Introduction: Diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) are one of the leading long-term complications experienced by patients with diabetes. Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4 inhibitors (DPP4is) are a class of antihyperglycemic medications prescribed to patients with diabetes to manage glycaemic control. DPP4is may also have a beneficial effect on DFU healing. This study aimed to determine vildagliptin’s effect on inflammatory markers and wound healing.
Trial design: Prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single-center study.
Methods: Equal number of participants were randomized into the treatment and placebo groups. The treatment was for 12 weeks, during which the participants had regular visits to the podiatrist, who monitored their DFU sizes using 3D camera, and blood samples were taken at baseline, six weeks, and 12 weeks during the study for measurement of inflammatory markers. In addition, demographic characteristics, co-morbidities, DFU risk factors, and DFU wound parameters were recorded.
Results: 50 participants were recruited for the study, with 25 assigned to placebo and 25 to treatment group. Vildagliptin treatment resulted in a statistically significant reduction of HBA1c (p < 0.02) and hematocrit (p < 0.04), total cholesterol (p < 0.02), LDL cholesterol (p < 0.04), and total/HDL cholesterol ratio (P < 0.03) compared to the placebo group. Also, vildagliptin had a protective effect on DFU wound healing, evidenced by the odds ratio (OR) favoring the intervention of 11.2 (95% CI 1.1-113.5; p < 0.04) and the average treatment effect on the treated (ATET) for vildagliptin treatment group showed increased healing by 35% (95%CI; 10-60, p = 0.01) compared to placebo with the model adjusted for microvascular complications, smoking, amputation, dyslipidemia, peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and duration of diabetes.
Conclusions: Vildagliptin treatment was effective in healing DFU in addition to controlling the diabetes. Our findings support the use of DPP4is as a preferred option for treating ulcers in patients with diabetes. Further studies on a larger population are warranted to confirm our findings and understand how DPP4is could affect inflammation and DFU healing.