Study reviews new once-weekly Type 2 diabetes drugs

Once-weekly glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) differ in their efficacy and safety profiles, according to new research by researchers from the Leicester Diabetes Centre.

Compared to other once-weekly GLP-1RAs which are licensed and available, dulaglutide 1.5mg and once weekly exenatide showed the greatest reduction of HbA1c and fasting plasma glucose.

GLP-1RAs are a relatively new class of drugs that stimulate insulin and inhibit glucagon secretion, slow gastric emptying, and reduce food intake. While the first approved GLP-1RAs are administered as subcutaneous daily injections, more recently GLP-1RAs available via once-weekly administration have emerged, reducing the number of injections and side effects and potentially improving patient compliance. 

In clinical studies, these drugs improve glucose control and reduce body weight, without an increased risk for hypoglycaemia. To date, however, no direct comparisons between once-weekly GLP-1RAs are available.

The research – carried out by the university’s Diabetes Research Centre, which is based at the Leicester Diabetes Centre – used an innovative method to evaluate the efficacy and adverse effects of once-weekly GLP-1RAs in adults with Type 2 diabetes.

The study ‘Benefits and Harms of Once-Weekly Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonist Treatments’ has been published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine which is a very prestigious global journal.

The Leicester Diabetes Centre is an international centre of excellence in diabetes research, education and innovation led by Professor Melanie Davies and Professor Kamlesh Khunti, who both took part in the study.

Hosted at Leicester General Hospital, the centre is a partnership between the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the University of Leicester.