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INTRODUCTION: Pharmaceutical treatment options for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have increased to include multiple classes of oral glucose-lowering agents but without accompanying guidance on which of these may most benefit individual patients. Clinicians lack information for treatment intensification after first-line metformin therapy. Stratifying patients by simple clinical characteristics may improve care by targeting treatment options to those in whom they are most effective. This academically designed and run three-way crossover trial aims to test a stratification approach using three standard oral glucose-lowering agents. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: TriMaster is a randomised, double-blind, crossover trial taking place at up to 25 clinical sites across England, Scotland and Wales. 520 patients with T2DM treated with either metformin alone, or metformin and a sulfonylurea who have glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) >58 mmol/mol will be randomised to receive 16 weeks each of a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor, sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitor and thiazolidinedione in random order. Participants will be assessed at the end of each treatment period, providing clinical and biochemical data, and their experience of side effects. Participant preference will be assessed on completion of all three treatments. The primary endpoint is HbA1c after 4 months of therapy (allowing a range of 12-18 weeks for analysis). Secondary endpoints include participant-reported preference between the three treatments, tolerability and prevalence of side effects. ETHICAL APPROVAL: This study was approved by National Health Service Health Research Authority Research Ethics Committee South Central-Oxford A, study 16/SC/0147. Written informed consent will be obtained from all participants. Results will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal and presented at relevant scientific meetings. A lay summary of results will be made available to all participants. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBERS: 12039221; 2015-002790-38 and NCT02653209.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





clinical trials, diabetes & endocrinology, therapeutics, Cross-Over Studies, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4, Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors, Double-Blind Method, Drug Therapy, Combination, England, Glycated Hemoglobin A, Glycemic Control, Humans, Hypoglycemic Agents, Metformin, Pharmaceutical Preparations, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Scotland, Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors, State Medicine, Thiazolidinediones, Treatment Outcome, Wales