Engl J Med 2015; 373:2247–57) that showed no increased risk – but no benefit – for those with type 2 diabetes taking lixisenatide.

, a mean weight loss, compared with weight gain, in the sequential therapy group, and a 7.5-fold lower rate of hypoglycaemia, compared with the sequential treat- ment group ( Diabetes Obes Metab 2015;17:268–75). Although the agents used in the two treatment strate- gies were not strictly equivalent, “it’s clear that testing multiple therapeutic mechanisms tends to produce better outcomes than fewer therapeutic mechanisms,” Dr Garber said. The conclusions are fairly straightforward. “Look for evidence to support what strategies you want to use for your patients’ care.” Using the Kaiser Permanente database, investigators found that the mean time of having anHbA 1c above 8%was 3 years before a second agent was added, and the mean HbA 1c was 9%. Many people have ascribed this sort of delay to a problem with the physician. But Dr Garber said it is more related to patients, who often resist prescriptions for more drugs. So starting with two drugs may produce better efficacy faster as well as overcome the psychological issues of trying to add another one later ( Am J Manag Care 2003;9:213–7). Sessionmoderator Dr Daniel Einhorn, medical director of the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute in La Jolla, Califor- nia, raised the possibility of “subtraction therapy, where you start with three agents no matter what, and then if things go well, you subtract. And so you reverse the situation thatAlan discussed.” In the patient’s view, “you have a celebration that night instead of a wake,” he said. Dr Garber has received honoraria or consulting fees as a member of the advisory boards of Novo Nordisk, Janssen, and Merck. Dr Einhorn is on the scientific advisory boards of Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, Janssen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi, and Adocia, is a consultant for Halozyme, Glysens, Freedom- Meditech, and Epitracker, and has research funding fromLilly, Novo, Janssen, AstraZeneca, Mannkind, Freedom-Meditech, Merck, Sanofi, and Boehringer Ingelheim.

population. Beginning in the 1990s, investigators began to compare the efficacy of monotherapy with combina- tion therapy, first with metformin and glyburide alone or together, and then testing metformin in combination with glipizide, rosiglitazone, and sitagliptin, he said. For metformin and glyburide, each agent alone lowered glycated haemoglobin (HbA 1c ), compared with placebo, but adding one to the other enhanced lowering. Combining the two drugs had the greatest benefit for higher HbA 1c entry levels (e.g., HbA 1c strata of 9–9.9% or 10% or greater vs less than 8%).At the highest-entryHbA 1c levels, half doses of each of metformin and glyburide (250 mg/1.25 mg, respectively) were more efficacious than full doses of each (500 mg/2.5 mg). “This is called drug sparing,” he said. In a trial of metformin and rosiglitazone, the combina- tion was superior to either alone, producing significantly greater mean reductions in HbA 1c and in fasting plasma glucose (FPG) at 32 weeks from their respective base- lines, again, with greater reductions for higher-entry HbA 1c levels. The combination was also better than either drug alone in the speed of reducing HbA 1c or FPG, and in the final attained levels. The combination of metformin and a sulfonylurea pre- sents a risk of hypoglycaemia, but Dr Garber said the results are “much cleaner” using combinations of metformin with agents such as a thiazolidinedione, a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor, or a sodium/glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitor. Also noteworthy are findings from the EDICT (Ef- ficacy and Durability of Initial Combination Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes) trial using insulin-sensitizing and insulin-secreting agents metformin/pioglitazone/exenatide in combination vs escalating doses of metformin with se- quential addition of a sulfonylurea and glargine insulin to treat patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Over 2 years, the subjects receiving combination therapy had

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JOURNAL SCAN Liraglutide reduces CV outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes The New England Journal of Medicine Take-home message

superiority). Fewer patients died from cardiovascular causes in the liraglutide group (219 patients [4.7%]) than in the placebo group (278 [6.0%]) (hazard ratio, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.66 to 0.93; P = 0.007). The rate of death from any cause was lower in the liraglutide group (381 patients [8.2%]) than in the placebo group (447 [9.6%]) (hazard ratio, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.74 to 0.97; P = 0.02). The rates of nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, and hospitalisation for heart failure were nonsignificantly lower in the liraglutide group than in the placebo group. The most common adverse events leading to the discontinuation of liraglutide were gastrointestinal events. The incidence of pancreatitis was nonsignificantly lower in the liraglutide group than in the placebo group. CONCLUSIONS In the time-to-event analy- sis, the rate of the first occurrence of death from cardiovascular causes, non- fatal myocardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke among patients with type 2 dia- betes mellitus was lower with liraglutide than with placebo. Liraglutide and cardiovascular out- comes in type 2 diabetes N Engl J Med 2016; [EPub ahead of print], SP Marso, GH Daniels, K Brown-Frandsen, et al.

