Management of unmet needs in type 2 diabetes mellitus: the role of incretin agents

Ronald M Goldenberg
Canadian Journal of Diabetes 2011, 35 (5): 518-27
The leading cause of morbidity and mortality in type 2 diabetes mellitus is cardiovascular disease. There is a need for type 2 diabetes therapies that act in concert with available agents to provide adequate glycemic control without causing hypoglycemia and weight gain, which are associated with increases in cardiovascular risk. Incretin-based agents-dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists-are the newest class of antihyperglycemic therapies. Liraglutide and exenatide, glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists recently approved in Canada, have been shown to effectively lower blood glucose levels while also having beneficial effects on body weight and systolic blood pressure. The objective of this article is to review and discuss incretin-based agents, with a focus on their effects on blood glucose control, body weight and cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes. Relevant data were obtained by literature search using the EMBASE, MEDLINE and PubMed databases.

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