Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist

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Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, also known as GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1-RA), incretin mimetics, or GLP-1 analogs, are agonists of the GLP-1 receptor. This class of medications is used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.[1][2] One of their advantages over older insulin secretagogues, such as sulfonylureas or meglitinides, is that they have a lower risk of causing hypoglycemia.[3] GLP-1 has a short duration of action, so to overcome this limitation several modifications in either the drugs or the formulations are being developed.[4] The 2022 ADA standards of medical care in diabetes include GLP-1-RA as a first line pharmacological therapy for type 2 diabetes, specifically in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or obesity.[5]

Some GLP-1 receptor agonists have been used off-label for obesity[6] and impulse control.[7]

Health effects[edit]

A 2021 meta-analysis found a 12% reduction in all-cause mortality when GLP-1 analogs are used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, as well as significant improvements in cardiovascular and renal outcomes.[8] A JAMA article meta-analysis in 2018 (covering studies concerning GLP-1 agonists, DPP-4 inhibitors, and SGLT2 inhibitors) showed GLP-1 agonists were associated with lower stroke risk than controls.[9]

Preclinical research has suggested the possibility that the drugs may increase the risk of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer.[10] However, several analyses of human trials have not found an increased risk of pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer but researchers note the follow up duration of the included trials may not be sufficient for the occurrence of carcinogenesis as the mean follow-up was only 1.74 years.[10][11][12][13] Although some authors caveat this by claiming the patient pools aren't large enough to fully disprove an association,[11][12][13] other authors claim there is a statistically significant lack of correlation between these drugs and pancreatic cancer.[10]

Studies in rodents have shown GLP1 mediated thyroid c-cell hyperplasia.[14]


Under investigation[edit]


These agents work by activating the GLP-1R, rather than inhibiting the breakdown of GLP-1 as do DPP-4 inhibitors, and are generally considered more potent.[23]


