GLP-1 agonists are a class of drugs for type 2 diabetes treatment. The major advantage of this drug over older insulin secretagogues (such as sulfonylureas or meglitinides), is it has reduced risk of causing hypoglycemia.
GLP-1 agonists’ mechanism of action
The GLP-1 agonist is believed to improve glucose control by;
- It increases insulin secretion by the pancreas in response to eating meals; once blood glucose decreases proportionally insulin production decreases.
- It suppresses the pancreatic glucagon release in response to eat, so stops unneeded glucose dumping in the blood stream.
- It slows down gastric emptying, thus minimizes glucose spikes in the bloodstream.
GLP-1 agonists available on the market:
- Generic name: exenatide (Brand name: Byetta),
- Generic name: liraglutide (Brand name: Victoza).
GLP-1 agonists’ dosage
GLP-1 agonists should start with 5 mcg administered twice daily within the 60-minute before the two major meals with a minimum 6 hours apart. It should not administer after a meal. If necessary you can increase the dose to 10 mcg twice daily after 1 month of therapy, this is to reduce to gastrointestinal side effects.
Side effects of GLP-1 agonists
The major side effects of GLP-1 agonists are gastrointestinal in nature; acid or sour stomach, belching, diarrhea, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, and vomiting.
What you can expect for GLP-1 agonists?
In patients with type 2 diabetes, it can lower A1C of up to 1.1% sustained the HbA1c reduction with a continued use of the medicine over a year. It also reduces fasting blood-glucose level and body weight (up to 5 pounds). A study shown GLP-1 agonists can help achieve an A1C of less than 7%.
Who can benefit from GLP-1 agonists?
Who should avoid using GLP-1 agonists?
Patients with a history of pancreatitis, consider using other anti-diabetic therapies. If used along with sulfonylurea may increase your risk of hypoglycemia, try to reduce your dose of sulfonylurea. GLP-1 agonists are unsuitable for patients with severe gastrointestinal disease such as gastroparesis. GLP-1 agonists should not use in patients without renal impairment.