Incretin mimetics and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors: innovative treatment therapies for type 2 diabetes

Jaime A Davidson, Erika B Parente, Jorge L Gross
Arquivos Brasileiros de Endocrinologia e Metabologia 2008, 52 (6): 1039-49
The prevalence of diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance is predicted to dramatically increase over the next two decades. Clinical therapies for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have traditionally included lifestyle modification, oral anti-diabetic agents, and ultimately insulin initiation. In this report, we review the clinical trial results of two innovative T2DM treatment therapies that are based on the glucoregulatory effects of incretin hormones. Incretin mimetics are peptide drugs that mimic several of the actions of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and have been shown to lower glycated hemoglobin (A1C) levels in patients with T2DM. Additionally, incretin mimetics lower postprandial and fasting glucose, suppress elevated glucagon release, and are associated with progressive weight reduction. Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors increase endogenous GLP-1 levels by inhibiting the enzymatic degradation of GLP-1. Clinical studies in patients with T2DM have shown that DPP-4 inhibitors reduce elevated A1C, lower postprandial and fasting glucose, suppress glucagon release, and are weight neutral. Collectively, these new drugs, given in combination with other antidiabetic agents, such as metformin, sulfonylureas, and/or thiazolidinediones, can help restore glucose homeostasis in poorly controlled patients with T2DM.

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