  1. ^ a b Baggio LL, Drucker DJ (2008). "Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Analogs Other Than Exenatide". Medscape Diabetes & Endocrinology. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  2. ^ Ali ES, Hua J, Wilson CH, Tallis GA, Zhou FH, Rychkov GY, Barritt GJ (September 2016). "The glucagon-like peptide-1 analogue exendin-4 reverses impaired intracellular Ca(2+) signalling in steatotic hepatocytes". Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Cell Research. 1863 (9): 2135–2146. doi:10.1016/j.bbamcr.2016.05.006. PMID 27178543 – via ScienceDirect.
  3. ^ American Diabetes Association (January 2012). "Standards of medical care in diabetes--2012". Diabetes Care. 35 Suppl 1 (Suppl 1): S11–S63. doi:10.2337/dc12-s011. PMC 3632172. PMID 22187469.
  4. ^ Das A, Geetha KM, Hazarika I (29 August 2019). "Contemporary Updates on the Physiology of Glucagon like Peptide-1 and Its Agonist to Treat Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus". International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics. 26 (3): 1211–1221. doi:10.1007/s10989-019-09927-y. eISSN 1573-3904. S2CID 202854512 – via SpringerLink.
  5. ^ American Diabetes Association Professional Practice Committee (January 2022). "9. Pharmacologic Approaches to Glycemic Treatment: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes-2022". Diabetes Care. 45 (Suppl 1): S125–S143. doi:10.2337/dc22-S009. PMID 34964831. S2CID 245538347.
  6. ^ "New drugs could spell an end to the world's obesity epidemic". The Economist. 2 March 2023. Archived from the original on 2 March 2023. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
    Full text available via Archive link.
  7. ^ Erin-Yazicioglu CY, Yigit A, Dogruoz RE, Yapici-Eser H (2021-01-18). "Can GLP-1 Be a Target for Reward System Related Disorders? A Qualitative Synthesis and Systematic Review Analysis of Studies on Palatable Food, Drugs of Abuse, and Alcohol". Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 14: 614884. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2020.614884. ISSN 1662-5153. PMC 7848227. PMID 33536884.
  8. ^ Sattar N, Lee MM, Kristensen SL, Branch KR, Del Prato S, Khurmi NS, et al. (October 2021). "Cardiovascular, mortality, and kidney outcomes with GLP-1 receptor agonists in patients with type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials" (PDF). The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology (Article). 9 (10): 653–662. doi:10.1016/s2213-8587(21)00203-5. PMID 34425083. S2CID 237281403.
  9. ^ Zheng SL, Roddick AJ, Aghar-Jaffar R, Shun-Shin MJ, Francis D, Oliver N, Meeran K (April 2018). "Association Between Use of Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter 2 Inhibitors, Glucagon-like Peptide 1 Agonists, and Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4 Inhibitors With All-Cause Mortality in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis". JAMA (Original investigation). 319 (15): 1580–1591. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.3024. hdl:10044/1/60316. PMC 5933330. PMID 29677303 – via JAMA Network.
  10. ^ a b c Pinto LC, Falcetta MR, Rados DV, Leitão CB, Gross JL (20 February 2019). "Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists and pancreatic cancer: a meta-analysis with trial sequential analysis". Scientific Reports (Article). 9 (1): 2375. Bibcode:2019NatSR...9.2375P. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-38956-2. PMC 6382780. PMID 30787365.
  11. ^ a b Forsmark CE (2016). "Incretins, Diabetes, Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Cancer: What the GI specialist needs to know". Pancreatology (Review article). 16 (1): 10–13. doi:10.1016/j.pan.2015.11.009. eISSN 1424-3911. PMID 26795258 – via ScienceDirect.
  12. ^ a b Nreu B, Dicembrini I, Tinti F, Mannucci E, Monami M (June 2023). "Pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer in patients with type 2 diabetes treated with glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists: an updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials". Minerva Endocrinologica. doi:10.23736/S0391-1977.20.03219-8. eISSN 2724-6116. PMID 32720500. S2CID 220839863.
  13. ^ a b Boniol M, Franchi M, Bota M, Leclercq A, Guillaume J, van Damme N, Corrao G, Autier P, Boyle P (February 2018). "Incretin-Based Therapies and the Short-term Risk of Pancreatic Cancer: Results From Two Retrospective Cohort Studies". Diabetes Care. 41 (2): 286–292. doi:10.2337/dc17-0280. hdl:10281/184291. PMID 29146599. S2CID 207368560.
  14. ^ Bjerre Knudsen L, Madsen LW, Andersen S, Almholt K, de Boer AS, Drucker DJ, et al. (1 April 2010). "Glucagon-like Peptide-1 receptor agonists activate rodent thyroid C-cells causing calcitonin release and C-cell proliferation". Endocrinology. 151 (4): 1473–1486. doi:10.1210/en.2009-1272. PMID 20203154. S2CID 20934882.
  15. ^ "FDA Approves New Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes" (Press release). Food and Drug Administration. 25 January 2010. Archived from the original on 28 January 2010.
  16. ^ Busko, Marlene (15 April 2014). "FDA Approves Weekly Injectable Diabetes Drug: Albiglutide". Medscape (News, FDA Approvals).
  17. ^ "FDA approves Trulicity to treat type 2 diabetes" (Press release). Food and Drug Administration. 18 September 2014. Archived from the original on 18 September 2014.
  18. ^ "FDA approves Adlyxin to treat type 2 diabetes" (Press release). Food and Drug Administration. 28 July 2016.
  19. ^ Tibble CA, Cavaiola TS, Henry RR (10 January 2014). "Longer acting GLP-1 receptor agonists and the potential for improved cardiovascular outcomes: a review of current literature". Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism. Taylor & Francis. 8 (3): 247–259. doi:10.1586/eem.13.20. eISSN 1744-8417. ISSN 1744-6651.
  20. ^ Frías JP, Davies MJ, Rosenstock J, Pérez Manghi FC, Fernández Landó L, Bergman BK, et al. (August 2021). "Tirzepatide versus Semaglutide Once Weekly in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes". The New England Journal of Medicine. 385 (6): 503–515. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2107519. PMID 34170647. S2CID 235635529.
  21. ^ Gerstein HC, Sattar N, Rosenstock J, Ramasundarahettige C, Pratley R, Lopes RD, et al. (September 2021). "Cardiovascular and Renal Outcomes with Efpeglenatide in Type 2 Diabetes" (PDF). The New England Journal of Medicine. 385 (10): 896–907. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2108269. PMID 34215025. S2CID 235723092.
  22. ^ "Pfizer's diabetes drug results in similar weight loss levels as Novo's Ozempic". Reuters. 2023-05-22. Retrieved 2023-05-29.
  23. ^ "GLP-1 Receptor Agonists vs. DPP-4 Inhibitors for Type 2 Diabetes".