• In a study of 9340 patients with type 2 diabetes followed for a median of 3.8 years, only 13% of patients treated with liraglutide experienced the primary outcome, the first occurrence of death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke, compared with 14.9% of those receiv- ing placebo (P < 0.001 for noninferiority; P = 0.01 for superiority). Deaths from cardiovascular causes were also reduced with liraglutide (4.7% vs 6.0%; P = 0.007), as was the rate of deaths due to any cause (P = 0.02). Gastrointestinal events were the most common adverse events leading to the discontinuation of liraglutide. • Liraglutide appears to be superior to placebo for reducing events and deaths from cardiovascular causes in patients with type 2 diabetes.

regard to the primary outcome, with a margin of 1.30 for the upper boundary of the 95% confidence interval of the hazard ratio. No adjustments for multiplicity were performed for the prespecified explora- tory outcomes. RESULTS A total of 9340 patients under- went randomisation. The median follow- up was 3.8 years. The primary outcome occurred in significantly fewer patients in the liraglutide group (608 of 4668 pa- tients [13.0%]) than in the placebo group (694 of 4672 [14.9%]) (hazard ratio, 0.87; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.78 to 0.97; P < 0.001 for noninferiority; P = 0.01 for

BACKGROUND The cardiovascular effect of liraglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 analogue, when added to standard care in patients with type 2 diabetes, remains unknown. METHODS In this double-blind trial, we randomly assigned patients with type 2 diabetes and high cardiovascular risk to receive liraglutide or placebo. The primary composite outcome in the time-to-event analysis was the first occurrence of death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal myo- cardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke. The primary hypothesis was that liraglutide would be noninferior to placebo with

IDegLira and iGlarLixi are not registered in Australia.

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Subclinical hypothyroidism: Treat or not?

BY ROXANNE NELSON T he benefits of treating subclinical hypothyroidism with low-dose levothyroxine may outweigh the harms of delay- ing treatment until the condition has become sympto- matic, requiring higher doses, according to one of the authors of a “Beyond the Guidelines” assessment of this controversy. Last year, the US Preventive Services Task Force issued guide- lines and updated its 2004 recommendations, which essentially stated that there is no evidence to support treating subclinical hy- pothyroidism. In their own guidelines, theAmericanAssociation of Clinical Endocrinologists and American Thyroid Association have instead advocated aggressive case-finding and recommend screening individuals who may be a high risk. These societies also argue that subclinical hypothyroidism can have an adverse effect on cardiovascular outcomes and therefore it merits case-findings. In the June 6, 2016 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine (doi: 10.7326/M16-0857), experts from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston offered differing perspectives on the issue, as to whether or not subclinical hypothyroidism should be treated. They gave their viewpoints in the context of a case study: Mrs C is a 60-year-old woman who has experienced mild symptoms such as fatigue and constipation for about 10 years, and has a family history of “thyroid problems.” In 2012, her TSH level was slightly elevated (5.8 uIU/L), and in 2013, she reported fatigue, although her TSH level was similar (5.9 uIU/L) to the year before. Her free thyroxine (T4) was normal (11.97 pmol/L), and given the stability of her TSH level, treatment was not initiated. Recently, she reported weight gain, intermittent constipation, and persistent fatigue. Currently she is being treated for hyperlipidaemia with atorvastatin 10 mg daily as well as for cervical radiculitis. Two of her three sisters receive thyroid medication, and recently, her blood pressure was 136/79 mmHg with a heart rate of 77 beats per minute. Her weight had increased by 9 pounds, to 156 pounds (body mass index, 29.6 kg/m 2 ). Her thyroid examination was normal, and her TSH measurement was 6.5 uIU/ML and free T4 was 12.87 pmol/L.

