Indexed on: 26 Oct '13Published on: 26 Oct '13Published in: Diabetes & Metabolism
Metabolic consequences of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) are the result of enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, inhibition of glucagon release, delayed gastric emptying and increased satiety. These attributes make GLP-1 agonists a treatment option in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). To optimise treatment choice, a detailed understanding of the effects of GLP-1 RAs on glucose homeostasis in individuals with T2DM is necessary. Although the various GLP-1 RAs share the same basic mechanisms of action, differences in pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic characteristics translate into differential effects on parameters of glycaemia. Head-to-head comparisons between long-acting non-prandial (liraglutide once daily and exenatide once weekly) and shorter-acting prandial (exenatide twice daily and lixisenatide once daily prandial) GLP-1 RAs confirm their differential effects on fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and post-prandial glucose (PPG). Liraglutide once daily and exenatide once weekly demonstrate greater reductions in FPG but lesser impacts on PPG excursions plasma than exenatide twice daily. Prandial GLP-1 RAs have a profound effect on post-prandial glycaemia, mediated by delaying gastric emptying, which is not subject to the tachyphylaxis occurring due to the sustained elevated plasma GLP-1 concentrations after treatment with long-acting GLP-1 RAs. Lixisenatide once-daily prandial, in contrast to liraglutide, strongly suppresses post-prandial glucagon secretion, further contributing to the more pronounced PPG-lowering effect found with lixisenatide. Evidence suggests that the GLP-1 RAs that predominantly target the prandial glucose excursions, such as exenatide twice daily and lixisenatide once-daily prandial, are therefore best used as combination therapy with basal insulin and will form an important new treatment option for individuals with T2DM.