and if cholesterol is not improved, then levothyroxine could be stopped until her TSH rises further.” Dr Carol K. Bates of the division of general medicine and primary care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, Boston, leaned more toward holding back on treatment. For one thing, since there is a diurnal variation in TSH, the patient’s TSH values might have been normal if measured in the afternoon instead of the morning. As far as the risk of heart disease, where much of the treat- ment debate is focused, she pointed out that while there is an association between congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and subclinical hypothyroidism, Mrs C only has a mildly increased TSH. There have also been arguments that treating subclinical hypothyroidism could lower cholesterol levels. Mrs C started on a statin in 2003 when her TSH was 3.5 and thus euthyroid. Any efforts to lower cholesterol might be done by adjusting her statin dose rather than adding levothyroxine. Both over- and undertreatment with thyroid hormone re- placement are common, she pointed out, and overtreatment has been associated with an increased risk for hip and major osteoporotic fracture, as well as increasing the risk for atrial fibrillation. She also noted that there is harm in medicalising a normal condition, as the upper range of TSH is arbitrarily set based upon population data. In the case of Mrs C, Dr Bates would explain that there is no risk for heart disease given the degree of thyroid dysfunction and, especially, that her goal of weight loss and symptom relief likely won’t happen. If she did wish to be treated, Dr Bates would also start her on a low dose. “If she were to embark on treatment, I would sug- gest monitoring her weight and symptoms,” she wrote. “While many authorities would recommend treatment at a calculated full replacement dose, my experience suggests that this risks overtreat- ment, and I would recommend starting at 25 to 50 mcg.”

Dr Pamela Hartzband noted that there is an “evidence base suggesting that patients like Mrs C may benefit with respect to both morbidity and mortality,” given her family history and elevated cholesterol levels. TSH is a sensitive indicator of pri- mary hypothyroidism, and given that the patient’s levels have gradually increased, this is significant and suggests early thyroid failure. That said, in “reviewing the evidence for benefit of treatment, there are not only conflicting data but also conflict- ing interpretation[s] of the same data by different experts,” according to Dr Hartzband. However, subclinical hypothyroidism has been associated with a greater risk for both cardiovascular morbidity and mortal- ity in some but not all prospective population-based studies. Symptom relief is the primary goal for patients, and Mrs C has described symptoms that are suggestive of hypothyroidism including fatigue, constipation, scalp hair loss, and weight gain and elevated TSH. There is a “paucity of evidence” demon- strating improvement with treatment of subclinical hypothy- roidism. And while harms associated with treatment can also be a concern, there is remarkably limited evidence for harms related to the treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism, noted Dr Hartzband of the division of endocrinology and metabolism and medical director of the Thyroid Biopsy Clinic at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, Boston. There is, however, speculation that patients might develop hyperthyroidism from being given excessive doses of levothyrox- ine, but this can be avoided by initiating treatment of subclini- cal hypothyroidism with low-dose levothyroxine (25–50 mcg). Overall, when weighing the benefits and harms of treatment in this case, Dr Hartzband would consider offering Mrs C a trial of levothyroxine. The reasoning is that based on family history, she is at increased risk for thyroid disease and was appropriately tested by measuring TSH. In addition, levothyroxine could lower her cholesterol levels and risk for heart disease, and she might be able to reduce or even discontinue her statin therapy. “I believe that for Mrs C the potential for benefit outweighs potential risk,” wrote Dr Hartzband. “If she does not feel better

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(Video) Endocrine Society’s Clinical Practice Guideline App

VOL. 1 • No. 1 • 2016


1. Clinical Endocrinology Update, September 8-10, 2016
(The Endocrine Society)
2. Three compelling updates in endocrinology
3. Endocrine Self-Assessment Programs (ESAP) Update - ENDO 2017
4. Starting Your Clinical Endocrinology Practice
(Endocrinology Advisor)
5. Endocrine DM-Nurse Practitioner Review
(APRN Central Nurse Practitioner Review)
6. Update on the Management of Hypercholesterolemia
(Cleveland Clinic)
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